Life of St Roch (Saint to cure plague and pestilence)

From the Golden Legend (Medieval Source)

Here followeth the Life of S. Rocke

S. ROCKE was born in Montpelier, which is a town of great name upon the border of France, and was born of noble progeny. His father was lord of Montpelier, and was named John, and was come of the noble house of France. And though he was noble of birth, and rich of lordship, he was also virtuous in all humanity. He had a wife of noble kindred and fair of visage named Libera, which both devoutly served our Lord Jesu Christ, and lived in divine love and holy works. And how well that they thus had lived long, yet had they no child ne heir, wherefore they oft made their prayers, and vowed pilgrimages. And on a day most specially, the wife made her prayers to our Blessed Lady, praying devoutly for to have a child, and was in very contemplation, in which she heard the voice of an angel saying: O Libera, God hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt receive of him grace of thy petition. And anon she went to her husband and told him as she had heard of the angel. And then they, hereof joyful, accomplished the act of matrimony, and she conceived, and at time was delivered of a son, which in his baptism was named Rochus or Rocke.And this Rocke had impressed in the shoulder on his left side a cross, which was a token that he should be acceptable and beloved of God, which thing when his father and mother saw they blessed God, and his mother herself nourished and gave suck to the child, and fed it and committed and did gladly the other business of a nurse. Which devout mother fasted twice in the week, and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day, which was to all a great wonder, and that day he was gladder, merrier, and sweeter than the other. And after, when he came to five years of age, he disposed him to the works of penance, and was much obedient to father and mother. And in the twelfth year of his age he fasted many and divers fastings for Christ’s love. And the more his members grew, the more the cross, that tofore was spoken of, appeared larger and more apparent.

In that time the father of S. Rocke was sick and saw his last end approach, and called to him his son Rocke, and said: O mine only son Rocke, thou seest well that I shall shortly finish my life; alway the will of God be fulfilled, and four things, with my lordship and heritage, I leave to thee, and command thee to accomplish. First, like as thou hast begun that thou serve busily God. Secondly, that thou remember poor people, widows and orphans. Thirdly, I constitute and ordain thee governor and dispenser of all my treasures, that thou dispend them in charitable and meek works. And fourthly that, with all diligence thou haunt and frequent the hospitals of sick and poor men. These foresaid things Rocke promised to his father to fulfil them to his power. And anon after his father died, whom Rocke buried honourably, and laid in a sepulture, and in the twentieth year of his age he buried also his devout mother. And in few days he executed the testament of his father effectually, and visited religious places of poor people; wretches oppressed, and sick men, he cured by counsel and works; widows and orphans he comforted; and poor maidens to marry he relieved. And in these good offices and works he dispended his father’s goods. And when he had finished his father’s commandments he decreed to leave the country of Montpelier and to make and seek other divers pilgrimages, and clad him with the habit of a pilgrim, and covered his head with a bonnet, a scrip on his shoulder, and a pilgrim’s staff in his right hand, and so departed.

