Sunday, May 20, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS

RADIO VATICANA REPORT:
Pope Benedict XVI marked World Day for Social Communications. In comments after his Regina Caeli address he said: “Today we celebrate the World Day of Social Communications, on the theme "Silence and Word: a path of evangelisation.” Silence is an integral part of communication, it is a privileged place of encounter with the Word of God and our brothers and sisters. I invite all to pray so that communications, in all forms, always serve to establish a genuine dialogue with others, founded on mutual respect, listening and sharing”.

The theme for the 46th World Day for Social Communications was released earlier in January on the feast of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of Catholic journalists.

In the message, the value of silence is presented, not as a simple antidote to the constant flow of information which characterises today’s society, but as an essential tool to help us understand and welcome the Word of God into our lives.

In a reflection on this theme, Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, says since silence favours habits of discernment and reflection, we ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but in terms of the complementary nature of silence and words, which, when they are held in balance, serve to enrich the value of communication and make it a key factor in the service of the new evangelisation
SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA

EUROPE : STATEMENT ON LEAKED VATICAN DOCUMENTS

On Saturday, the Holy See press office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi released the following statement regarding the latest publication of confidential documents:
The latest publication of documents of the Holy See and private documents of the Holy Father can no longer be considered a questionable - and objectively defamatory - journalistic initiative, but clearly assumes the character of a criminal act.

The Holy Father, but also several of his collaborators and the senders of messages directed to him, have seen their rights to personal privacy and freedom of correspondence violated.

The Holy See will continue to explore the different implications of these acts of violation of the privacy and dignity of the Holy Father - as a person and as the supreme authority of the Church and Vatican City State - and will take appropriate steps so that the authors of the theft, those who received stolen property and those who disclosed confidential information, using illegally obtained private documents for commercial use, answer for their acts before the law. To this end, if necessary, the Holy See will seek international collaboration.

AMERICA : CANADA : CLOSE TO 20000 AT MARCH FOR LIFE

Canada's NATIONAL MARCH FOR LIFE 2012 gathered almost 20,000 people at the nation's capitol on Parliament Hill on Thursday, May 10. Most of the participants were under 30 years old. Police barracaded the area as marchers made their way through the streets carrying signs defending life from conception onwards.
Many Members of the Canadian Parliament were in attendence. One MP Stephen Woodworth, called for a Parliament Motion-312 to redefine a human being to include those in the womb.
There were many Catholic Hierarchy in attendance including Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Archbishop Terrence Prendergrast, Primate Cyprian Lacroix, Bishop Nicholas De Angelis, Bishop Noel Simard, Bishop Michael Mulhall and others. Also in attendence was the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada president Bruce Clemenger. There were three Masses held in the Cathedral, St. Patrick's and another parish.

