Sunday, November 3, 2013


CATHOLIC ONLINE SOURCE: Charles was the son of Count Gilbert Borromeo and Margaret Medici, sister of Pope Pius IV. He was born at the family castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore, Italy on October 2. He received the clerical tonsure when he was twelve and was sent to the Benedictine abbey of SS. Gratian and Felinus at Arona for his education.
In 1559 his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV and the following year, named him his Secretary of State and created him a cardinal and administrator of the see of Milan. He served as Pius' legate on numerous diplomatic missions and in 1562, was instrumental in having Pius reconvene the Council of Trent, which had been suspended in 1552. Charles played a leading role in guiding and in fashioning the decrees of the third and last group of sessions. He refused the headship of the Borromeo family on the death of Count Frederick Borromeo, was ordained a priest in 1563, and was consecrated bishop of Milan the same year. Before being allowed to take possession of his see, he oversaw the catechism, missal, and breviary called for by the Council of Trent. When he finally did arrive at Trent (which had been without a resident bishop for eighty years) in 1556, he instituted radical reforms despite great opposition, with such effectiveness that it became a model see. He put into effect, measures to improve the morals and manners of the clergy and laity, raised the effectiveness of the diocesan operation, established seminaries for the education of the clergy, founded a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children and encouraged the Jesuits in his see. He increased the systems to the poor and the needy, was most generous in his help to the English college at Douai, and during his bishopric held eleven diocesan synods and six provincial councils. He founded a society of secular priests, Oblates of St. Ambrose (now Oblates of St. Charles) in 1578, and was active in preaching, resisting the inroads of protestantism, and bringing back lapsed Catholics to the Church. He encountered opposition from many sources in his efforts to reform people and institutions.
He died at Milan on the night of November 3-4, and was canonized in 1610. He was one of the towering figures of the Catholic Reformation, a patron of learning and the arts, and though he achieved a position of great power, he used it with humility, personal sanctity, and unselfishness to reform the Church, of the evils and abuses so prevalent among the clergy and the nobles of the times. His feast day is November 4th.


(Vatican Radio) At his Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel account of the conversion of Zacchaeus. 

The Holy Father recalled that Zacchaeus, a man “short in stature,” because he was a publican “was a lost sheep, despised, an ‘excommunicate’ . . . a friend of the hated Roman occupiers, a thief and an exploiter.” 

Nonetheless, although he was far away from Jesus, he climbed a tree in order to be able to see the Master as He passed by. Although it seemed ridiculous, the Pope said, “this exterior act expressed the interior act of a man who sought to bring himself beyond the crowd to come into contact with Jesus.” Zacchaeus himself probably did not recognize the significance of his action, but Jesus, when He passed by, called him by name. “This man of short stature, rejected by all and far from Jesus, was like one lost in anonymity; but Jesus calls him, and his name has a significance full of allusions: Zacchaeus, in fact, means ‘God remembers.'” 

Jesus, calling Zacchaeus and going to his house, is criticised by the people of Jericho. Why, the Pope asked, with so many good people in Jericho, did Jesus go to the house of that publican? It was precisely because Zacchaeus was ‘lost.’

“There is no occupation or social condition,” Pope Francis said, “no sin or crime of any kind, that could erase from the memory and the heart of God even one of His children.” God is a Father, always keeping a watchful and loving vigil “to see reborn in the hearts of the child the desire to return home. And when He recognizes that desire, even simply stated, He is immediately close by, and with His forgiveness He makes the path of conversion and return easier.”

“Let's look at Zacchaeus, today, on the tree,” the Pope continued. “His is a ridiculous gesture, but it is an act of salvation. And I say to you: if you have a weight on your conscience, if you are ashamed of so many things that you’ve done, stop for a moment, do not panic. Think about the fact that that Someone is waiting for you because He has never stopped remembering you — and this Somone is your Father, it is God Who waits for you! Climb up, as did Zacchaeus, climb onto the tree of the desire of being forgiven. I will assure you that you will not be disappointed. Jesus is merciful and never grows tired of forgiving! Remember well, that’s the way Jesus is.”

“Brothers and sisters, let us also call upon the name Jesus!” Pope Francis said, concluding his Angelus address. “In the depths of the heart, let us listen to His voice that says to us: ‘Today I must stay at your house,’ that is in your life. And let us welcome Him with joy: He can change us, can transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, He can liberate us from selfishness and make our lives a gift of love.”