Then, as to the Divine virtue of hope, it is asked whether, from the merits of Christ Our Lord, he firmly hoped for eternal salvation ; with what confidence he practiced good works, and whether he strove to excite this confidence in others; whether he despised the things of this world, and how he showed this contempt; whether in trying circumstances he placed his trust in God alone, and had recourse to prayer; whether in adversity he was resigned to the goodness of God, and the decrees of His Providence; whether he directed his desires and all his actions to God as his last end; whether he bore cheerfully adversity and persecution, and if a religious the austerity of the religious life and the duties of his ministry; whether he showed his hope in God by ardent and pious exclamations, and raised up others to confidence in God - namely, the poor, the afflicted, the sinners; whether he desired with St. Paul to be dissolved and be with Christ, whether he bore infirmity and suffering with a joyous spirit; whether, by word or work, he showed a desire to suffer for eternal glory and rejoiced at the near approach of death. And whether he was favored with any special grace or miracle.
The virtue of charity includes the love of God and the love of our neighbor. And in regard to the love of God it is asked whether the servant of God diligently observed the laws of God and the Church, and the rules of his Order, if a religious ; whether he hated sin, and took every care to reserve himself free from every defect; whether by prayer and frequentation of the Sacraments he strove to blot out imperfections.1 It is asked whether his mind was always fixed on God, and in union with God, and by what acts, words, or aspirations was this union made manifest; whether he often spoke of God, and showed by extraordinary signs the force of his love; if a priest, whether he celebrated daily Mass, and with what fervor; was his prayer constant and fervent; did he remain long in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament; what he did when anyone gave utterance to blasphemy; did he prevent the commission of sin, and feel sorrow for it when committed by others; did he endeavor to inflame others with charity towards God; did he lead others to the practice of prayer, and how did he by fasting and mortification bring his flesh into subjection that he might be more pleasing to God; had he a desire for affliction, contradiction, contempt, and how did he bear them. It is asked whether he meditated on the Passion of Christ and by what acts did he show his devotion to it ; how did he show devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and did he endeavor with his might to excite others to praise the divine goodness. Finally, whether the servant of God was favored with any miraculous effects of charity, ecstasy, &c.
Then, as to the love of the neighbor, it is asked in regard to spiritual works whether he prayed for the conversion of sinners; if a priest, with what fervor, assiduity and success did he exercise his holy ministry for the salvation of souls; with what frequency and fervor did he offer up prayers for the souls of the deceased; what were his relations towards his enemies and persecutors; did he forgive them, receive them meekly, return good for evil, and pray for them. It is asked whether he endeavored to prevent discord, and whether he had at heart the character and good name of others.
As to the corporal works, it is inquired whether he loved the poor, whether he helped them according to his ability, and strove to induce others to assist them; whether he instructed the ignorant and gave counsel to those in doubt; whether he comforted the afflicted, admonished sinners, restored peace and concord amongst the quarrelsome, excused the defects of his neighbors, and clothed the naked; what was his attitude towards the sick, did he devote himself to their spiritual and physical wellbeing; did he love the sick poor more than others; did he visit and relieve those in prison.
Besides the divine or theological virtues of faith hope and charity inquiry is made regarding the four cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. And as regards prudence, the Church inquires whether the servant of God directed all his actions to the attainment of eternal glory as his last end, and if he selected the necessary and useful means to this end; how far he endeavored to preserve purity of conscience and a holy fear of God, and with what care he endeavored to avoid all stain of sin; whether he loved simplicity, was sincere and true in thought and word, and hated all duplicity and falsehood; whether all his acts were good, and whether he first invoked divine aid for their due performance; did he seek the advice, of prudent men, and act on it, and was he ready to give counsel when asked; had he a deep hatred of idleness as the source of vice, and did he love meditation and solitude; did he, if a priest, show his prudence in the exercise of his ministry, and did his prudence go hand in hand with zeal.
In reference to justice it is asked whether he rendered unto God due honor and obedience. Also, whether he paid veneration to the saints, and by what acts he showed his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, his Angel Guardian, and his patron saints ; whether he accepted the decrees of the Supreme pontiffs with proper respect and reverence, and whether he was exact in the observance of the sacred rites and ceremonies of the Church. Did he endeavor to promote the worship of God and sanctify the Sundays and holydays. Was he duly subject to his parents and superiors; was he affable towards others; did he respect the rights of all and give them what was due to them; and did he hate usury and fraud of every kind; did he show himself grateful for favors received, and strive to excite gratitude in others. It is asked also whether he discharged with justice the duties of the office committed to him, avoiding all acceptance of persons. And finally was the truth always in his heart and mouth, was he obliging towards others, and did he so temper the severity of justice with benignity that no one could ever have just cause of complaint against him.
