December 21, 2016

St. Peter Canisius on Living in Imitation of Christ and Dealing with Protestant Objections

Saint Peter Canisius

Saint Peter Canisius entered the Jesuits in the year 1543, at age 22. He worked tirelessly for the renewal of the Church of his time. Part of that was to make sure that there were good Catechisms available to pass on and explain the Faith. The three Catechisms he wrote went through over 200 printings in his lifetime and were translated into 15 languages. Known as "the second Apostle of Germany", he did much to counter the religious errors of the Protestant Reformation. Here are ten quotations from this remarkable saint and Doctor of the Church:
If you have too much to do, with God’s help you will find time to do it all.
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Let my eyes take their sleep, but may my heart always keep watch for you. May your right hand bless your servants who love you.
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Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.
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It behooves us unanimously and inviolably to observe the ecclesiastical traditions, whether codified or simply retained by the customary practice of the Church.
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May I be united with the praise that flows from you, Lord Jesus, to all your saints; united with the gratitude drawn from your heart, good Jesus, that causes your saints to thank you; united with your passion, good Jesus, by which you took away our guilt; united with the divine longing that you had on earth for our salvation; united with every prayer that welled from your divine heart, good Jesus, and flowed into the hearts of your saints.
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These ceremonies which are used in the administration of the Sacraments, each of which we receive as delivered and entrusted to us through the hands of the fathers, must especially be retained and observed with great devotion.
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To bring up in conversation subjects to which the Protestants have an antipathy…such as confession, satisfaction, purgatory, indulgences, monastic vows and pilgrimages; the reason being that, like fever patients, they have infected palates and so are incapable of judging aright about such foods. Their need, as that of children, is for milk, and they should be led gently and gradually to those dogmas about which there is dispute.
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Certainly, an infinite number of them [Protestants] adhere to the new sectaries and err in religious belief, but they do so in such a way as proves that their errors proceed from ignorance rather than malice. They err, I repeat, but without contention, without willfulness, without obstinacy.
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St. Peter Canisius advised that we should not approach adversarial Protestants:
in a temper of asperity or... with discourtesy, for this is nothing else than the reverse of Christ’s example inasmuch as it is to break the bruised reed and quench the smoking flax.
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St. Peter Canisius recorded in his journal, speaking with the Lord:
In the end, as if you were opening to me the heart of the Most Sacred Body, which it seemed to me I saw before me, you commanded me to drink from that source, inviting me, as it were, to draw the waters of my salvation from your founts, O my Savior.
St. Peter Canisius, defender and teacher of the Faith, pray for us!

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