Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 17

FEAST OF ST. LAMBERT, BISHOP OF MAESTRICHT. Born about the year 637; was murdered early in the eighth century.

HE is described as "a wise youth, of amiable aspect, affable speech, and right conversation; of stately form, strong and swift, agile and stout in war, clear headed, handsome, loving, pure and humble, and fond of reading." Thus he had in him the making either of a soldier or an ecclesiastic. He chose the higher vocation, obeyed sedulously while under rule, and when himself in authority labored as sedulously.

He has been styled a martyr; yet I question whether accurately, at least in the fullest sense of the word. Two men, trespassing on the temporalities of Maestricht, were slain by members of the Bishop's family: this occasioned a blood feud in which St. Lambert, among others, lost his life. He died with exemplary resignation and piety.

Being told of the approaching foe,"Lambert rose, and grasping his sword, his martial fire suddenly blazing up in him, he stood forth without even slipping on his shoes. But almost immediately he remembered himself, laid aside his sword, and prepared for the worst." To one of his nephews he said: "Remember you are guilty of the murder . . . and God will judge sinners. What you did unjustly, now in justice you must expiate . . . . " He retired into his chamber, and having put all forth, he cast himself on the ground, with his arms extended, and wept abundantly. Directly after armed men burst in, killing every one in the house. Lambert's door was fastened from within, wherefore one man mounted the roof and ran him through with a spear, which he flung at him from above.

"But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. . . . For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality."

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