And after many desert places he came to Rome, but tofore he came into a town called in Latin Aquapendens, where as was a common and hard pestilence, which, when Rocke knew of many by the way, he desirously went unto the hospital of that town, called Water-hanging, and gat with great prayers and labour of one Vincent, which had the rule of the hospital, that he might there, day and night, serve the sick people. Vincent was afeard and dreaded lest Rocke, which was a young flowering man should be smitten with pestilence. But after that he came, them that were sick he blessed in the name of Christ, and as soon he had touched the sick men they were all whole. And they said and confessed as soon as and this holy man Rocke was come in. All they that were vexed and sick, and the fire of pestilence had infected, he extincted it and delivered all the hospital of that sickness. And after he went through the town, and each house that was vexed with pestilence he entered, and with the sign of the cross and mind of the passion of Jesu Christ he delivered them all from the pestilence. For whomsoever Rocketouched, anon the pestilence left him. And when the town of Water-falling was delivered from the contagion of the pestilence, Rocke went to the city of Cesena which is a great city of Italy, which no less pestilence vexed, and he in a short space delivered it from the pestilence. And from thence he came to Rome, which was then so full of pestilence that unnethe in all the town could not be found one house void thereof. In those days there was at Rome a cardinal of the title of Angleria, which is a province of Lombardy, and the blessed Rocke came into this cardinal’s place. And as he stood tofore him a little, suddenly a marvellous comfort and hope entered into the courage of the cardinal. He understood the young man Rocke to be right dear with God, for his cheer, his manners, and his attemperance showed it, wherefore he commended him to Rocke that he should deliver him from the pestilence and conserve him. And then Rocke did sign in the cardinal’s forehead and made with his finger a cross. And anon an apparent sign and a very cross was seen impressed in his forehead, and so the cardinal was preserved from the pestilence. Nevertheless, for the novelty of the thing, he prayed S. Rocke that the token of the cross should be taken away, lest thereby it should be to the people a new spectacle. Then Rocke exhorted the cardinal that he should bear the sign of the cross of our Redeemer, in memory of his passion, in his forehead perpetually, and worship it reverently, by which sign he was delivered from the hard pestilence. The cardinal then brought S. Rocke to the pope, which anon saw that is godly, a bright ray and heavenly, shining out of the forehead of Rocke. And after, when his divine virtue was known to the pope, Rocke obtained of him full remission of sin. Then the cardinal began to inquire of Rocke of his lineage and of his country, but Rocke affecting no mortal glory, hid his lineage and received again of the pope his blessing and departed from him. And abode at Rome with the same cardinal three years continually, and laboured in visiting and helping the poor people and them that were sick of the pestilence. And after three years the cardinal, being old, died, and Rocke forsook Rome and came to the town of Armine, a noble city of Italy, which also he delivered from the said pestilence. And when that town was delivered, he went to the city of Manasem in Lombardy, which was also sore oppressed with sick men of the pestilence, whom with all his heart he served diligently, and by the help of God made that town quit of the pestilence. And from thence went to Piacenza, for he understood that there was great pestilence. Rocke was ever of great study how he might, in the name of Jesu and of his passion, deliver mortal men from the hurt of pestilence. And so an whole year he visited the houses of poor men, and they that had most need, to them he did most help, and was always in the hospital. And when he had been long in the hospital of Piacenza, and had helped almost all the sick men therein, about midnight he heard in his sleep an angel thus saying:

O Rocke, most devout to Christ, awake and know that thou art smitten with the pestilence, study now how thou mayst be cured. And anon he felt him sore taken with the pestilence under his both arms, and he thereof gave than kings to our Lord. And he was so sore vexed with the pain, that they that were in the hospital were deprived of their sleep and rest of the night, wherefore S. Rocke arose from his bed and went to the utterest place of the hospital, and lay down there abiding the light of the day. And when it was day the people going by saw him, and accused the master of the hospital of offence, that he suffered the pilgrim to lie without the hospital, but he purged him of that default, saying that: The pilgrim was smitten with the pestilence as ye see, and unwitting to us he went out. Then the citizens incontinent put out S. Rocke from the city and suburbs, lest by him the city might be the more infected. Then S. Rocke, sore oppressed with fervent pain of the pestilence, suffered patiently himself to be ejected out of Piacenza, and went into a certain wood, a desert valley not far from Piacenza, always blessing God. And there as he might he made him a lodge of boughs and leaves, always giving thankings to our Lord, saying: O Jesu, my Saviour, I thank thee that thou puttest me to affliction like to thine other servants, by this odious ardour of pestilence, and most meek Lord, I beseech thee to this desert place, give the refrigery and comfort of thy grace.And his prayer finished, anon there came a cloud from heaven by the lodge that S. Rocke had made within boughs, whereas sprang a fair and bright well, which is there yet unto this day. Whose water S. Rocke drank, being sore athirst, and thereof had great refreshing of the great heat that he suffered of the pestilence fever.

