The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about The Makers of Canada.
alone.  He who has been disinherited of the boons of fortune, family and health, he who is incurable and who despairs of human joys needs something else besides the most comfortable hospital room that can be imagined; he needs the words which fell from the lips of God:  “Blessed are the poor, blessed are they that suffer, blessed are they that mourn.”  He needs a pitying heart, a tender witness to indigence nobly borne, a respectful friend of his misfortune, still more than that, a worshipper of Jesus hidden in the persons of the poor, the orphan and the sick.  They have become rare in the world, these real friends of the poor; the more assistance has become organized, the more charity seems to have lost its true nature; and perhaps we might find in this state of things a radical explanation for those implacable social antagonisms, those covetous desires, those revolts followed by endless repression, which bring about revolutions, and by them all manner of tyranny.  Let us first respect the poor, let us love them, let us sincerely admire their condition as one ennobled by God, if we wish them to become reconciled with Him, and reconciled with the world.  When the rich man is a Christian, generous and respectful of the poor, when he practises the virtues which most belong to his social position, the poor man is very near to conforming to those virtues which Providence makes his more immediate duty, humility, obedience, resignation to the will of God and trust in Him and in those who rule in His name.  The solution of the great social problem lies, as it seems to us, in the spiritual love of the poor.  Outside of this, there is only the heathen slave below, and tyranny above with all its terrors.  That is what religious enthusiasm foresaw in centuries less well organized but more religious than ours.

CHAPTER XIX

DEATH OF MGR.  DE LAVAL

The end of a great career was now approaching.  In the summer of 1707, a long and painful illness nearly carried Mgr. de Laval away, but he recovered, and convalescence was followed by manifest improvement.  This soul which, like the lamp of the sanctuary, was consumed in the tabernacle of the Most High, revived suddenly at the moment of emitting its last gleams, then suddenly died out in final brilliance.  The improvement in the condition of the venerable prelate was ephemeral; the illness which had brought him to the threshold of the tomb proved fatal some weeks later.  He died in the midst of his labours, happy in proving by the very origin of the disease which brought about his death, his great love for the Saviour.  It was, in fact, in prolonging on Good Friday his pious stations in his chilly church (for our ancestors did not heat their churches, even in seasons of rigorous cold), that he received in his heel the frost-bite of which he died.  Such is the name the writers of the time give to this sore; in our days, when science

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The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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