NOVEMBER 20 – ST. FELIX OF VALOIS.
ST. FELIX was son of the Count of Valois. His mother throughout his youth did all she could to cultivate in him a spirit of charity. The unjust divorce between his parents matured a long-formed resolution of leaving the world; and confiding his mother to her pious brother, Thibault, Count of Champagne, he took the Cistercian habit at Clairvaux. His rare virtues drew on him such admiration that, with St. Bernard’s consent, he fled to Italy, where he led an austere life with an aged hermit. At this time he was ordained priest, and his old counsel, Ior having died, he returned to France, and for many years lived as a solitary at Cerfroid. Here God inspired him with the desire of founding an Order for the redemption of Christian captives, and moved St. John of Matha, then a youth, to conceive a similar wish. Together they drew up the rules of the Order of the Holy Trinity. Many disciples gathered round them; and seeing that the time had come for further action, the two Saints made a pilgrimage to Rome to obtain the confirmation of the Order from Innocent III. Their prayer was granted, and the last fifteen years of Felix’s long life were spent in organizing and developing his rapidly increasing foundations. He died A.D. 1213.
REFLECTION: “Think how much,” says St. John Chrysostom, “and how often thy mouth has sinned, and thou wilt devote thyself entirely to the conversion of sinners. For by this one means thou wilt blot out all thy sins, in that thy mouth will become the mouth of God.”
WORD OF THE DAY
DOUBLE EFFECT. The principle that says it is morally allowable to perform an act that has at least two effects, one good and one bad. It may be used under the following conditions: 1. the act to be done must be good in itself or at least morally indifferent; by the act to be done is meant the deed itself taken independently of its consequences; 2. the good effect must not be obtained by means of the evil effect; the evil must be only an incidental by-product and not an actual factor in the accomplishment of the good; 3. the evil effect must not be intended for itself but only permitted; all bad will must be excluded from the act; 4. there must be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect. At least the good and evil effects should be nearly equivalent. All four conditions must be fulfilled. If any one of them is not satisfied, the act is morally wrong.
An example of the lawful use of the double effect would be the commander of a submarine in wartime who torpedoes an armed merchant vessel of the enemy, although he foresees that several innocent children on board will be killed. All four required conditions are fulfilled: 1. he intends merely to lessen the power of the enemy by destroying an armed merchant ship. He does not wish to kill the innocent children; 2. his action of torpedoing the ship is not evil in itself; 3. the evil effect (the death of the children) is not the cause of the good effect (the lessening of the enemy’s strength); 4. there is sufficient reason for permitting the evil effect to follow, and this reason is administering a damaging blow to those who are unjustly attacking his country.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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