There was nigh unto that wood a little village in which some noblemen dwelled; among whom there was one well beloved to God named Gotard,which had great husbandry, and had a great family and household. This Gotard held many hounds for hunting, among whom he had one much familiar, which boldly would take bread from the board. And when Rocke lacked bread, that hound, by the purveyance of God, brought from the lord’s board bread unto Rocke. Which thing when Gotard had advertised oft that he bare so away the bread, but he wist not to whom ne whither, whereof he marvelled, and so did all his household. And the next dinner he set a delicate loaf on the board, which anon the hound by his new manner took away and bare it to Rocke. And Gotard followed after and came to the lodge of S. Rocke, and there beheld how familiarly the hound delivered the bread to S. Rocke. Then Gotard reverently saluted the holy man and approached to him, but S. Rocke, dreading lest the contagious air of the pestilence might infect him, said to him: Friend, go from me in good peace, for the most violent pestilence holdeth me. Then Gotard went his way and left him, and returned home, where, by God’s grace, he said thus to himself all still: This poor man whom I have left in the wood and desert, certainly is the man of God, sith this hound without reason bringeth to him bread. I therefore, that have seen him do it, so ought sooner to do it, which am a Christian man. By this holy meditation Gotard returned to Rocke and said: Holy pilgrim, I desire to do to thee that thou needest, and am advised never to leave thee. Then Rocke thanked God which had sent to him Gotard, and he informed Gotard busily in the law of Christ. And when they had been awhile together the hound brought no more bread. Gotard asked counsel how he might have bread, for more and more he hungered and asked remedy of S. Rocke. S. Rocke exhorted him after the text, saying: In the sweat of thy visage thou shalt eat thy bread, and that he should return to the town, and leave all his goods to his heirs, and follow the way of Christ and demand bread in the name of Jesu. Then Gotard was ashamed to do so where he was known, but at the last by the busy admonition of S. Rocke, Gotard went to Piacenza, whereas he had great knowledge, and begged bread and alms at the door of one of his gossips. That same gossip threatened sharply Gotard, and said he shamed his lineage and friends by this foul and indecent begging, and put him away, being wroth and scorning him. For which cause Gotard was constrained to beg busily at the doors of other men of the city. And the same day the gossip that so had said to Gotard was taken sore with the pestilence, and many others that denied alms to Gotard. And then anon the city of Piacenza was infect with contagious pestilence, and Gotard returned to the wood and told to S. Rocke all that was happed.

And S. Rocke told to Gotard tofore, that his gossip should hastily die, which was done indeed. And S. Rocke, moved with pity and mercy, being full sick, went into Piacenza, being full of pestilence, and left Gotard in the wood. And though S. Rocke were sore vexed with the pestilence, yet he with great labour went to Piacenza and with touching and blessing he helped and healed them all, and also cured the hospital of the same city. And he being sore sick and almost lame returned again to Gotard into the wood. And many that heard that he and Gotard were in the place of the desert valley,came to them whom they found all with Rocke, and tofore them all he did these miracles. The wild beasts which wandered in the wood, what hurt, sickness or swelling they had, they ran anon to S. Rocke, and when they were healed they would incline their heads reverently and go their way. And a little while after Gotard, and his fellows, for certain necessities and errands, returned into Piacenza and left that time S. Rocke alone in the valley. And S. Rocke made his prayers to Almighty God that he might be delivered from the wounds of pestilence, and in this prayer he fell asleep. And in the meanwhile returned Gotard from the city, and when he came and joined him to Rocke sleeping, he heard the voice of an angel saying: O Rocke, friend of God, our Lord hath heard thy prayers, lo, thou art delivered from the pestilence, and art made all whole, and our Lord commandeth that thou take the way toward thy country. With this sudden voice Gotard was astonished which never tofore knew the name of Rocke. And anon Rocke awoke, and felt himself all whole by the grace of God like as the angel said. And Gotard told unto Rocke how he had heard the angel and what he had said. Then S. Rocke prayed Gotard that he should keep his name secret and to tell it to no man, for he desired no worldly glory. Then after a few days S. Rocke with Gotard and his fellows abode in the desert, and informed them all in godly works, and they then began to wax holy, wherein he exhorted them and confirmed, and left them in that desert valley. And S. Rocke, as a pilgrim doing penance, entended, burning in the love of God, toward his country and came to a province of Lombardy called Angleria, and applied him toward Almaine, where the lord of his province made war with his enemy, whose knights took S. Rocke as a spy, and delivered him to their lord as a traitor. This blessed saint, always confessing Jesu Christ, was deputed unto a hard and strait prison, and the blessed Rocke patiently went into prison and suffered it gladly. Where day and night remembering the name of Jesu, he commended him to God, praying that the prison should not disprofit him, but that he might have it for wilderness and penance. And there he abode five years in prayers.

