We are not to celebrate the termination of half a century in the life of Pius X, for, on June the second next, it will be seventy-three years since our Holy Father first felt the genial warmth of the. sun- of his native Italian land. Such a celebration, important as it would be, were insignificant when compared with the celebration our loving hearts will be glad to keep. This is the glorious golden anniversary of the holy priesthood of the Great High Priest of Holy Mother Church.
On the 18th of September, the feast of St. Joseph of Cupertinto, 1908, fifty years shall have sped away since Pius X knelt as a young seminarian at the feet of his Bishop and was ordained a priest "according to the order of Melchisedeck." Fifty years ago, on that day, the Prelate invoked the Holy Spirit upon Joseph Sarto and anointed his hands with the holy unction. Then was he clothed with the vestments of the Sacrifice and given the unspeakable, twofold power over the real and mystical Body of Christ. At that moment the young priest was vested with more power over the Man-God, than even His own Blessed Mother could or ever can wield—the power to change the bread and wine into the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of the Incarnate Son of the Father. Before the holy altar the newly ordained was granted an authority over the faithful in the One True Church, fuller and wider than any earthly prince or potentate has ever possessed, an authority unto the loosing and the binding of sin upon the souls of men.
How fruitfully this faithful priest has used these marvellous spiritual gifts during all his years, since he took for his model the Great High Priest, " holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and made higher than the heavens," is too well known to our Associates to need recounting. The story of his apostolic work during the years is written in the grateful hearts of the poor, of the laborers, of those in distress who during the round of almost half a century came to him for help, advice and sympathy. If the stones of Venice could speak they would tell a tale of charity, of love for souls and of self-sacrifice which can be true only of the man who models his life on the Man-God, true only of the priest who daily wins strength for deeds of heroism by drinking of the Chalice, renews the soul's youthful vigor. :.....The fifty years have dropped away, and the Priest of Treviso, ' the Bishop of Mantua, the Cardinal of San Bernardo, the Patriarch of Venice has become the Supreme Pontiff of the One True Church of God. He is no longer the devoted pastor of souls in an Italian town, no longer the Bishop who rules his sheep in peaceful Mantua, the home of Virgil, no longer the Patriarch in charge of the important diocese of lovely Venice. Now upon him rests " the solicitude for all the churches " of the whole Christian world. There are no people of any nation, tongue or tribe to whom his affectionate heart does not go out; no sacred edifice, whether it be a majestic cathedral or a humble mountain chapel, is beyond the range and reach of his jurisdiction and pastoral affection. There is no soul, redeemed by Our Blessed Saviour's blood, that is not by right a subject of the Holy See and an object of the care and love of our Holy Pontiff.
On the lakeshore, after the night of unsuccessful fishing, Our Blessed Lord called Peter aside and gave him the great commission. There as the early daybreak was blushing over the hills of Moab stood Peter and Our Lord and Saviour; they were to look into one another's faces only a few times more; soon on Olivet's height He would say farewell to Peter till He should meet him in His kingdom. On this occasion, then, within earshot of the others, the Master bids him " Feed my sheep, feed my lambs." It was the memory of that dawn on the white beach of Tiberias which years later made Peter brave in Rome when he sealed by his death the office committed to him on that memorable morning.
The same commission has been given to Pius X. The same words have been addressed to him, and the same office entrusted to his keeping. He, too, must see to it, even to the shedding of his blood, that the flock, both sheep and lambs, be fed, not with husks, but from ripe, fresh pastures. In the fulfilment of this duty as the Chief Shepherd of souls, surely the Holy Father looks to the prayers of the Apostleship. He himself has deigned to bless the General Intention for this month—the opening month of the year that rounds out his golden and venerable priesthood. Surely when we look upon the events of the last few years and see how the Church has been persecuted, not only by her open enemies but also by false brethren within, our hearts will go out in sympathy to Our Lord's Vicar, and the Associates of the League will by their prayers strive to obtain for him the strength which in these times he so much needs.
We know of course that the Church is built upon a Rock. We are aware that it has a heavenly stability which no storm can shake. Other kingdoms are born, grow strong, weaken and disappear in death, but the Church of God lives on forever. Other rulers see their crowns fall from their heads, and their sceptres from their hands; not so with Christ's Vicar. He shall ever wear the tiara of his spiritual power. There is ever in the Church a divine element which no human power can change. But just as the bark of the Apostles was tossed about by wind and wave on the sea of Galilee, the night Our Blessed Lord was on the mountain-top in prayer and watched His struggling Twelve; so at the present time the Church has her struggles to endure, and her battles to fight, her obstacles to overcome, her difficulties to solve: the human o1-ment is to be reckoned with. The burden of these attacks falls especially upon the Vicar of Christ Himself. Assuredly then we Associates of the League will strive to help him by our prayers and our good works. Above all we will cheerfully and fervently fulfil this duty and work of love which he asks of us all, uniting our supplications with the prayers of the Master's Sacred Heart. He Himself has said, " I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."—The Editor.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer Thee all the prayers, work, and sufferings of this day for the intentions of Thy Divine Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
in reparation for my sins, and for all the requests presented through the Apostleship of Prayer: in particular for the Venerated Head of Thy Holy Church,
that the Jubilee of his priesthood may open an era of peace for the Catholic family of which he is the Father.