Thursday, May 19, 2016

Saint May 20 St. Bernardine of Siena - Patron of #Gamblers and #Advertisers

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 Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

#PopeFrancis "May the Lord make us understand today the simplicity that Jesus speaks..." #Homily


(Vatican Radio) Exploiting the working people to enrich oneself is like sucking blood; it’s a mortal sin. That was the message of Pope Francis during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
The rich who suck the blood of the poor
The day’s first reading, taken from the Letter of Saint James, is a forceful warning to the rich who accumulate wealth by exploiting the people. “Riches in themselves are good,” the Pope explained, but they are “relative, not absolute” goods. He criticized the so-called “theology of prosperity”— according to which “God shows you that you are just if He give you great riches,” saying those who follow it are mistaken. The problem lies in being attached to wealth, because, as the Pope recalled, “You cannot serve both God and riches.” These become “chains” that “take away the freedom to follow Jesus.” In the reading, St James writes, “Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”
When riches are created by exploiting the people, by those rich people who exploit [others], they take advantage of the work of the people, and those poor people become slaves. We think of the here and now, the same thing happens all over the world. “I want to work.” “Good, they’ll make you a contract, from September to June.” Without a pension, without health care… Then they suspend it, and in July and August they have to eat air. And in September, they laugh at you about it. Those who do that are true bloodsuckers, and they live by spilling the blood of the people who they make slaves of labour.
The exploitation of labour is a mortal sin
Pope Francis recalled how a young girl once told him about having found a job, working 11 hours a day for 650 euro a month, under the table. And they told her, “If that’s ok with you, take it; if not, get lost. There’s nothing else!” There’s a line of people waiting to take the job. These rich people, he said, “grow fat on their riches”—but the Apostle warns: “You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” “The blood of all these people that you have sucked,” and on which “you have lived, is a cry to the Lord, it is a cry of justice. The exploitation of the people,” the Pope said, “today is truly a form of slavery.” We might think, he continued, "that slaves no longer exist: they exist. It’s true, people no longer go to Africa to capture them in order to sell them in America, no. But it is in our cities. And there are these traffickers, these people who treat the working people without justice.”
Yesterday, in the Audience, we meditated on the rich glutton and Lazarus. But, this rich man was in his own world, he didn’t realize that on the other side of the door of his house, there was someone who was starving. But this is worse. That rich man, at least, did not realize, and left the other man to die of hunger. But this is worse. This is starving the people with their work for my own profit! Living on the blood of the people. And this is a mortal sin. This is a mortal sin. And this demands a great deal of penance, a great deal of restitution, in order to be converted from this sin.
The funeral of the miser
The Pope also told the story of the death of a miser. The people joked: “The funeral was ruined,” they said. “They couldn’t close the coffin,” because “he wanted to take all that he had with him, and he couldn’t.” “No one can take their riches with them,” the Pope said.
We consider this drama of today: the exploitation of the people, the blood of these people who become slaves, the traffickers of people—and not just those who deal in prostitutes and children for child labour, but that trafficking we might call “civilized”: “I’ll pay you this much, without vacation, without health care, without… everything under the table… But I will become rich!” May the Lord make us understand today the simplicity that Jesus speaks to us of in the Gospel of today: a glass of water in the name of Christ is more important than all the riches accumulated through the exploitation of the people. 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday May 19, 2016


Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 344


Reading 1JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Responsorial PsalmPS 49:14-15AB, 15CD-16, 17-18, 19-20

R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
This is the way of those whose trust is folly,
the end of those contented with their lot:
Like sheep they are herded into the nether world;
death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Quickly their form is consumed;
the nether world is their palace.
But God will redeem me
from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