In the end of the fifth year, when God would that his soul should be brought into the fellowship of his saints, and be always in the sight of God, he that bare meat to S. Rocke into the prison, as he was accustomed every day, he saw a great light and shining in the prison, and S. Rocke kneeling on his knees praying, which all these things he told to his lord. And the fame hereof ran all about the city, so that many of the citizens ran to the prison because of the novelty of this thing. And there saw and beheld it and gave laud thereof to Almighty God, and accused the lord of cruelty and woodness. Then at the last, when S. Rocke knew by the will of God that he should finish his mortal life, he called to him the keeper of the prison, and prayed him that he would go to his lord, and to exhort him in the name of God and of the glorious Virgin Mary, that he would send to him a priest, of whom ere he died he would be confessed, which thing was anon done. And when he had confessed him to the priest and devoutly taken his blessing, he prayed him that he might abide alone three days next following for to be in his contemplation, by which he might the better have mind of the most holy passion of our Lord. For Rocke felt well then that the citizens prayed the lord for his deliverance, which things the priest told to the lord. And so it was granted to S. Rocke to abide there alone three days. And in the end of the third day the angel of God came to S. Rocke, saying thus: O Rocke, God sendeth me for thy soul, of whom in this last part of thy life that what thou now desirest thou shouldest now ask and demand. Then S. Rocke prayed unto Almighty God with his most devout prayer, that all good christian men which reverently prayed in the name of Jesu to the blessed Rocke might be delivered surely from the stroke of pestilence. And this prayer so made, he expired and gave up the ghost.

Anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of S. Rocke. And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to S. Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence. And then after the third day the lord of the city sent to the prison that S. Rocke should be delivered out of it. And they that came to the prison found S. Rocke departed from this life, and saw through all the prison a marvellous light, in such wise that without doubt they believed him to be the friend of God. And there was at his head a great taper burning, and another at his feet, by which tapers all his body was light. Furthermore, they found under his head the foresaid table, by which they knew the name of the blessed Rocke by authority, which name known, the mother of the lord of that city knew many years tofore S. Rocke to be the son of the lord John of Montpelier, which was brother germain to this lord of whom we have said, which thing, and all that was done, was because they knew not his name. Then they knew him to be nephew to the lord, and also by the sign of the cross which S. Rocke bare, as tofore is said that he had it when he was born out of his mother’s belly. Then they being thereof penitent, and in great wailing and sorrow, at the last with all the people of the city they buried S. Rocke solemnly and religiously, which soon after the holy saint was canonised by the pope gloriously. And in his glorious name and honour they builded a great and large church. Then let us reverently with devotion pray unto this glorious saint S. Rocke, that by his intercession and prayer we may be delivered from the hard death of pestilence and epidemic, and that we may so live in this life and be penitent for our sins, that after this short life we may come unto everlasting life in heaven. Amen. The feast of S. Rocke is always holden on the morn after the day of the Assumption of our Lady, which life is translated out of Latin into English by me, William Caxton.

Delores Cannon: Jesus and the Essenes

Delores Cannon offers information about the historical Jesus Christ based on material that she obtained from subjects under hypnosis.