AUSTRALIA : MASS FOR SCHOENSTATT COMMUNITY

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE:
May 2012
ON SATURDAY 12 May, Bishop Peter Elliott celebrated Mass for the Schoenstatt Community at the Pallotine Centre, Kew. The celebration marked the sixtieth anniversary of Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s blessing of the Schoenstatt chapel, built in the grounds of the Pallottine Centre.
Schoenstatt, which means ‘a beautiful place’ is a movement of renewal within the Catholic Church which was founded in Germany in 1914 by Fr Joseph Kentenich.
In his homily, Bishop Elliott paid tribute Fr Kentenich’s spiritual vision, and to members of the movement.
“Through their lives and their wise counsel, these members of the Schoenstatt family have shown me how well Fr Kentenich anticipated, indeed directly influenced, the emphasis of the Second Vatican Council on the essential mission of lay Catholics, working with their priests and religious, to evangelise in the modern world,” he said.
Read Bishop Elliott's homily
Schoenstatt Bishop Elliott said the Schoenstatt movement had much to offer contemporary Australia “where we need strong and active Catholics to meet the new challenges of aggressive secularism, indifference, materialism and unbelief.”
I thought I would add at the end: contact details and this information based on the website:
The Schoenstatt chapel at Kew was dedicated to the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt on 11 May, 1952. It’s design is inspired by the original Schoenstatt Shrine in Germany, where Fr Kentenich and a small group of students entered into a covenant of love with Mary.
The Shrine is owned by the Pallottine Fathers and is the spiritual home of the growing Schoenstatt Family in Melbourne. The Schoenstatt Family gathers on the third Saturday of each month at 3-4pm at the Shrine.
For more information about the Schoenstatt movement: www.schoenstatt.org.au
Homily: THE SCHOENSTATT FAMILY, UNDER MARY’S MANTLE
Bishop Peter J. Elliott
Today we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the day when Archbishop Daniel Mannix blessed this Schoenstatt chapel, built with so much love in the grounds of the Pallottine Centre, Kew. This is one of many chapels that make up the symbolic heart of the Schoenstatt Movement around the world.
The spiritual vision of one man, guided by the Holy Spirit, is the source of the Schoenstatt communities. Born in 1885 near Cologne, Father Joseph Kentenich followed God’s call to priesthood in the Pallottine congregation. Early in the last century, living in the heart of Europe, this brilliant priest and teacher could see the need to form spiritually committed and active laity, clergy and religious in a world that was about to enter many changes and massive social upheavals.
On October 18, 1914, when enthusiasm for the first World War had engulfed his nation, he gathered his students around him not to rejoice in a disastrous nationalism, but to make “a covenant of love with Our Lady” In the chapel at Shoenstatt there began the world-wide Schoenstatt Movement, forming and guiding priests, religious and laity, men and women, young people and especially families to be at the heart of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, which is the Holy Catholic Church.
My first contact with the Schoenstatt Movement was through a remarkable German couple, Norbert and Renate Martin, members of the chosen group of married couples in the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family. At the time, 1987, I had just begun service in the Curia in the Pontifical Council. I soon came to recognize the strong spirituality of Norbert and Renate, their commitment and clear intellectual grasp of the role of a spiritual apostolate in today’s world. More recently I have come to know as a friend and colleague, Sister Isabel Neuman, a Schoenstatt sister who is member of the Faculty of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, of which I am Director.
Through their lives and their wise counsel, these members of the Schoenstatt family have shown me how well Fr. Kentenich anticipated, indeed directly influenced, the emphasis of the Second Vatican Council on the essential mission of lay Catholics, working with their priests and religious, to evangelize in the modern world.
Fr. Joseph Kentenich lived to see the Council, and was he was recognized by Pope Paul VI. He died three years after the Council in 1968, appropriately on September 15, feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. We pray that the cause of his beatification will have a speedy outcome.
Today we celebrate not only his vision, but the movement he founded. Would that it were better known in Australia, where we need strong and active Catholics to meet the new challenges of aggressive secularism, indifference, materialism and unbelief.
Such a witness is not without suffering. Fr. Kentenich knew sufferings in his own life. Two world wars devastated his own nation. He suffered under the terror and oppression of the Third Reich. After the War he was even subject to church discipline which seemed to separate him from the great work he founded. Yet all the while he trusted in God, accepted God’s Will and knew that he was beneath the mantle of Mary, Queen of Schoenstatt. Today we renew our commitment beneath the mantle of her loving care. As she holds her divine Son in her arms, so she holds us as the Mother of the Church.
In this Easter Season we look to her risen Son. In Jesus Christ the Lord we see suffering transformed into joy, death into life, despair into hope, doubt into faith. As the Year of Grace proclaimed by the Bishops of Australia is about to begin at Pentecost, I invite all members of the Schoenstatt family to seek the amazing grace of God, not only for yourselves but for all those families and friends you know and love, placing us all under the mantle of the gentle Queen of Schoenstatt.

AFRICA : DEM. REP. OF CONGO : BISHOPS URGES CONGRESS RE : SEC

CISA NEWS REPORT:
Bishop Lola
TSHUMBE, May 18, 2012 (CISA) -Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has urged the US Congress to continue to support laws that promote transparency among companies that mine in the DR Congo and to “resist watering down Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations to half measures that may save money, but cost lives.”
Bishop Lola gave testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sponsored Bishop Djomo Lola’s participation in the hearing, entitled ‘The Costs and Consequences of Dodd-Frank Section 1502: Impacts on America and the Congo,’ Catholic Relief Services (CRS) coordinated the trip.
Speaking not as a businessman or a financial expert but as “a religious leader, who is deeply disturbed by the terrible violence and suffering that has dominated life in Eastern Congo since 1996,” Bishop Djomo Lola said: “This violence has destroyed families, villages and communities. One prominent driver of the violence is illicit mining conducted by the many armed groups in Eastern Congo. To protect our people from the misery of minerals, the Church in the Congo publicly supported the passage of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.”
According to CRS, Bishop Djomo Lola expressed the hope that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will publish rules that will be rigorous enough to ensure that companies and consumers do not participate, inadvertently or not, in commerce that has led to suffering and thousands of deaths.
He added: “The Church in the Congo trusts that the business community can and will join us to protect the life and human dignity of the Congolese people by conducting legal, transparent and accountable international commerce. We are confident that they do not want to be part of the misery that has plagued Eastern Congo for years.”

