Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 05-20-13, OM, St. Bernadine of Siena, Priest
Posted on 05/19/2013 9:19:23 PM PDT by Salvation
From: Sirach 1:1-10
All Wisdom Comes from the Lord
God Imbues All His Work with Wisdom
1:1-16:23 Just as the Torah is made up of the five books of the Pentateuch, we
could say that the book of Ben Sirach also consists of five parts, over the course
of which the teacher distills his teaching. The first of these covers almost sixteen
chapters. It begins with kind, of doctrinal introduction dealing with the divine ori-
gin of Wisdom (1:1-2:18). Then (3:1-16:23) there follows a series of practical tea-
chings about a whole range of things to do with ordinary life—duties to parents
(3:1-16), solidarity with others (4:1-10), human virtues (3:l7-29; 4:25-6:1). As a
kind of refrain, every now and then we get exhortations about the need to be pru-
dent and to acquire true wisdom.
1:1-2:21. In the. doctrinal instruction to the first part of the.book, Ben Sirach
zones in on the main ideas he means to explore over the course of the book. It
has to do with the Lord as the source of wisdom, and with the attitude a person
needs to have to become wise. In the Greek translation, as in the Septuagint’s
translation of other Old Testament works, the term “the Lord” used where the
Hebrew text uses the proper name of God, “Yhwh”.
The first question posed is: Where does wisdom come from? And the answer is
quite, definite from the very start “All wisdom comes from God and is with him
forever” (1:1). There is no source .of wisdom but the one true God: “There is [on-
ly] One who is wise” (1:8). He created all things and “he poured (wisdom) out
upon all his works” (1:9). Therefore the study, of nature and of man (God’s works)
is the way to discover wisdom. More will be said about this in the introduction to
the second part of the book (16:24-18:14).
Every created thing is designed in a particular way and the Lord’s wisdom can be
seen from the order that exists in creation and from the laws governing the nature
and activity of man. In the case of human beings, a person will attain happiness
and wisdom if he or she adheres to these rules laid by God. This leads Ben Si-
rach to say this is the main contribution his book makes), “If you desire wisdom,
the commandments” (1:26). A person who approaches God in all simplicity, rea-
dy to listen to his precepts and puts them into practice will discover the meaning
of the things and events of the world around him, which he so greatly desires. In
the introduction to the part of the book these ideas are developed further (24: 1-
It follows that a person who wants to be wise should logically show grateful res-
pect to the Creator by acting in line with the “instructions” wisely imprinted on
created things (man included). This is what in the tradition of Israel called “fear
of the Lord”, which is therefore “wisdom and instruction” (1:27). The expression
“fear of the Lord” does not, then, in any sense mean being afraid of God. On the
contrary, it is a reverent way of referring to the religious attitude of man towards
Him who looks after him with great solicitude.
When the fourth part of the book goes into the motivation that, should inspire
one’s everyday conduct, it stresses the need for fear of the Lord in order to be
A person beginning to set out on the path of wisdom need to be determined to
keep true to the Lord, for he is bound to meet with difficulties. But he has every
reason to trust in God. One good reason is the lessons of history: “Consider the
ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?”
(2:10). The fifth and last part of the book, provide a running commentary on the
example set by figures in the past (44:1-50:21).
The ideas contained in these chapters prepare the way for the full revelation of
the Wisdom of God—the incarnation of the Word (cf. the prologue to St John’s
Gospel: Jn 1:1-18). That passage of the New Testament helps one to understand
the full implications of things said here. “All wisdom comes from God and is with
him for ever” (1:1), for “the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1);
nd the Lord “supplied her [Wisdom] to those who love him” (Sir 1:10b), for “to all
who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children
of God” (Jn 1:12-13). The Law promulgated by God in the Old Testament pre-
pared the way for the full revelation of God himself’ in whom all Wisdom dwells:
“The ‘Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Christ” (Jn
1 17). The Letter to the Hebrews, in line with the call in Sirach 2:10, invites us
to consider the example set by the great Israelite leaders of the past (cf. Heb 11:
The earliest Christian commentators did not fail to find in Sirach references to the
fullness of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ: “The divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, me-
rits our full confidence because he possesses the three most beautiful qualities —
wisdom, benevolence, and openheartedness. Wisdom, for he is wisdom of the
Father: “All wisdom comes from the Lord, and is with him forever” (Sir 1:1); open-
heartedness, for he is God and Creator: “Everything that is was made by him,
and without him nothing was made” (Jn 1:9) and benevolence, for he offered him-
self as the one victim for us all” (Clement of Alexandria, “Paedagogus”, 1, 97:3).