AlleluiaSEE 1 THES 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

Saint May 19 St. Crispin of Viterbo - #Franciscan Lay Brother - Died 1750

St. Crispin of Viterbo
FRANCISCAN LAY BROTHER
Feast: May 19


Information:
Feast Day:May 19
Born:13 November 1668, Viterbo
Died:19 May 1750, Rome
Canonized:20 June 1982 by Pope John Paul II
Friar Minor Capuchin; b. at Viterbo in 1668; d. at Rome, 19 May, 1750. When he was five years old, his pious mother took him to a sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin, a short distance from Viterbo, where she consecrated him to the Mother of God and placed him under her special protection. The child grew beyond his years in virtue and science of the saints; so that the townsfold of Viterbo were wont to call him il Santarello, the little saint. As Crispin one day saw the Capuchin novices walking in procession, God inspired him with the desire to embrace the religious life. He was shortly afterwards received into the Franciscan Order as a simple lay brother. Having been employed for some time as cook in the convent at Viterbo, he was sent to Tolfa, a town not far distant from Civita Becchia, to fulfil the same office. Thence he was sent to Rome and finally to Albano. Here Crispin was visited by the men of the world, by bishops and cardinals, and even by the pope himself, who always took delight in conversing with the humble lay brother. It was Crispin's constant endeavour to imitate the virtues of his patron, St. Felix of Cantalice, whom he had chosen as his model of perfection at the beginning of his religious life. Like St. Felix, he used to call himself the ass or beat of burden of the Capuchins, and, having on one occasion been asked by a stranger why he went bare-headed, Crispin answered jocosely, that "an ass does not wear a hat." Enfeebled by old age and by his numerous austerities, he was sent to Rome by his superiors, there to end his holy life. His body, which even at the present time is still in a remarkable state of preservation, rests under one of the side altars in the church of the Capuchin Fathers in Rome. Blessed Crispin was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius VII in 1806. His feast is celebrated only by the Capuchins.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#PopeFrancis "I ask God to grant peace and prosperity to all your fellow citizens." to #Ambassadors FULL TEXT -Video


Pope Francis on Thursday received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors to the Holy See from Estonia, Malawi, Namibia, the Seychelles, Thailand and Zambia. In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis reflected with Ambassadors Väino Reinart of Estonia, Michael Barth Kamphambe Nkhoma of Malawi, Andreas B. D. Guibeb of Namibia, Thomas Selby Pillay of the Seychelles, Nopadol Gunavibool of Thailand, and Muyeba Shichapwa Chikonde of Zambia, on the concrete reminder of our common humanity that diplomatic service provides, and upon mindfulness of which effective diplomatic activity depends.  
Full text of the remarks the Holy Father prepared for the occasion, in their official English translation.
**************************************
Your Excellencies,
I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters by which you are accredited as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of your countries to the Holy See: Estonia, Malawi, Namibia, the Seychelles, Thailand and Zambia.  I thank you for the greetings you conveyed to me on behalf of your respective Heads of State and, in return, I would ask you to assure them of my prayers and best wishes.  I ask God to grant peace and prosperity to all your fellow citizens.
Your presence here today is a poignant reminder that, though our nationalities, cultures and religious beliefs may be different, we are united by our common humanity and a shared mission to care for society and creation.  This service has taken on a particular urgency, as so many in our world are suffering conflicts and war, forced migration and displacement, and the uncertainty born of economic hardship.  These problems demand not only that we reflect upon them and discuss them, but that we also express concrete signs of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in grave need.
For this service of solidarity to be effective, our efforts must be directed to the pursuit of peace, wherein each individual’s natural rights and integral human development are nurtured and guaranteed.  This task demands that we work together in an efficient and coordinated way, encouraging the members of our communities to become themselves artisans of peace, promoters of social justice and advocates of true respect for our common home.  This is increasingly difficult, for our world appears ever more fragmented and indifferent.  Many people isolate themselves from harsh realities.  They are afraid of terrorism and of a growing influx of migrants fundamentally changing their culture, economic stability and way of life.  These are fears which we understand and cannot dismiss lightly, yet they must be addressed in an intelligent and creative way, so that the rights and needs of all are respected and upheld.
For those suffering the tragedy of violence and forced migration, we must be resolute in making their plight known to the world community, so that as they lack the strength or ability to cry out, their voice may be heard in our own.  The path of diplomacy helps us to both amplify and convey this cry by seeking solutions to the many underlying causes of the conflicts of our day.  This applies especially in our efforts to remove weapons from those perpetrating violence, and to end the scourge of human trafficking and the drug trade which often support this evil. 
While our initiatives on behalf of peace should help people to remain in their homelands, this present hour urges us to assist migrants and those caring for them.  We must not allow misunderstanding and fear to weaken our resolve.  Rather, we are called to build a culture of dialogue, one which “enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to” (Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May 2016).  In this way, we will promote an integration which respects the traditions of migrants and preserves the culture of the community receiving them, all the while enriching both.  This is essential.  If misunderstanding and fear prevail something of ourselves dies, our cultures, history and traditions are weakened, and our own peace is compromised.  When on the other hand, we foster dialogue and solidarity, both individually and collectively, it is then that we experience the best of humanity and secure an enduring peace for all, as intended by our Creator.   
Dear Ambassadors, before concluding these reflections, I would like to express, through you, my fraternal greeting to the Pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries.  I encourage them always to be heralds of hope and peace.  I think especially of those Christian and minority communities suffering persecution for their beliefs; to them I renew my prayerful support and solidarity.  For its part, the Holy See is honoured to be able to strengthen with each of you and with the countries you represent an open and respectful dialogue and a constructive collaboration.  From this perspective, as your new mission is officially inaugurated, I express to you my best wishes, assuring you of the constant support of the various offices of the Roman Curia in carrying out your functions.  Upon each of you, your families and your colleagues, I invoke abundant divine blessings.

Saint May 19 St. Celestine V - #Pope - Died 1296

St. Celestine V
POPE
Feast: May 19


Information:
Feast Day:May 19
Born:1210 at Isneria, Abruzzi, Italy
Died:19 May 1296 in Ferentino, Italy
Canonized:1313
Humility raised this saint above the world, and preserved his soul free from its poison, both amidst its flatteries and under its frowns. He was born in Apulia about the year 1221. His parents were very virtuous, and charitable to the poor to the uttermost of their abilities. After his father's death, his mother, though she had eleven other sons, seeing his extraordinary inclination to piety, provided him with a literary education. His progress gave his friends great expectations; but he always considered that he had only one affair in this world, and that an affair of infinite importance, the salvation of his soul: that no security can be too great where an eternity is at stake: moreover, that the way to life is strait, the account which we are to give of all our actions and thoughts most rigorous, the judge infinitely just, and the issue either sovereign happiness or sovereign misery. He therefore made the means, by which he might best secure to himself that bliss for which alone he was created, his constant study. An eremitical state is only the vocation of souls, which are already perfect in the exercises of penance and contemplation. Peter had made the practice of both familiar to him from his tender years; and by a long noviceship was qualified for such a state, to which he found himself strongly inclined. Therefore at twenty years of age he left the schools, and retired to a solitary mountain, where he made himself a little cell under ground, but so small that he could scarce stand or lie down in it. Here he lived three years in great austerities, during which he was often assailed by violent temptations; but these he overcame by the help of such practices and austerities as the grace of God suggested to him. Notwithstanding the care he took to sequester himself from the world, he was discovered, and some time after compelled to enter into holy orders. He was ordained priest at Rome; but in 1246 returned into Abruzzo, and lived five years in a cave on mount Morroni, near Sulmona. He received great favors from heaven, the usual recompense of contemplative souls who have crucified their affections to this world: but then they are purchased through severe interior trials; and with such Peter was frequently visited. He was also molested with nocturnal illusions during his sleep, by which he was almost driven to despair, insomuch that he durst not say mass, and once determined to abandon his solitude; but was encouraged by the advice of a religious man, his confessor, who assured him that it was no more than a stratagem of the enemy, by which he could not be hurt if he despised it. For further satisfaction, he determined to go to Rome to consult the pope on that subject, and received great comfort by a vision he was favored with on the road; a certain holy abbot lately deceased appearing to him, who gave him the same counsel, and ordered him to return to his cell and offer every day the holy sacrifice, which he accordingly did. The wood on his mountain being cut down in 1251, he with two companions removed to mount Magella. There, with the boughs of trees and thorns, these three servants of God made themselves a little enclosure and cells, in which they enjoyed more solid pleasure than the great ones of the world can find in their stately palaces and gardens. The devil sometimes endeavored to disturb them; but they triumphed over his assaults. Many others were desirous to put themselves under his direction; but the saint alleged his incapacity to direct others. However, his humility was at length overcome, and he admitted those who seemed the most fervent.

Peter spent always the greatest part of the night in prayer and tears which he did not interrupt, while he was employed in the day in corporal labor or in copying books. His body he always treated as a most dangerous domestic enemy. He never ate flesh; he fasted every day except Sunday. He kept four lents in the year, during three of which, and on all Fridays, he took nothing but bread and water, unless it were a few cabbage leaves in lieu of bread. The bread which he used was so hard, that it could only be chopped in pieces. His austerities were excessive, till he was admonished in a vision not to destroy that body which his duty to God required him to support. If the Holy Ghost sometimes conducted the saints by extraordinary paths, we must learn from their fervor the condemnation of our sloth, who dare undertake nothing for the sake of virtue, and who shrink often under indispensable duties. St. Peter wore a shirt of horse-hair full of knots, and a chain of iron about his waist. He lay on the ground, or on a board, with a stone or log of wood for a pillow. It was his chiefest care always to nourish his soul with heavenly contemplation and prayer; yet he did not refuse to others the comfort of his spiritual succors. He gave advice, except on Wednesdays and Fridays, and during his rents, which he passed in inviolable silence. Finding his solitude too much disturbed, he went with some of his disciples to a cavern which was almost inaccessible on the top of mount Magella. This did but increase the ardor of others to pursue him. Wherefore he returned to mount Morroni, where many lived in scattered cells under his direction, till he assembled them in a monastery; and in 1271 obtained of pope Gregory X. the approbation of his religious order, under the rule of St. Bennet, which he restored to its primitive severity. The saint lived to see thirty-six monasteries, and six hundred monks and nuns; and this institute has been since propagated over all Europe, but is at present much mitigated.
Upon the death of Nicholas IV. the see of Rome continued vacant two years and three months, when the cardinals assembled at Perugia unanimously chose our saint for his successor, out of pure regard for his eminent sanctity. This election, on account of its disinterestedness, met with a general applause, and the saint seemed the only person afflicted on the occasion. He was indeed alarmed beyond measure at the news; and finding all the reasons he could allege for his declining the charge ineffectual, betook himself to flight in company with Robert, one of his monks, but was intercepted. He would gladly have engaged Robert still to attend him, but the good monk excused himself by an answer worthy of a disciple of the saint: "Compel me not," says he, "to throw myself upon your thorns. I am the companion of your flight, not of your exaltation." Peter thereupon dropped his request, and sighing before God, returned to Morroni, where the kings of Hungary and Naples, besides many cardinals and princes, waited for him. Thence he proceeded to the neighboring cathedral of Aquila, to be ordained bishop of Rome, being accompanied by the two kings, and an incredible number of princes and others; yet could not be prevailed upon to travel any other way than riding on an ass: he even thought it a great deal that he did not go on foot, as he desired to do. He was consecrated and crowned at Aquila on the 29th of August, taking the name of Celestine V., from an allusion to the Latin name of heaven, where he always dwelt in his heart: his monks have been distinguished by the name of Celestines ever since. Charles, king of Naples, persuaded him to go with him to his capital, to regulate certain ecclesiastical affairs of that kingdom, and to fill the vacant benefices. The new pope disgusted many of the cardinals by employing strangers in the conducting matters, the care of which had been usually intrusted to them. He was sometimes led by others into mistakes, which gave occasion to complaints, and increased his own scruples for having taken upon him so great a charge, to which he found himself unequal; especially on account of his want of experience in the world, and his not having studied the canon law. He continued his former austerities, and built himself a cell of boards in the midst of his palace, where he lived in solitude amidst the crowds which surrounded him, humble on the pinnacle of honor, and poor in the midst of riches. He shut himself up to spend the Advent in retirement, that he might prepare himself for Christmas, having committed the care of the church to three cardinals. This again was an occasion of fresh scruples, when he reflected that a pastor is bound himself to a personal attendance on the duties of his charge. These fears of conscience, the weight of his dignity, which he felt every day more and more insupportable, and the desire of enjoying himself in solitude, moved him at length to deliberate whether he might not resign his dignity. He consulted cardinal Benedict Cajetan, a person the best skilled in the canon law, and others, who agreed in their advice, that it was in the power of a pope to abdicate. When this became public, many vigorously opposed the motion; but no solicitations or motives could make the holy man alter his resolution. Wherefore, some days after, he held at Naples a consistory of the cardinals, at which the king of Naples and many others were present: before them he read the solemn act of his abdication, then laid aside his pontifical robes and ornaments, put on his religious habit, came down from his throne, and cast himself at the feet of the assembly, begging pardon for his faults, and exhorting the cardinals to repair them in the best manner they were able, by choosing a worthy successor to St. Peter. Thus, having sat in the chair four months, he abdicated the supreme dignity in the church, on the 13th of December, 1294, with greater joy than the most ambitious man could mount the throne of the richest empire in the world. This the cheerfulness of his countenance evidenced, no less than his words. Cardinal Benedict Cajetan, the ablest civilian and canonist of his age, was chosen in his place, and crowned at Rome on the 16th of January following.

