Today’s saint was born in Ravenna, Italy and was orphaned at an early age and raised by an older brother. He helped support his family by tending swine but another brother saw his intellectual potential and arranged for him to receive an education. He excelled in his studies, became a professor, and eventually joined the Camaldolese Benedictine Order. After serving his community as abbot, he was called upon to help reform the Church as a bishop and cardinal. Let us ask St. Peter Damian to join us today as we lift up the Holy Father and his monthly intentions. The following is from a letter that St. Peter wrote to one of his brothers and that appears in the Breviary today.
You asked me to write you some words of consolation, my brother. Embittered by so many tribulations, you are seeking some comfort for your soul. You asked me to offer you some soothing suggestions. But there is no need for me to write. Consolation is already within you reach, if your good sense has not been dulled. My son, come to the service of God. Stand in justice and fear. Prepare your soul; it is about to be tested. These words from Scripture show that you are a son of God and, as such, should take possession of your inheritance. …[F]or God’s chosen ones there is great comfort; the torment lasts but a short time. Then God bends down, cradles the fallen figure, whispers words of consolation. With hope in his heart, man picks himself up and walks again toward the glory of happiness in heaven. Craftsmen exemplify this same practice. By hammering gold, the smith beats out the dross. The potter’s furnace puts vessels to the test. And the fire of suffering tests the mettle of just men. The apostle James echose this thought: Think it a great joy, dear brothers and sisters, when you stumble onto the many kinds of trials and tribulations. …The Scriptures reassure us: let your understanding strengthen your patience. In serenity look forward to the joy that follows sadness. Hope leads you to that joy and love enkindles your zeal.