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
From: Mark 9:14-29
The Curing of an Epileptic Boy
 And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Him, immediately
it convulsed the body, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the
mouth.  And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he
said, “From childhood.  And it has often cash him into the fire and into the
water, to destroy him; but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”
 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who be-
lieves.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help
my unbelief!”  And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He
rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command
you, come out of him, and never enter him again.”  After crying out and con-
vulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of
them said, “He is dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up,
and he arose.  And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him
privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”  And He said to them, “This kind
cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
17. The demon who possessed this boy is described as a “dumb spirit” because
dumbness was the main feature of the possession. On diabolic possession cf.
note on Matthew 12:22-24.
19-24. As on other occasions, Jesus requires submission of faith before He
works the miracle. The exclamation of Jesus refers to the request of the boy’s fa-
ther (verse 22), which seemed to suggest some doubt about God’s omnipotence.
The Lord corrects this way of asking and requires him to have firm faith. In verse
24 we can see that the father has quite changed; then Jesus does the miracle.
The man’s strengthened faith made him all-powerful, for someone with faith relies
not on himself but on Jesus Christ. Through faith, then, we become sharers in
God’s omnipotence. But faith is a gift of God, which man, especially at times
when he is wavering, should ask humbly and tenaciously, like the father of this
boy: “I believe, help my unbelief,” and like the Apostles: “Increase our faith!”
28-29. “In teaching the Apostles how to expel a spirit as evil as this He is tea-
ching all of us how we should live, and telling us that prayer is the resource we
should use to overcome even the severest temptations, whether they come from
unclean spirits or from men. Prayer does not consist only in the words we use
to invoke God’s clemency but also in everything we do, out of faith, as homage
to God. The Apostle bears witness to this when he says: `Pray constantly’ (1
Thessalonians 5:7)” (St. Bede, “In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.”).
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
|First reading||Ecclesiasticus 1:1-10 ©|
|Psalm||Psalm 92:1-2,5 ©|
|Gospel||Mark 9:14-29 ©|
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Jesus, High Priest
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.
Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.
Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.
Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.
O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.
Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priestsThis icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.
The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.
The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.
Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem. He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.
St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.
1. Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. The Apostles Creed: I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
3. The Lord's Prayer: OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
4. (3) Hail Mary: HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)
5. Glory Be: GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer. Repeat the process with each mystery.
End with the Hail Holy Queen:
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Final step -- The Sign of the Cross
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:
"Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8"
PLEASE JOIN US -
May Devotion: Blessed Virgin Mary
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life.
Thou who wast a virgin before thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin in thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin after thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
My Mother, deliver me from mortal sin.
Hail Mary (three times).
Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us.
Remember, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou shalt stand before the face of the Lord, that thou speak favorable things in our behalf and that He may turn away His indignation from us.
Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son, and obtain for me the grace to please Him always and in all things.
FOR THE HELP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
May we be assisted, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart and mind: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
THE SALVE REGINA
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found
the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, 0 blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
PETITION TO MARY
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou hast bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly for ever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior,
For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.
God who is mighty has done great things for me,
holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever.
TO MARY, REFUGE OF SINNERS
Hail, most gracious Mother of mercy, hail, Mary, for whom we fondly yearn, through whom we obtain forgiveness! Who would not love thee? Thou art our light in uncertainty, our comfort in sorrow, our solace in the time of trial, our refuge from every peril and temptation. Thou art our sure hope of salvation, second only to thy only-begotten Son; blessed are they who love thee, our Lady! Incline, I beseech thee, thy ears of pity to the entreaties of this thy servant, a miserable sinner; dissipate the darkness of my sins by the bright beams of thy holiness, in order that I may be acceptable in thy sight.