Men, as it usually happens on such occasions, were divided in their sentiments with regard to this extraordinary action, of which we see a specimen in the writings of those great men who in that age began to restore at Florence the true taste of polite literature. Dante, who has stained his reputation with many blots in his moral and civil conduct, and his works with many falsities and unjust prepossessions, ascribes this cession of Celestine to pusillanimity. But this base censure is justly chastised by his country man Petrarch, who passed his unjust and glorious banishment at Vaucluse near Avignon, respected by the whole world, till he was courted by his fellow-citizens to honor his native country again with his presence, though he preferred to it a retirement to Papua. This great man, speaking of the abdication of our holy pope, says: "This action I call a sublime and heavenly fortitude, which he only possesses who knows the emptiness of all worldly dignities. The contempt of honors arises from a heroic courage, not from a want of that virtue; as the desire of them shows that a soul raiseth not herself above herself."

St. Celestine immediately stole away privately to his monastery of the Holy Ghost, at Morroni. But several who were offended at some acts of justice and necessary severity in the new pope, raised various reports, as if he had by ambition and fraud supplanted Celestine: others advanced that a pope could not resign his dignity. Boniface, moreover, was alarmed at the multitudes which resorted to Morroni to see Celestine, on account of the great reputation of his sanctity; and fearing he might be made a handle of by designing men, the consequence whereof might be some disturbance in the church, he entreated the king of Naples to send him to Rome. The saint, seeing that he could not be permitted to return to his cell, betook himself to flight, and put to sea, with a view to cross the Adriatic gulf; but was driven back by contrary winds into the harbor of Vieste, where he was secured by the governor, pursuant to an order of the king of Naples, and conducted to pope Boniface at Anagni. Boniface kept him some time in his own palace, often discoursing with him, that he might discover if he had ever consented to those that called his abdication null and invalid. The saint's unfeigned simplicity bearing evidence to the contrary, many advised the pope to set him at liberty, and send him to his monastery. But Boniface, alleging the danger of tumults and of a schism, confined him in the citadel of Fumone, nine miles from Anagni, under a guard of soldiers. The authors of the life of the saint say, that he there suffered many insults and hardships, which yet never drew from his mouth the least word of complaint. On the contrary, he sent word to Boniface, by two cardinals who came to see him, that he was content with his condition, and desired no other. He used to say, with wonderful tranquillity: "I desired nothing in the world but a cell; and a cell they have given me." He sang the divine praises almost without interruption, with two of his monks who were assigned him for his companions. On Whit-Sunday, in 1296, after he had heard mass with extraordinary fervor, he told his guards that he should die before the end of the week. He immediately sickened of a fever, and received extreme unction. Even in that dying condition he would never suffer a little straw to be strewed on the hard boards upon which he always lay, and prayed without interruption. On Saturday, the 19th of May, finishing the last psalm of lauds at those words, Let every spirit praise the Lord, he calmly closed his eyes to this world, and his soul passed to the company of the angels, he being seventy-five years old. During his ten months' imprisonment