Monday, October 3, 2011

St. Gerard of Brogne

Today’s saint was the son of the Duke of Gandia in Spain. He served in the court of his cousin, the Emperor Charles V, and during that time married and had eight children. When the Empress Isabella died unexpectedly in 1539, Francis escorted her body to Granada for burial. At one point the coffin was opened as a formality prior to her burial and Francis, standing nearby, saw the face of the beautiful and youthful queen disfigured almost beyond recognition. He was so shaken that the declared, “Never again will I serve a master who can die on me.” This conversion led him to lead a more simple and prayerful life. In time, after the death of his wife in 1546, and after arranging marriages for his children, he resigned his noble title and joined the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1551 and served as the third general superior of the Jesuits from 1565 until his death. As we pray for those who have a terminal illness, we remember that death will come to all of us. May our faith in life after death and the resurrection support the faith of those who are nearing death. Our reflection is from a letter St. Francis Borgia wrote to his fellow Jesuits.

We are all pilgrims…. So we make the whole of our undertaking pointless if we do not set out with enthusiasm upon the journey before us and hasten along the road of perfection, until we come to “Horeb, the mountain of God.” Our Constitutions warn us…: “The means that unite the human instrument with God and so dispose it that it may be wielded dexterously by his divine hand are more effective than those which equip it in relation to men. Such means are, for example, goodness and virtue, and especially charity, and a pure intention of the divine service, and familiarity with God our Lord in spiritual exercises of devotion, and sincere zeal for souls for the sake of glory to him who created and redeemed them and not for any other benefit.” …

If the earth is dried up, it is scarcely surprising if first the flower and then the fruit dry up as well. In the same way, when our souls are dry in prayer and spiritual exercises, it follows that the flower and fruit of the spirit dry up straightaway. For the soul which spends too little time in the meditation and imitation of Christ crucified will conceive only a tepid desire to suffer and will easily fall victim to impatience.

No comments: