What the Devil fears

Over at Vultus Christi there is a great post about Bl. Ildephonso Schuster, OSB, the Archbishop of Milan who died in 1954.  John Paul II declared him Blessed in 1996.

Bl. Ildephonso was one of the great liturgists of his day and was renowned as a holy man.

Vultus has a great quote:

As Cardinal-Archbishop, Blessed Schuster never failed to direct the energies of his priests toward the One Thing Necessary. A few days before his death he withdrew to the seminary he had built and there he delivered a final message to his seminarians, warning them of the futility of an apostolate without personal holiness:

I have no memento to give you apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching; but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray. People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there. . Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls: he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.

Go over to Vultus Christi for more.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Chatto says:

    This reminds me of a snippet from our own blessed Cardinal, John Henry Newman, in one of his Oxford University Sermons: “Men persuade themselves, with little difficulty, to scoff at principles, to ridicule books, to make sport of the names of good men; but they cannot bear their presence: it is holiness embodied in personal form, which they cannot steadily confront and bear down.” May God send us more like Bl. John Henry and Bl. Ildephonso!

  2. digdigby says:

    That last line is a ‘keeper’ for my commonplace book. You don’t HAVE a commonplace book? Oh, but you should!

  3. Andy Milam says:

    That. is. EPIC.

    If only the Church would have heeded that sage advice, we wouldn’t have churches which resemble meeting halls and we wouldn’t have Masses on sports fields (ahem, Yankee Stadium).

    There is something very moving about what His Grace had to say. And I think that a good many Catholics would be remiss if this wasn’t plastered all over every bulletin board in the back of every church in Christendom.

    Thanks Fr. Z for sharing this link and putting forth that snippet.

  4. irishgirl says:

    Amen to what Blessed Schuster said! Very wise words indeed!
    A couple of days ago I was listening to a program from the BBC World News Service (it comes on overnight via a local NPR station). I only heard part of it, because I was still asleep, but coming into consciousness before fully waking.
    It mentioned a priest in Africa-South Africa, I think-and it seemed that he was focussing a lot of his time on political and social justice things. Before I turned my radio off, I heard something about him changing from his ‘trainers’ [Brit-speak for ‘sneakers’] into vestments for a ‘service’ (I presume a ‘Mass’) which he was going to say. I think the ‘intention’ was going to about some politician he was protesting against.
    My immediate thought was, ‘Padre, you got it all wrong-your business is to save souls, not getting involved in temporal things like politics. Politics is TEMPORAL-meaning it will be pass away as all things will on this earth.’

  5. jesusthroughmary says:

    Last names come off as just so darn tacky when applied to the saints.

  6. Laura R. says:

    What a wonderful quotation! Another one of those which seem to arrive exactly when needed —

  7. Lucia Maria says:

    I’m just reading Those Mysterious Priests by the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and I have to share this excerpt where he talks about the problems in the priesthood in his day, one of which is a lack of holiness and where that identification went:

    The basic reason for the confusion in the ministry of Christ in the last few decades has been: the identification of the priesthood with liturgy and ceremony instead of with holiness; and the identification of victimhood with social action with rather than with human guilt. The priest was linked with the altar; the victim with poverty exclusively, rather than with human frailty and ignorance and suffering. Once the priesthood no longer meant a vertical relation to the Holiness of God, and victimhood no longer a horizontal relation to all men who have come short of the glory of God, then the priest was chained to the sanctuary and the victim to the inner city. Not only were they divorced from their original intent of sanctity and oneness with aggrieved humanity, but they began to quarrel with one another, each blaming the other for failing his vocation …

  8. benedetta says:

    My sense is that Bl. JPII, having seen first hand and fought through organized hatred, knew that it is a different sort of spiritual challenge, to remain obedient to God’s will while being targeted for special attack, and the predictable anger that it generates can try to redirect and reorganize things contrary to the will of God. To me it explains why he would seek out frequent confession.

    I also think that, dissidents being one thing, and then sort of weak or indifferent Catholics being another which without really making a decision of will often gives cover to that, after some time to look at it, possibly the things that we most regard as folly and even lay at Second Vatican or Bl JPII’s feet for blame, while not sort of ideal situations from the looks of it still might not be entirely devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and this is not in reference to “one side” or the “other side” but really in terms of the Church, one, holy, apostolic. While it is clear that many have lacked the courage of a Bl JPII to confront the worst sort of attacks and even forgive them who bring them on, they themselves have not the witness and experiences that he had and which in an entirety of his being called him to serve the Church as our head in the exact time needed. I wonder if among our leaders who lacked courage, experience and wisdom, the faithful under their care, though to certain appearances seem to have fallen away or sleeping, unaware, in some mystery possibly they are protected from some of the onslaught, and the seed of the kingdom thus protected to grow and flourish another day and in His time. It doesn’t justify everything or explain everything by any means but being targeted and singled out for special attack really tends to generate divisions that a great many are just not equipped in terms of fortitude and wisdom to be able to sort out, to guide others through. It is also a facet of wisdom to know what one can and cannot endure and one’s limitations. Would it be better if people be attacked where they live and totally destroy goodness in their midst, or, is it better to baptize and let people sleep to some extent in that, somewhat preserved…

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