FOR THE GRACE OF LOVE
O Mary, my dear Mother, how much I love thee! And yet in reality how little! Thou dost teach me what I ought to know, for thou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus. Dearly beloved Mother, how close to God thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee. Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus; obtain for me the grace of loving thee!
Cardinal Merry del Val
TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY FOR MAY
O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! glorious Queen of heaven and earth! powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, 0 Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. 0 deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God.
May my heart bum with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, 0 Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
TO OUR LADY
Saint John Vianney, better known as the Cure of Ars, when asked how long he had loved Mary, said: "I loved her almost before I could know her." In this prayer he expresses that love.
O thou most holy virgin Mary, who dost evermore stand before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to thy most beloved Son; pray for me in all my necessities; help me, combat for me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then do thou encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands," do thou say it for me; when I can no longer hear human words of consolation, do thou comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged; and if I have to expiate my sins in purgatory, oh! pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed sight of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with thee: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and thee for all eternity. Amen.
Saint John Vianney
ACT OF REPARATION
O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, look down in mercy from heaven, where thou art enthroned as Queen, upon me, a miserable sinner, thine unworthy servant. Although I know full well my own unworthiness, yet in order to atone for the offenses that are done to thee by impious and blasphemous
tongues, from the depths of my heart I praise and extol thee as the purest, the fairest, the holiest creature of all God's handiwork. I bless thy holy name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever virgin, conceived without stain of sin, co-redemptrix of the human race. I bless the Eternal Father who chose thee in an especial way for His daughter; I bless the Word Incarnate who took upon Himself our nature in thy bosom and so made thee His Mother; I bless the Holy Spirit who took thee as His bride. All honor, praise and thanksgiving to the ever-blessed Trinity, who predestined thee and loved thee so exceedingly from all eternity as to exalt thee above all creatures to the most sublime heights. 0 Virgin, holy and merciful, obtain for all who offend thee the grace of repentance, and graciously accept this poor act of homage from me thy servant, obtaining likewise for me from thy divine Son the pardon and remission of all my sins. Amen.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
|Memorare of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary!
That never was it known
That anyone who fled to thy protection,
Implored thy help or sought thy intercession
Was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee!
O Virgin of virgins, My Mother!
To Thee I come before Thee I stand,
Sinful and Sorrowful,
Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate,
Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy,
Hear and answer me.
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Administrators of Justice. That administrators of justice may act always with integrity and right conscience.
Seminaries. That seminaries, especially those of mission churches, may form pastors after the Heart of Christ, fully dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel.
"I do believe, help my unbelief!"
Faith is the virtue that Our Lord most often rewards and praises. Sometimes he praises love, as in the case of Mary Magdalen (Lk 7,37). Sometimes humility, but these are rare cases, and it is nearly always faith that earns his approval and reward. Why is this? No doubt because it is the most important of the virtues, if not the greatest, for it is the foundation of all the others, including charity, and it is the rarest of all.
To have real faith, faith that inspires all one's actions, and faith in the supernatural which tears the mask from the world and sees God in everything, which makes all things possible, which takes all meaning out of such words as worry, peril, fear, which makes us pass through life calmly, peacefully, happily, like a child holding its mother's hand, which gives the soul perfect detachment from all material things, shewing it their emptiness and puerility; which gives to prayer the confidence of a child asking something he deserves from his father; a faith to which all is falsehood except to do the will of God; a faith that makes all appear in a new light, so that we see people in the likeness of God making us love them and respect them as the counterfoils of our Beloved, and do them all the good we can. It will help us to regard all other living things as aids to the winning of Heaven, for we can always give God praise for them, or use them, or renounce them. Faith will shew us the greatness of God and our own littleness. It will make us undertake whatever is pleasing to God without hesitation or false shame or fear and without looking back. Ah! such faith is rare indeed. My God, give me this faith; my God, I believe, help thou my unbelief; my God, let me believe and love.
|Monday, May 20, 2013
St. Bernardine of Siena, OFM Priest (Memorial)
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The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest
Madonna and Child between Saint Francis and Saint Bernardine of Siena
San Fortunato, Montefalco
Saint Bernardine of Siena was called the "Apostle of Italy". Left an orphan at six Bernardine was brought up with great care by his pious aunts. His youth was blameless and engaging. In 1397 after a course of civil and canon law, he joined the Confraternity of Our Lady attached to the great hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. Three years later, when the pestilence revisited Siena, he came forth from the life of seclusion and prayer he had embraced, to minister to the plague-stricken, and, assisted by ten companions, took upon himself for four months entire charge of this hospital. Despite his youth Bernardine proved fully equal to this task, but the heroic and unremitting labor it involved so far shattered his health that he never completely recovered. Having distributed his patrimony in charity, Bernardine received the habit of the Friars Minor at San Francesco in Siena, September 8, 1402, but soon withdrew to the Observantine convent of Columbaio outside the city. He was professed September 8, 1403 and ordained September 8, 1404. About 1406 S. Vincent Ferrer, while preaching at Alexandria in Piedmont, foretold that his mantle should descend upon one who was then listening to him, and said that he would return to France and Spain leaving to Bernardine the task of evangelizing the remaining peoples of Italy.
Nearly twelve years passed before this prediction was fulfilled. During this period, of which we have no details, Bernardine seems to have lived in retirement at Capriola. It was in 1417 that his gift of eloquence was made manifest and his missionary life really began at Milan at the close of that year. Thenceforth, various cities contended for the honor of hearing him, and he was often compelled to preach in the market places, his auditors sometimes numbering thirty thousand. Bernardine gradually gained an immense influence over the turbulent, luxurious Italian cities. Pius II, who as a youth had been a spellbound auditor of Bernardine, records that the saint was listened to as another Paul, and Vespasiano da Bisticci, a well-known Florentine biographer, says that by his sermons Bernardine "cleansed all Italy from sins of every kind in which she abounded". The penitents, we are told, flocked to confession "like ants", and in several cities the reforms urged by the saint were embodied in the laws under the name of Riformazioni di frate Bernardino. Indeed, the success which crowned Bernardine's labors to promote morality and regenerate society, can scarcely be exaggerated. He preached with apostolic freedom, openly censuring Visconti, Duke of Milan, and elsewhere fearlessly rebuking the evil in high places which undermined the Quattrocento. In each city he denounced the reining vice so effectively that bonfires were kindled and "vanities" were cast upon them by the cartload. Usury was one of the principal objects of the saint's attacks, and he did much to prepare the way for the establishment of the beneficial loan societies, known as Monti di Pietà. But Bernardine's watchward, like that of St. Francis, was "Peace". On foot he traversed the length and breadth of Italy peacemaking, and his eloquence was exercised with great effect towards reconciling the mutual hatred of Guelphs and Ghibellines. At Crema, as a result of his preaching, the political exiles were recalled and even reinstated in their confiscated possessions. Everywhere Bernardine persuaded the cities to take down the arms of their warring factions from the church and palace walls and to inscribe there, instead, the initials I. H. S. He thus gave a new impulse and a tangible form to the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus which was ever a favorite topic with him and which he came to regard as a potent means of rekindling popular fervor. He used to hold a board in front of him while preaching, with the sacred monogram painted on it in the midst of rays and afterwards expose it for veneration. Bernardine had to suffer both opposition and persecution. He was accused of heresy, the tablets he had used to promote devotion to the Holy Name being made the basis of a clever attack by the adherents of the Dominican, Manfred of Vercelli, whose false preaching about Antichrist Bernardine had combated. The saint was charged with having introduced a profane, new devotion which exposed the people to the danger of idolatry, and he was cited to appear before the pope. This was in 1427. Martin V received Bernardine coldly and forbade him to preach or exhibit his tablets until his conduct had been examined. The saint humbly submitted, his sermons and writings being handed over to a commission and a day set for his trial. The latter took place at St. Peter's in presence of the pope, 8 June, St. John Capistran having charge of the saint's defence. The malice and futility of the charges against Bernardine were so completely demonstrated that the pope not only justified and commended the saint's teaching, but urged him to preach in Rome. Martin V subsequently approved Bernardine's election as Bishop of Siena. The saint, however, declined this honour as well as the Sees of Ferrara and Urbino, offered to him in 1431 and 1435, respectively, saying playfully that all Italy was already his diocese. After the accession of Eugene IV Bernardine's enemies renewed their accusations against him, but the pope by a Bull, 7 January 1432, annulled their highhanded, secret proceedings and thus reduced the saint's calumniators to silence, nor does the question seem to have been reopened during the Council of Basle as some have asserted. The vindication of Bernardine's teaching was perpetuated by the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Name, conceded to the Friars Minor in 1530 and extended to the Universal Church in 1722.
