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The Indignation of Saints Comes from God

Hugh O’Reilly
St. Ignatius, as Superior, used to give his priests and brothers extremely long penances for very trivial faults. This was determined in his process of canonization to be the result of his zeal for the spirit of observance, and not imprudence.

Thus St. Francis Xavier, following the example of his master, in a transport of zeal, caused the house of one of his Eastern neophytes to be burned down because sacrifice had been offered to an idol in it.

st francis xavier

St. Francis Xavier placed a city under interdict & cursed those who opposed him

The same Saint conceived the design of going to China in order to train that Empire to Our Lord Jesus Christ, but his voyage was hindered by the government of Malacca. St. Francis did all he could to gain the governor, but his gentleness failed.

Then he did not hesitate to assume his character as apostolic legate and laid the city under an interdict, ordered all the Jesuit priests to leave the place, cursed those who had caused his journey to be stopped, and then shook the dust off his feet at the gate of the city and left it.

No sooner was he gone that a plague broke out. The governor, accused of sundry crimes at court, was arrested, sent to Portugal and died there in a prison.

Thus do his devotees pray for that same burning zeal for the Faith: "O God, who through the ardor and preaching of St. Francis Xavier won many peoples to Yourself, grant that the hearts of the faithful may burn with the same holy zeal for the Faith that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of offspring. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen."

The Patriarch St. Francis of Assisi, visiting the houses of his Order in Tuscany, found that in one monastery the young friars spent too much time in philosophical disputes, which he judged contrary to the spirit of prayer and the religious life of his Order.

st francis assisi

St. Francis of Assissi:
‘I have cursed him & he will be cursed’

He ordered the provincial to correct that. The superior promised to do so, but St. Francis, discovering afterwards that he had not fulfilled his promise, cursed him. The provincial fell ill and sent to beg his Superior's pardon.

The Saint's answer was "I have cursed him and he shall be cursed," at which words a bolt fell from Heaven and killed the provincial on his bed.

It may be well to quote here the words of Fr. Suin about the anger of the Saints (Cat. Spir.ii.249):

"We ought to remark that these movements of indignation which come from God and have God for their object cause no trouble in the soul, but leave it as free and as tranquil as though it were in a movement of joy.

"We may say of anger in general what we have already said of sadness and hatred, that when it is grace that forms them in the heart, they not only do not remove God from us, but unite us to Him and dispose us to prayer, just as much as a heavenly consolation could do.

"The reason is, that it is not self interest that touches us, nor any satisfaction of our own that affects the soul in these conjunctures, but the sole interest of God, whom alone we desire to please."


Excerpt from A. M. Tannoja, The Life of S Alphonso Maria de Liguori,
London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 1847, Vol. 1, pp. 92-93
Posted November 27, 2021

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