- Saturday, 13 June 2015 09:15
God has given us a saint that is more important merely a person who finds loss items. Saint Anthony of Padua is really the model of being pure of heart. A rare virtue these days.
The liturgical memory of Saint Anthony of Padua (1191/5-1231), recalls for us that one of the most renowned Franciscans of history can be real, humble and call all to greater freedom in Christ. No one was immune to the preaching of Anthony: even the fish were converted to the Lord. The record gives us:
Historically, he was baptized Ferdinand into a family of knights in Lisbon, Portugal, then on the frontiers between the Christian and Muslim cultures, he entered the canons regular of St. Augustine as a young man, first stationed in Lisbon and then in Coimbra, where he received an excellent education in the Scriptures. The Friars Minor arrived in Portugal in 1217, and Ferdinand, inspired by five friars who were martyred in Morocco in 1220, joined them, taking the name Anthony after the small Franciscan hermitage outside Coimbra. He ended up in Italy, and within a few years, became a noted preacher in Northern Italy and in Southern France. Given permission by Saint Francis to teach theology to the friars, in 1227 he became provincial minister of Northern Italy and developed a strong association with the city of Padua. His preaching made a strong link between conversion to the Gospel and social justice. He died on this day in 1231 and was canonized the following year.
A thought from Saint Anthony’s homily for the Fifth Sunday after Easter. “Brothers and sisters, let us pray that the Lord Jesus Christ pour his grace into us by means of which we ask for and receive the fullness of true joy. May he ask the Father for us; may he grant us true religion so that we may merit to come to the kingdom of eternal life.”
For a more detailed popular biography click on this link.
If you look at the picture you’ll notice that Saint Anthony holds the lily, the symbol of purity of heart. The presence of the Christ child in the saint’s scripture book is meant to indicate that Saint Anthony discovered the living Christ in the pages of Scripture.
- Saturday, 09 May 2015 08:33
Today, the Church and the Franciscans celebrate the memory of Saint Catherine Vigri of Bologna (1413-1463). Catherine was born to an aristocratic family of Bologna; Catherine spent most of her early life in the city of Ferrara as a lady-in-waiting at the court where her father was ambassador. She Catherine received a good education, yet she decided to leave the court to join a community of women in 1426; in the early 1430’s, she and some other members of the group decided to adopt the Rule of St. Clare.
By 1456, she returned to her home city to found a Poor Clare monastery. Catherine was known for her deep union with God and practical wisdom. Her incorrupt body may be viewed the a seated position, reflecting her role as a spiritual teacher.
Pope Benedict XVI commented on Catherine’s most well-known work, the “Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons” in which she teaches that to combat evil it is necessary: “(1) to be careful always to do good; (2) to believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves; (3) to trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves; (4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions.”
- Saturday, 02 May 2015 10:10
Not long ago someone asked me for a prayer to the Secular Franciscan Blessed Angela Salawa. She read a blog post I did on Blessed Angela and wanted more. Here is a prayer asking for Blessed Angela’s intercession. The translation is from the Polish done by a Capuchin friar friend:
Triune God, I give you glory, praise and love for all the graces, which You willed to bestow upon Blessed Angela Salawa, and I beg You, if it is according to Your will, grant that through her intercession You grant me the grace of ….. of which I humbly beg. Look upon the spirit of sacrifice and dedication Your servant, Blessed Angela Salawa, had for others and allow her to be my advocate before Thy throne in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Thursday, 14 August 2014 18:39
“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”
A while ago I when I visited the death camps in Poland I had the opportunity to visit the prison cell of Kolbe. Walking into the cell where the saint lived his last days was intense. It was the first time I could connect the dots of how the confrontation of evil and good can happen, and how one can completely follow Christ in a concrete and meaningful way. The sacrifice of this Franciscan priest for the good of a married man and father is a striking example of how we can take up our cross today for the good of another person: be Christ-like.
- Tuesday, 15 July 2014 18:40
Today’s feast of the great Franciscan friar, theologian, bishop and Doctor of the Church, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1221-1274), ought to be key on anyone’s radar screen is styles him or herself as well-read in theology. Famously he was cured of illness through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was well-educated at the University of Paris where he became a popular preacher and teacher of theology and Scripture. For 17 years he guided the Franciscan fraternity and is known as a “second founder” of the Franciscans.
The pope nominated Bonaventure a bishop which he declined only to accept the papal honor of cardinal-bishop of Albano.
Dale M. Coulter wrote a very good appreciative of essay on Bonaventure: “On the Feast Day of St Bonaventure” (First Things online, July 15, 2014). I recommend it if you are serious about the study of sacred theology.