Cannon claimed that certain subjects could enter into a very deep trance state, equivalent to somnambulism. In this state, they would remember their past lives. Cannon said that for these subjects,  under hypnosis they are not engaged in normal past-life regression but rather in a kind of time travel. Subjects under deep hypnosis could forget entirely their current life roles and lose consciousness of their contemporary identities. Instead, they would assume the identity of an earlier incarnation of their souls.

Through one such subject, Cannon gained information about the life of Jesus from a subject who had been a member of the Essenes, a Jewish sect that is probably responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In this post I will not attempt to assess the legitimacy of Cannon’s claims. Can channeled material under trance genuinely serve as a valid historical source? The claim is rather incredible and contravenes normal standards of historical proof.  Nevertheless, the claim may prove to be valid, either completely or in a limited sense.

Apart from the validity of channeled information as an historical source, Cannon’s work on Jesus serves another beneficial function.  Her presentation of Jesus and the Essenes offers us a renewed imagination for the life of Jesus.

Certainly, the New Testament record provides only a partial look at Jesus Christ and his times. Cannon’s material proposes to fill in some of the gaps in the record. The world of Jesus and the New Testament comes alive with a new vividness.  We get a picture of Jesus’s times, culture, and possible spiritual influences. Our imagination for history and for the life of Jesus is thus enriched.

For more on the Essenes, see: The Essenes

Here is an interview withe Delores Cannon on the topic. There are several more talks by her that are available on youtube, too.

The Law of One (the Ra Material): Channeling in the Name of Jesus Christ

Hello Lightworkers,

An essential attribute of the lightworker, quite often, is a willingness to explore and a commitment to trust one’s own direct access to spiritual intuition or knowledge. The phenomenon of channeling — which is repudiated by some Christians, as being untrustworthy or even of the devil– is embraced by others. (For more on this, see: Lightworker : Definition, Controversies and Historical Jesus – Lightworker).

Some channels claim to channel Jesus himself. Others call upon Jesus for protection, while they channel.

I came across an interesting reference to channeling in the name of Jesus Christ, during a recent interview with Jim McCarty. McCarty was one of the circle responsible for channeling the Law of One, also known as the Ra Material.  Kevin Moore, of the Moore Show, is putting on a documentary about channeling. His interview with McCarty is thought provoking.  (See: Moore Show).

Alongside Jim McCarty, another in the channeling circle, responsible for the Ra Material,  was Carla L. Rueckert, who had been married to Jim until she passed away a couple of years ago.

According to Jim McCarty, in this interview, Carla held that it is quite easy to channel, since many spiritual entities are willing to make contact and to establish communication with a person who is open and receptive. However, not all entities or spirits are trustworthy. In order to test the spirits, Carla used to ask three times, “Do you come in the name of Jesus Christ?”. If a spirit could pass muster by this test, she would make herself receptive to the spiritual message.

For Carla, as reported by her husband Jim, the name of Jesus Christ signified her highest spiritual commitment and ideals; he speaks about this topic, in the interview with Kevin Moore, from minute 19:30 to 22:15–see link below.  Jesus Christ embodies a spiritual ideal and example, for which the disciple is willing to live or to die. Thus, as a channel and Christian disciple, Carla maintained her faith in Jesus Christ and even solicited the approval, as to channelled contents, from clergy of the Episcopal Church to which she belonged.

Interestingly, the test to which Carla put the spirits, by asking whether they come in the name of Jesus Christ, is reminiscent of the prayer and spiritual practices of the Desert Fathers and Mothers in late antiquity.  In their asceticism and solitary prayer, they would confront various spirits and test them in the name of Jesus Christ.  It was the name of Jesus Christ which could banish even the devil.

See, for instance, the Life of St. Antony the Great by Athanasius, ch. 40: “Once a demon exceeding high appeared with pomp, and dared to say, “I am the power of God and I am Providence, what dost thou wish that I shall give thee?” But I then so much the more breathed upon him, and spoke the name of Christ, and set about to smite him. And I seemed to have smitten him, and forthwith he, big as he was, together with all his demons, disappeared at the name of Christ.” (You may find the Life of St Antony the Great in PDF: Life of St Antony).