Then, as to temperance, it is asked whether denial of his own will and internal mortification were characteristics of the servant of God; whether he restrained the motions of anger and concupiscence, whether he had borne persecution with meekness and patience. It is inquired whether he had been unduly tenacious of his own opinion, had he been sparing in the use of food and drink, did he observe the fasts of the Church, and of his Order, if a religious; what was the nature of the food he used, did he indulge in long hours of sleep, and was his bed comfortable or the reverse, was he anxious to be well clothed and housed, did he neglect the comforts of life. Did he endeavor to bring the flesh into subjection by extraordinary fasts and discipline; did he mortify the senses; did he love silence and solitude; was he modest and grave in his demeanor; did he in fine show temperance in all his words and actions.
Finally, in reference to fortitude, it is asked whether he courageously overcame all obstacles to the glory of God and the salvation of souls; whether he constantly defended the rights of the Church and restrained the licentiousness of wicked men; was he strong and faithful in the duties of his office, indefatigable in work, patient in persecution, injury, calumnies, in trouble of mind, in spiritual dryness; had he borne all these with a joyful and cheerful spirit; was he always himself, not elevated by prosperity or depressed by adversity; did he despise the honors, riches, and pleasures of the world, and inculcate the same feelings in others. It is asked whether he was constant and faithful in the exercise of virtue; whether he overcame the assaults of the demon, and all human respect; whether his fortitude was evident even in his last illness, indicating that he possessed the gift of final perseverance.
In addition to the rigorous examination regarding the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the four moral or cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, whenever there is question of the claims to sanctity of a man or woman who belonged to any religious congregation inquiry is also made as to the observance of the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.
And in regard to obedience, it is asked whether the servant of God diligently observed the precepts and rules of the Institution; whether he accepted the will of his superiors as his guide ; whether all his acts possessed the merit of obedience; whether he was obedient to his spiritual directors; whether he yielded to his equals and even to his inferiors, and relinquished his own will in all things.
As to holy poverty, it is asked whether, in the observance of his vow, he had been content with only those things that are strictly necessary to sustain life, with coarse clothing, a bare cell, a hard uncomfortable bed; had he refused to accept or retain everything forbidden by his vow of poverty; how he had acted in the use of money; did he possess a genuine love of poverty, and endeavor to excite this love in other members of the community.
As to chastity, it is asked whether, by fasting, sackcloth and other severe discipline, he endeavored to preserve strict purity of mind and body; whether his modesty was remarkable; did he observe custody of the senses did he avoid the company of the opposite sex did he fly idleness; did he condemn and correct scandals, and by what other signs did he show the possession of this virtue.
If the servant of God was not a religious, but a lay person, all the inquiries made under the headings of poverty, chastity and obedience can, as a rule, be referred to the moral virtues of justice and temperance. Under the head of the cardinal virtues and those practices connected with them an inquiry is made whether the person to be beatified possessed the habit of that virtue which would shed a luster on his calling and state of life. "Thus justice and temperance are required in statesmen and prelates; in Popes, zeal for the defense and propagation of the faith; in kings, loyal attachment to the Church and the Holy See; in married women, gentleness and devotion."
And, whether the servant of God is a religious or laic, inquiry is made regarding humility, whether he considered himself useless and of little account; on what ground had he refused to accept positions of honor; did he regard himself as a sinner; did he rejoice that he was neglected by others, and try to excite this neglect; did he endeavor, without affectation, to deny his own virtues and holiness, and avoid praise from others; had his conduct been humble and gentle so that even towards subjects and inferiors he was companionable and human. Had he shown respect for the opinions of others and contempt for his own. Did he gladly undertake lowly duties, and by what other signs and actions did he manifest the humility of his character. If there is question of a servant of God who held high office or dignity the Postulator must prove his freedom from ambition, nay, he must show his aversion to the promotion, and his acceptance only in virtue of holy obedience. Some of the saints have steadily and successfully rejected all dignities, and preeminent amongst them are St. Philip Neri, St. Francis Borgia, St. Thomas Aquinas. Father Faber says: "When Clement XI. was elected Pope, he refused to accept the tiara, and he was so determined in his refusal that four theologians were consulted as to whether he could continue to resist the will of the electors without grave sin. One of these theologians was the Blessed Joseph Mary Tommasi; and their answer was in the negative. Some time afterwards Clement created the Blessed Joseph Mary a cardinal; he, out of humility, refused; Clement playfully turned against the holy theologian the arguments he himself had used to force his Holiness to ascend the Papal throne and compelled Tommasi to accept the dignity."
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