Saints: May 2010 Archives

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All Priest

In recalling the holiness of Saint Philip, it occurs to me that it was essentially this: he was all priest. He was always and everywhere a priest. His priesthood suffused his very being, making him incandescent with the fire of the Cross and of the altar. As we move toward the conclusion of the Year of the Priest, Saint Philip Neri makes his appearance to stimulate our generosity, and to show us what happens when a priest surrenders to the fire of Divine Love.

Spiritual Combat: The Seven Capital Sins

Have no illusions about priestly holiness. Like all men, priests are locked in a combat to the death with the seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Priests are, if anything, subject to more subtle and more violent temptations than anyone else because they are Satan’s preferred quarry. Is the propensity to any one particular sin worse than the propensity to another? I dare not speculate about secrets of conscience. God alone probes the mind and heart.

To God All Things Are Possible

Souls called in a particular way to offer themselves for the sanctification of the clergy should entertain no illusions about the seriousness of their apostolic mission. There were, there are, and in all likelihood, there will continue to be some prideful priests, covetous priests, lustful priests, angry priests, gluttonous priests, priests who are drunkards, priests who consumed by envy, and priests who are lazy. One might be tempted then to say with the disciples, “Why then, who can be saved?’ (Mk 10:26). Listen to Our Lord’s reply. Jesus spoke it, according to Saint Mark, with His eyes fastened on the disciples. “Such things are impossible to man’s powers, but not to God’s; to God, all things are possible” (Mk 10:27).

Spiritual Maternity

Read the appeal from Rome, asking women in all states of life to become spiritual mothers to priests, and calling for a worldwide movement of adoration in a spirit of reparation and supplication for the priesthood. It is not enough to read it once and file it away. Our Lord will hold those women who consent to spiritual motherhood accountable for the sins and for the sanctity of a multitude of priests. Does this shock you? It shouldn’t. Saint Paul says, “A man’s body is all one, though it has a number of different organs; and all this multitude of organs goes to make up one body; so it is with Christ. . . . If one part is suffering, all the rest suffer with it; if one part is treated with honour, all the rest find pleasure in it. And you are Christ’s body, organs of it depending upon each other” (1 Cor 12:12, 26-27). Again, the Apostle says in another place, “Bear the burden of one another’s failings; then you will be fulfilling the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

A Contagious Joy

Speaking to priests in Warsaw four years ago, Pope Benedict XVI said, “You have been chosen from among the people, appointed to act in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Believe in the power of your priesthood!” Saint Philip Neri believed in the power of his priesthood, and from that belief flowed his outstanding characteristic: a contagious joy.

The Face of Christ

The loving gaze of Jesus is the origin, the present, and the future of every priestly vocation. Priestly devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, to His Eucharistic Face, is indispensable and it is, I would say, up to you to obtain that grace for them. This is not my personal idea. You will find it clearly expressed in the 2008 Message for the Day of Prayer for Priests, which opens with these words: “Reverend and dear Brothers in the Priesthood,
on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus let us fix the eyes of our minds and hearts with a constant loving gaze on Christ, the one Savior of our lives and of the world. Focusing on Christ means focusing on that Face which every human being, consciously or not, seeks as a satisfying response to his own insuppressible thirst for happiness. We have encountered this Face and on that day, at that moment, his Love so deeply wounded our hearts that we could no longer refrain from asking ceaselessly to be in his Presence.”

Adoration

Again, in his address to priests in Warsaw, the Holy Father enjoined them to practice Eucharistic Adoration as an antidote for the noise of the world, and to teach others to adore too. “In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light particularly to those who are suffering.”

Experts in Joy

Pope Benedict XVI teaches that, “the faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life.” Saint Philip Neri was just that: an expert in the spiritual life and, precisely for that reason, he was an expert in joy.

Ineffable Joy

“You never saw Him but you learned to love Him,” says Saint Peter, “you may not see Him even now, but you believe in Him, and if you continue to believe in Him, how you will triumph! How ineffable your joy will be, and how sublime, when you reap the fruit of that faith of yours, the salvation of your souls” (1 P 1:8-9). May Saint Philip obtain for us today hearts open to the joy that no one can take from us and, with you, may he intercede for all priests that they, like him, may be experts in joy.


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I was remiss in not posting something about the beatification of Father Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J., which took place this past April 19th.

Because of My Love for You

On July 11, 1726 a not quite fifteen year old Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos y Seña crossed the threshold of the Jesuit novitiate of the Province of Castile. Straightaway he chose the Flemish Saint John Berchmans as his model and intercessor. At his profession on July 12, 1728, he heard Our Lord say to him: "From today on I will unite Myself more intimately to you because of my love for you." Our Lord, His Virgin Mother, Saint Ignatius, Saint Teresa of Avila and other celestial visitors manifested themselves to the young Jesuit, conversed with him, counseled him, and encouraged him.

A Consoler of the Heart of Jesus

On August 10, 1729, the Saviour, covered with His Precious Blood, appeared to Bernardo, and showing him the wound in His Side, said, "Rejected by humanity, I come to find my consolation with chosen souls." Bernardo's experience closely resembles that of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque fifty-three years earlier in the Visitation Monastery of Paray-le-Monial in France.

Priest

Bernardo was ordained a priest on January 2, 1735. Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Francis de Sales, mystically present at the ordination, served as his "godfathers" in the priesthood. In that same year he wrote:

Hitherto I had great confidence in my prayers and petitions, depending on the intercession of the Heart of Jesus; at present I have no doubt about obtaining whatsoever I ask, if it is for the greater glory of God. I am convinced that at the altar the Eternal Father can refuse me nothing . . . I find myself with views like that of Venerable Father La Colombière concerning the greatness of this sacrifice. Here I am as if I were triumphant, for it seems to me not only that I am making reparation for myself and for the whole world, but that the Eternal Father is my debtor.
Now and again, during Mass . . . a word of the Eternal Father has assured me of the satisfaction He takes in His Son and in His Heart, and how this satisfaction may embolden me, even at the sight of my sins and ingratitude, to presume as much as I fancy, for all is contained in the merits of Jesus, whose minister I am and whose place I take.

Death

Father Bernardo de Hoyos died on November 29, 1735 at the age of twenty-four. He left behind the memory of his brief but fruitful ministry as a priest; the reputation of a charism for delivering souls from the vice of impurity; his book, The Hidden Treasure, published under the name of Father John de Loyola; and a wealth of detailed accounts of his mystical experiences of the Heart of Jesus.

Beatification

On January 17, 2009, the Holy Father met with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B. The Pope authorized the promulgation of a number of decrees, among them the recognition of a miracle attributed to the Servant of God Bernardo Francisco Hoyos.

On April 19, 2010, Father Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos was beatified in Valladolid, Spain. The ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In addition to nearly a 1,000 priests and more the 20,000 faithful, approximately fifty bishops and cardinals attended the ceremony. The new Blessed's liturgical memorial will be celebrated on November 29th, the anniversary of his death.


About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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