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Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. Peter of Luxembourg


Bishop and Cardinal
Saint Peter of Luxemburg, descended both by his father and mother from the noblest families in Europe, was born in Lorraine in the year 1369. When still a schoolboy twelve years of age, he went to London as a hostage for his brother, who had been taken prisoner. The English were so won by Peter’s holy example that they released him at the end of the year, taking his word the ransom would be paid. King Richard II of England invited him to remain at his court, but Peter returned to Paris, determined to have no master but Christ.
Because of his prudence and sanctity, at the early age of fifteen he was appointed bishop of Metz. He made his public entry into his see barefoot and riding on a donkey. He governed his diocese with all the zeal and prudence of maturity, and divided his revenues in three parts — for the Church, the poor, and lastly, his household. His charities often left him personally destitute; only twenty pence would remain to him when he died.
Created Cardinal of Saint George, his austerities in the midst of court life were so severe that he was ordered to moderate them. Peter replied, “I shall always be an unprofitable servant, but I can at least obey.” Ten months after this last promotion he fell ill with a fever; he lingered for some time in a sinking condition, his holiness increasing as he drew near his end. Saint Peter, it was believed, never stained his soul by mortal sin; yet as he grew in grace his holy contempt for self became more and more intense. When he had received the last sacraments, he forced his attendants each in turn to scourge him for his faults, and then lay silent until he died. The year was 1387, and the Cardinal-Saint was only 18 years old.
God was pleased to glorify His servant after his death. Among other miracles attributed to him the following one is related. On July 5, 1432, a child about twelve years old was killed when he fell from a high tower in the palace of Avignon, upon a sharp rock. The father, distraught with grief, picked up the scattered pieces of the skull and brains and carried them in a sack, with the mutilated body of his son, to Saint Peter’s shrine. There, with many tears, he besought the Saint’s intercession. After a time the child returned to life, and he was set upon the altar for all to see. In honor of this miracle the city of Avignon chose Saint Peter as its patron Saint.
Reflection: Saint Peter teaches us how, when there is self-denial, the highest dignities and all this world can give, may serve to make a Saint.

How To Be Vigilant

     It is sad to see many disturb their soul when it desires to abide in this calm and repose of interior quietude, where it is filled with the peace and refreshment of God. Desirous of making it retrace its steps and revert from the goal in which it now reposes, they draw it out to more exterior, to considerations which are the means. This they do, not without strong repugnance and reluctance in the soul. The soul would want to remain in that unintelligible peace as in its right place. A man is deeply pained if, after intense effort to reach his place of rest, he is forced to return to his labor.

    Since these individuals do not understand the mystery of that new experience, they imagine themselves to be idle and doing nothing. Thus, in their struggle with considerations and discursive meditations they disturb their quietude. They become filled with aridity and trial because of efforts to get satisfaction by means no longer apt. We can say that the more intense their efforts, the less will be their gain. The more they persist at meditation, the worse their state becomes, because they drag the soul further away from spiritual peace. They resemble one who abandons the greater for the lesser, turns back on a road already covered, and wants to redo what is already done.

     The advice proper for these individuals is that they must learn to abide in the quietude with a loving attentiveness to God and pay no heed to the imagination and its work. At this stage, as we said, the faculties are at rest, and do not work actively but passively, by receiving what God is effecting in them. If at times they put the faculties to work, they should not make use of excessive efforts or studied reasonings, but do so with gentleness of love, moved more by God than by their own abilities.

St. John Of The Cross
(t 1591) is called the Mystical Doctor.

St. Francesco Antonio Fasani


Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown.
In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco's holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.


Eventually we become what we choose. If we choose stinginess, we become stingy. If we choose compassion, we become compassionate. The holiness of Francesco Antonio Fasani resulted from his many small decisions to cooperate with God's grace.
During his homily at the canonization of Francesco, Pope John Paul II reflected on John 21:15 in which Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other apostles and then tells Peter, "Feed my lambs." The pope observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by love. "He [Francesco] made the love taught us by Christ the fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations" (L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 16, number 3, 1986).

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