Channeling, for some channels, is not so different from ancient mystical prayer.

Here is a copy of Book One of the Ra Material: The Law of One : Book One.

Cannibalism – Jesus movement

Gospel of John #37  : Text of passage (6:60-71) is reproduced below

After Jesus claims in John 6 that his own body (flesh) and his blood must be ingested, in order for people to gain eternal life, many are aghast at this claim.  John’s Gospel likely reflects the charges, against early Christians, of human sacrifice, combined with cannibalism.

(Reproduced below is an excerpt from an article about this stereotyped accusation, which was directed against Christians in the early period. The counter-accusation, in turn, alleged the same vulgarity of pagans in their religious rituals. You will find, too, a link to the entire article by J. Rives, a Roman historian. See also the link to a contemporary article about religious rituals and cannibalism).

The Gospel counters this charge by the suggestion that the life of God is Spirit not flesh (v.63). Thus, cannibalism does not pertain to God. Because Jesus embodies God, he will not die but instead ascend (v. 62). Furthermore, those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, based on his works (e.g. miracles) and teachings, will ascertain the truth of his words, which are filled with spirit and life (v.63).

Only a few can understand this strange claim about Jesus’s stature and mission, which (to outsiders) entails cannibalism. Those who do understand that Jesus’s life is divine, and his mission bestowed directly by God, continue to follow him. For, as Peter recognizes, “You have the words of eternal life” (v.68b).

The idea that a man’s own body must be eaten — as flesh and blood — does sound bizarre and repulsive. It is only if we accept the theological claim of the Gospel of John that the idea may become palatable. For by “eating”  the bread of heaven, and drinking the blood of God, we do not eat human flesh like cannibals. Instead, we partake directly in God’s Spirit, which offers freedom, eternal life, and Love.

Question: If you were among the original audience for this speech, what would your reaction have been? 

Early Christians accused of human sacrifice and cannibalism


(excerpt, introduction for complete article see: Human Sacrifice Pagans and Early Christians through JSTOR — copy may be downloaded for free through public library databases) 

In Minucius Felix’ dialogue on the value of Christianity, written in the late second or early third century C.E.,1 the character Caecilius, who presents the anti-Christian arguments, recounts a story about their initiations, ‘a story as loathsome as it is well known’: after the initiate has struck a baby concealed under a covering of flour, those present drink the blood from its wounds and so seal their union (Oct. 9.5). Later in the dialogue, Octavius, the defender of Christianity, refutes this slander. The alleged crime, he argues, is so terrible that ‘no one could believe it except the sort of person who would attempt it’. He goes on to point out that pagans, not Christians, are the ones who practise actual human sacrifice. He supports his claim by citing specific examples: the Africans who used to sacrifice their children to Saturn, the Taurians and the Egyptian Busiris who sacrificed foreigners, the Gauls, and lastly the Romans themselves, who in the past would bury alive two Greeks and two Gauls and who in his own day sacrifice men to Jupiter Latiaris (Oct. 30. I) .

Although Caecilius describes the story he tells about the Christians as a notafabula, it is somewhat difficult to determine exactly how widely known it was. Virtually every Christian apologist between i so and 200 C.E. refers to the charge, but the evidence from the pagan side is much less extensive.2 After investigating the activities of Christians in Bithynia, the younger Pliny notes in his report to Trajan that they gather together ‘to take food, food that is ordinary enough and harmless’ (Ep. X.96.7). The appended qualification suggests that in the i iOS Pliny had already heard some version of these stories, and took them seriously enough to make inquiries.3 Some years later, Fronto had heard enough about the charges to elaborate on them in a speech.4 Later still, the citizens of Lugdunum who instituted a persecution of local Christians in I77 C.E. were apparently convinced of their truth, since they tried thro torture to make one woman confess to such deeds (Eus., HE v. I.26). although the evidence is scanty, there is enough to suggest that at least some pagans both knew and believed these stories.

See Link: Cargo Cults Accused of Cannibalism

John 6: 60- 71

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.