In 1433 Bernardine accompanied the Emperor Sigismund to Rome for the latter's coronation. Soon after he withdrew to Capriola to compose a series of sermons. He resumed his missionary labours in 1436, but was forced to abandon them in 1438 on his election as Vicar-General of the Observants throughout Italy. Bernardine had laboured strenuously to spread this branch of the Friars Minor from the outset of his religious life, but it is erroneous to style him its founder since the origin of the Observants may be traced back to the middle of the fourteenth century. Although not the immediate founder of this reform, Bernardine became to the Observants what St. Bernard was to the Cistercians their principal support and indefatigable propagator. Some idea of his zeal may be gathered from the fact that, instead of the one hundred and thirty Friars constituting the Observance in Italy at Bernardine's reception into the order, it counted over four thousand before his death. In addition to the number he received into the order, Bernardine himself founded, or reformed, at least three hundred convents of Friars. Not content with extending his religious family at home, Bernardine sent missionaries to different parts of the Orient and it was largely through his efforts that so many ambassadors from different schismatical nations attended the Council of Florence in which we find the saint addressing the assembled Fathers in Greek. Having in 1442 persuaded the pope to accept his resignation as vicar-general so that he might give himself more undividedly to preaching, Bernardine resumed his missionary labours. Although a Bull was issued by Eugene IV, 26 May, 1443, charging Bernardine to preach the indulgence for the Crusade against the Turks, there is no record of his having done so. There is, moreover, no good reason to believe that the saint ever preached outside Italy, and the missionary journey to Palestine mentioned by one of his early biographers may perhaps be traced to a confusion of names.
Miracles multiplied after the saint's death, and he was canonized by Nicholas V, May 24, 1450. On May 17, 1472, Bernardine's body was solemnly translated to the new church of the Observants at Aquila, especially erected to receive it, and enclosed in a costly shrine presented by Louis XI of France. This church having been completely destroyed by earthquake in 1703, was replaced by another edifice where the precious relics of St. Bernardine are still venerated. His feast is celebrated on May 20.
St. Bernardine is accounted the foremost Italian missionary of the fifteenth century, the greatest preacher of his day, the Apostle of the Holy Name, and the restorer of the Order of Friars Minor. He remains one of the most popular of Italian saints, more especially in his own Siena. With both painters and sculptors he has ever been a favorite figure.
(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)
O God, who gave the Priest Saint Bernardine of Siena
a great love for the holy Name of Jesus,
grant, through his merits and prayers,
that we may ever be set aflame
with the spirit of your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a cripple, by what means this man has been healed, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man is standing before you well. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Gospel Reading: Luke 9:57-62
As they were going along the road, a man said to Him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head." To another He said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God".
Links on Vatican Website:
The name of Jesus is the glory of preachers: From a sermon by Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest (Sermo 49, De glorioso Nomine Iesu Christi, cap 2: Opera omnia, 4. 505-506)
A faithful foster-parent and guardian: A reading from the sermons of St Bernardine of Siena (Sermon 2, On St Joseph)
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