ASIA : PAKISTAN : CHRISTIAN GIRL KIDNAPPED - FORCED CONVERSION TO ISLAM

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Shafique Khokhar
To date, the police refuses to liberate the girl, despite the repeated requests of the family. Mary Salik (fictitious name) was kidnapped last May 4 near Faisalabad by an uncle who had converted to Islam. The girl's father denounces conspiracy against his family: "My daughter has heart problems and was kidnapped by deception".


Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The family of Mary Salik (fictional name for security reasons) asks for justice for the 14 year old Christian girl, kidnapped last May 4 in Ali (Faisalabad, Punjab) and forced to convert to Islam. The author of the kidnapping is the uncle of the girl, who embraced Islam about a year ago and since then ended all contact with the family of origin. He kidnapped the young girl to marry her off with his son Kashif. The wedding was celebrated on 7 May.

The girl's father, told AsiaNews that "my daughter is only 14 years old and suffers from the birth from heart problems and can not do heavy work. After converting my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception ".

Immediately after the seizure, the father of the young Christian girl turned to local police and demanded the immediate release of his daughter, but the agents refused to return Mary to her family. According to police, the girl converted of her own free will and submitted as evidence a written statement in which the girl says to "be mature and have embraced Islam without coercion or threats."

To get their daughter back, the parents decided to find a compromise with the help of some influential people in the area and have filed a petition against the police officers.

Fr. Bonnie Mendes, priest and activist, former secretary of the Pakistan National Commission for Justice and Peace, speaks of the abuses suffered by the Christian community. "Although we are free to pray - he says - and to practice our religion, we are threatened when we try to defend our rights." The priest denounces the problem of cases of forced conversions to Islam of young Christians, which together with the blasphemy law is one of the most severe violations of religious freedom to the detriment of minorities. For Fr. Mendes Mary's case is against the teachings of Islam. In fact, those who want to convert require an iddat, a discernment period that must last at least three months. However, due to ignorance, illiteracy and social injustice, most Muslims do not observe this rule.

Each month between 25 and 30 young girls suffer similar abuses, for a yearly total of about 300 conversions and forced marriages. Hindu girls - but also Christian - who are torn from the family while very young and delivered into the hands of their husbands / torturers. One case recently made headlines when the Pakistani Supreme Court forced three young Hindu women to return to their Muslim husbands, despite the desire of the young girls to return to their family. The young women were kidnapped in February, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. On March 26 Rinkle Kumari, one of the girls, told the judges of the Court that there "is no justice in this country only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] ... they will kill us. " The other two young girls, Lata and Asha, had expressed, in vain, the desire to be reunited with their families.

HOLY SPIRIT NOVENA DAY 3 FOR PENTECOST


HOLY SPIRIT NOVENA DAY 3 FOR PENTECOST
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY GHOST

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.
The Gift of Piety
The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.
Prayer
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen
(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)




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TODAY'S MASS ONLINE ASCENSION SUNDAY MAY 20, 2012

Acts 1: 1 - 11
1 In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,
2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
3 To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me,
5 for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama'ria and to the end of the earth."
9 And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
Psalms 47: 2 - 3, 6 - 9
2 For the LORD, the Most High, is terrible, a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted! --
Ephesians 1: 17 - 23
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might
20 which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come;
22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church,
23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.
Mark 16: 15 - 20
15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 20 : ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena
FRANCISCAN PREACHER AND MISSIONARY
Feast: May 20


Information:
Feast Day:May 20
Born:1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
Died: 1444, Aquila, Italy
Canonized:24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
Patron of:advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work;
St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.

At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbernadineofsiena.asp#ixzz1vQNR64Mu