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a woman to be His mother, man looks up to woman with a homage akin to veneration.

The poet Longfellow pays the following tribute to Mary's sanctifying influence:

"This is indeed the blessed Mary's land,

Virgin and mother of our dear Redeemer!

All hearts are touched and softened at her name,

Alike the bandit with the bloody hand,

The priest, the prince, the scholar, and the peasant,
The man of deeds, the visionary dreamer,

Pay homage to her as one ever present!

And if our faith had given us nothing more
Than this example of all womanhood,

So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,

So patient, peaceful, loyal, loving, pure,

This were enough to prove it higher and truer

Than all the creeds the world had known before."

St. Ambrose gives us the following beautiful picture of Mary's life before her espousals:

"Let the life," he says, "of the Blessed Mary be ever present to you, in which, as in a mirror, the beauty of chastity and the form of virtue shine forth. She was a virgin not only in body, but in mind, who never sullied the pure affection of her heart by unworthy feelings.

"She was humble of heart, serious in her conversation, fonder of reading than of speaking. She placed her con

fidence rather in the prayer of the poor than in the uncertain riches of this world.

"She was ever intent on her occupations, and accustomed to make God rather than man the witness of her thoughts. She injured no one, wished well to all, reverenced age, yielded not to envy, avoided all boasting, followed the dictates of reason, and loved virtue.

"When did she sadden her parents even by a look ?

"There was nothing forward in her looks, bold in her words, or unbecoming in her actions. Her carriage was not abrupt, her gait not indolent, her voice not petulant, so that her very appearance was the picture of her mind and the figure of piety."

Her life as a spouse and as a mother was a counterpart of her earlier years.

The Gospel relates one little circumstance which amply suffices to demonstrate Mary's supereminent holiness of life, and to exhibit her as a beautiful pattern to those who are called to rule a household.

The Evangelist tells us that Jesus "was subject to them," that is, to Mary and Joseph. He obeyed all her commands, fulfilled her behests, complied with her smallest injunctions; in a word, He discharged toward her all the filial observances which a dutiful son exercises toward a prudent mother. These relations continued

from His childhood to His public life, nor did they cease even then.

Now Jesus being the Son of God, "the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance," could not sin. He was incapable of fulfilling an unrighteous precept.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from these facts is, that Mary never sinned by commanding, as Jesus could not sin by obeying; that all her precepts and counsels were stamped with the seal of divine approbation, and that the Son never fulfilled any injunction of His earthly Mother which was not ratified by His Eternal Father in heaven.

Such is the beautiful portrait which the Church holds up to the contemplation of her children, that studying it they may admire the original, admiring they may love, loving they may imitate, and thus become more dear to God by being made "conformable to the image of His Son," of whom Mary is the most perfect mirror.

JAMES, CARDINAL GIBBONS.

James, Cardinal Gibbons was born in Baltimore, July 23, 1834. His many duties have prevented him from writing much, but his "Faith of Our Fathers," from which our lesson is selected, is known wherever the English tongue is spoken, and has been translated into other languages.

salutary: wholesome. dominant: prevailing.

state. benign (be-nin): kind; generous.

commonwealth

sway: rule.conjugal:

matrimonial. — visionary: unreal. - espousals: marriage ceremony.

intent: having the mind fixed. - indolent: idle. — petulant: fretful. - supereminent: eminent in a superior degree. - behests: com mands. — obvious: plain. conformable: similar.

Portia's Speech.

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above his sceptered sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God Himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

SHAKESPEARE.

Portia an heiress in Shakespeare's play, "The Merchant of Venice." Disguised as a doctor of law, she defended her husband's friend in a suit brought against him for a pound of his flesh, and in the course of that suit used the words in this lesson. — strained: forced. sceptered sway: power of kings.attribute: a quality which is considered as belonging to.

The Catacombs of Rome.

The name "catacombs" might mislead our readers into an idea that this was either the original or a ge neric name of those early Christian crypts. It is not so, however; Rome might be said to be surrounded by a circumvallation of cemeteries, sixty or thereabouts in number, each of which was generally known by the name of some saint or saints, whose bodies reposed there. Thus we have the cemeteries of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, of St. Agnes, of St. Pancratius, of Prætextatus, Priscilla, Hermes, etc.

Sometimes these cemeteries were known by the names of the places where they existed. The cemetery of St. Sebastian, which was called sometimes Cometerium ad Sanctam Cæciliam, and by other names, had among them that of Ad Catacumbas. The meaning of this word is completely unknown; though it may be attributed to the circumstance of the relics of SS. Peter and Paul having been for a time buried there, in a crypt still existing near the cemetery. This term became the name of that particular cemetery, then was generalized, till we familiarly call the whole system of these underground excavations the catacombs.

Their origin was, in the eighteenth century, a sub

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