he never abated any thing of his ordinary austerities. Pope Boniface, with all the cardinals, performed his funeral obsequies at St. Peter's. His body was sumptuously buried at Ferentino; but was afterwards translated to Aquila, and is kept in the church of the Celestines near that city. Many miracles are authentically recorded of him, and he was canonized by Clement V., in 1313. Boniface fell into great calamities. Philip the Fair, Icing of France, who was his declared enemy, sent a body of troops, under the command of William Noggret, to support the conspiracy of Stephen and Chiarra Colonna against him, by whom he was made prisoner at Anagni. After much ill-treatment, he was rescued out of their hands by the Ursini from Rome; but died soon after of grief, in 1303.

A spirit of retirement, or a love of holy solitude and its exercises, and an habitual interior recollection, are essential to piety and a true Christian life. Some, by a particular call of God, dedicate themselves to his service in a state of perfect solitude, in which the first motive may be self-defence of preservation. In the world, snares are laid everywhere for us, and its lusts often endeavor to court and betray us, and the torrent of its example, or the violence of its persecutions, to drive and force us into death. Whoever, therefore, prudently fears that he is not a match for so potent an enemy, may, nay sometimes ought, to retire from the world. This is not to decline the service of God or man, but sin and danger: it is not to prefer ease and security before industry and labor, but before a rash presumption and a fatal overthrow. But entire solitude is a safer state only to those who are animated with such a love and esteem for all its exercises as give an assurance of their constant fervor in them; also who seriously cultivate interior solitude of mind, and will never suffer it to gad abroad after the objects of worldly affairs, vanities, or pleasures: lastly, whose souls are free from envy, emulation, ambition, desire of esteem, and all other busy and turbulent passions, which cannot fail by desires and hankerings to discompose the mind, and muddy the pure stream, and adulterate the relish of a retired life. The soul must be reduced to its native purity and simplicity, before it will be able to taste the blessings of true liberty, of regular devotion, and elevated meditation.

Secondly: An indication that God designs certain persons for retirement, is the discovery of talents fitted for this state rather than for any public station. For there are active and contemplative gifts. Those who are destined by heaven to a retired life, in it become most eminently serviceable to the world,  by proving excellent examples of innocence, and the perfect spirit of every Christian virtue, and by their prayers and continual pure homages of praise and thanksgivings to God, from which others may reap far more valuable benefits than from the labors of the learned or the bountiful alms of the rich. Thus the world never loses a member, but enjoys Its service in its proper place, and the most effectual manner, says an ingenious Protestant writer; who adds, that such a one retires not from the world to avoid its service, but its fooleries.

Thirdly: The same author observes, that the main end of retirement ought always to be to dedicate ourselves entirely to God by the exercises of compunction and holy contemplation. This may be easily demonstrated both from reason and religion, and from the examples of so many illustrious saints. Retirement is recommended by particular motives to persons who, after going through the station of a public life, are at liberty to embrace it in order to fit themselves for eternity. Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler##