Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY

Pope Benedict XVI on the Commemoration of the fourth centenary of the Canonisation of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) – 4 November 2010

Pope Benedict XVI on the Commemoration of the fourth centenary of the Canonisation of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) – 4 November 2010

With the Church, we pray,

Preserve in the midst of Your people, we ask, O Lord, the spirit with which you filled the Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo, that Your Church may be constantly renewed and, by conforming herself to the likeness of Christ, may show His face to the world.st charles icon

The Pope emeritus writes:

Lumen caritatis.   The light of charity of St Charles Borromeo has illumined the whole Church and, by renewing the miracles of the love of Christ, our Supreme and Eternal Pastor, has brought new life and new youthfulness to God’s flock, which was going through sorrowful and difficult times.   For this reason I join with all my heart in the joy of the Ambrogian Archdiocese in commemorating the fourth centenary of the Canonisation of this great Pastor on 1 November 1610.

1.   The time in which Charles Borromeo lived was very delicate for Christianity.   In it the Archbishop of Milan gave a splendid example of what it means to work for the reform of the Church.   There were many disorders to sanction, many errors to correct and many structures to renew;  yet St Charles strove for a profound reform of the Church, starting with his own life.   It was in himself, in fact, that the young Borromeo promoted the first and most radical work of renewal.   His career had begun promisingly in accordance with the canons of that time:  for the younger son of the noble family Borromeo, a future of prosperity and success lay in store, an ecclesiastical life full of honours but without any ministerial responsibilities;  he also had the possibility of assuming the direction of the family after the unexpected death of his brother Federico.

Yet Charles Borromeo, illumined by Grace, was attentive to the call with which the Lord was attracting him and desiring him to dedicate the whole of himself to the service of his people.   Thus he was capable of making a clear and heroic detachment from the lifestyle characterised by his worldly dignity and dedication without reserve to the service of God and of the Church.   In times that were darkened by numerous trials for the Christian community, with divisions and confusions of doctrine, with the clouding of the purity of the faith and of morals and with the bad example of various sacred ministries, Charles Borromeo neither limited himself to deploring or condemning nor merely to hoping that others would change but rather set about reforming his own life which, after he had abandoned wealth and ease, he filled with prayer, penance and loving dedication to his people.   St Charles lived heroically the evangelical virtues of poverty, humility and chastity, in a continuous process of ascetic purification and Christian perfection.

He was aware that a serious and credible reform had to begin precisely with Pastors if it was to have beneficial and lasting effects on the whole People of God.   In this action of reform he was able to draw from the traditional and ever living sources of the Catholic Church:  the centrality of the Eucharist, in which he recognised and proposed anew the adorable presence of the Lord Jesus and of his Sacrifice of love for our salvation;  the spirituality of the Cross as a force of renewal, capable of inspiring the daily exercise of the evangelical virtues; assiduous reception of the Sacraments in which to accept with faith the action of Christ who saves and purifies His Church; the word of God, meditated upon, read and interpreted in the channel of Traditionlove for and devotion to the Supreme Pontiff in prompt and filial obedience to his instructions as a guarantee of full ecclesial communion.

The extraordinary reform that St Charles carried out in the structures of the Church in total fidelity to the mandate of the Council of Trent was also born from his holy life, ever more closely conformed to Christ.   His work in guiding the People of God, as a meticulous legislator and a brilliant organizer was marvellous.   All this, however, found strength and fruitfulness in his personal commitment to penance and holiness.   Indeed this is the Church’s primary and most urgent need in every epoch: that each and every one of her members should be converted to God.   Nor does the ecclesial community lack trials and suffering in our day and it shows that it stands in need of purification and reform.   May St Charles’ example always spur us to start from a serious commitment of personal and community conversion to transform hearts, believing with steadfast certainty in the power of prayer and penance.   I encourage sacred ministers, priests and deacons in particular to make their life a courageous journey of holiness, not to fear being drunk with that trusting love for Christ that made Bishop Charles ready to forget himself and to leave everything.   Dear brothers in the ministry, may the Ambrogian Church always find in you a clear faith and a sober and pure life that can renew the apostolic zeal which St Ambrose, St Charles and many of your holy Pastors possessed!

2. During St Charles’ episcopate, the whole of his vast diocese felt infected with a current of holiness that spread to the entire people.   How did this Bishop, so demanding and strict, manage to fascinate and to win over the Christian people?   The answer is easy: St Charles enlightened the people and enticed them with the ardour of his love.   “Deus caritas est”, and where there is a living experience of love the profound Face of God who attracts us and makes us His own is revealed.

The love of St Charles Borromeo was first and foremost the love of the Good Shepherd who is ready to give his whole life for the flock entrusted to his care, putting the demands and duties of his ministry before any form of personal interest, amenity or advantage.   Thus the Archbishop of Milan, faithful to the Tridentine directives, visited several times his immense Diocese even the most remote localities, and took care of his people, nourishing them ceaselessly with the Sacraments and with the word of God through his rich and effective preaching;   he was never afraid to face adversities and dangers to defend the faith of the simple and the rights of the poor.

St Charles, moreover, was recognised as a true and loving father of the poor.   Love impelled him to empty his home and to give away his possessions in order to provide for the needy, to support the hungry, to clothe and relieve the sick.   He set up institutions that aimed to provide social assistance and to rescue people in need;   but his charity for the poor and the suffering shone out in an extraordinary way during the plague of 1576 when the holy Archbishop chose to stay in the midst of his people to encourage them, serve them and defend them with the weapons of prayer, penance and love.

Furthermore it was charity that spurred Borromeo to become an authentic and enterprising educator:  for his people with schools of Christian doctrine;  for the clergy with the establishment of seminaries;  for children and young people with special initiatives for them and by encouraging the foundation of religious congregations and confraternities dedicated to the formation of children and young people.

Charity was always the deep motive of the severity with which St Charles practiced fasting, penance and mortification.   For the holy Bishop it was not only a matter of ascetic practices aiming for his own spiritual perfection but rather of a true ministerial means for expiating sins, for invoking the conversion of sinners and for interceding for his children’s needs.

Throughout his life, therefore, we may contemplate the light of evangelical charity, of forbearing, patient and strong love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7).   I thank God that the Church of Milan has always had a wealth of vocations especially dedicated to charity;   I praise the Lord for the splendid fruits of love for the poor, of service to the suffering and of attention to youth of which it can be proud.   May St Charles’ example of prayer obtain that you may be faithful to this heritage, so that every baptised person can live out in contemporary society that fascinating prophecy which, in every epoch, is the love of Christ alive in us.

3. However it is impossible to understand the charity of St Charles Borromeo without knowing his relationship of passionate love with the Lord Jesus.   He contemplated this love in the holy mysteries of the Eucharist and of the Cross, venerated in very close union with the mystery of the Church.   The Eucharist and the Crucified One immersed St Charles in Christ’s love and this transfigured and kindled fervour in his entire life, filled his nights spent in prayer, motivated his every action, inspired the solemn Liturgies he celebrated with the people and touched his heart so deeply that he was often moved to tears.

His contemplative gaze at the holy Mystery of the Altar and at the Crucified one stirred within him feelings of compassion for the miseries of humankind and kindled in his heart the apostolic yearning to proclaim the Gospel to all.   On the other hand we know well that there is no mission in the Church which does not stem from “abiding” in the love of the Lord Jesus, made present within us in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.   Let us learn from this great Mystery!   Let us make the Eucharist the true centre of our communities and allow ourselves to be educated and moulded by this abyss of love!   Every apostolic and charitable deed will draw strength and fruitfulness from this source!aa - st charles allegory

4. The splendid figure of St Charles suggests to me a final reflection which I address to young people in particular.   The history of this great Bishop was in fact totally determined by some courageous “yeses”, spoken when he was still very young.   When he was only 24 years old he decided to give up being head of the family to respond generously to the Lord’s call;   the following year he accepted priestly and episcopal Ordination.   At the age of 27 he took possession of the Ambrogian Diocese and gave himself entirely to pastoral ministry.   In the years of his youth St Charles realized that holiness was possible and that the conversion of his life could overcome every bad habit. Thus he made his whole youth a gift of love to Christ and to the Church, becoming an all-time giant of holiness.

Dear young people, let yourselves be renewed by this appeal that I have very much at heart:  God wants you to be holy, for He knows you in your depths and loves you with a love that exceeds all human understanding.   God knows what is in your hearts and is waiting to see the marvellous gift He has planted within you blossom and bear fruit.  Like St Charles, you too can make your youth an offering to Christ and to your brethren. Like him you can decide, in this season of life, “to put your stakes” on God and on the Gospel.   Dear young people, you are not only the hope of the Church;  you are already part of her present!   And if you dare to believe in holiness you will be the greatest treasure of your Ambrogian Church which is founded on Saints.

Venerable Brother, I joyfully entrust these reflections to you and as I invoke the heavenly intercession of St Charles Borromeo and the constant protection of Mary Most Holy, I warmly impart to you and to the entire Archdiocese a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 1 November 2010, the fourth centenary of the canonization of St Charles Borromeo.

Pope Benedict XVI

This letter addressed Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the Canonisation of Saint Charles Borromeo.st charles - pray FOR US.3.

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Thought for the Day – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

“An austere, dedicated, humourless and uncompromising personality” is the way that a biographer—an admiring biographer—describes Charles Borromeo.   Charged with implementing the reforms dictated by the Council of Trent, Borromeo had to be tough and his toughness brought him into conflict with secular leaders, priests and even the pope himself.

Borromeo can offer us crucial inspiration and some very specific advice about tough love.   For the larger good of the church during a time when it was beleaguered, he knew that he had to sacrifice his own popularity.   His example demonstrates that we must be brave in God’s service.

He also also teaches crucial fairness.   Evenhanded in his demands, he expected the same compliance with Council of Trent reforms from everyone.   Bishops and priests alike had to dismiss their female relatives from their households;  all schoolteachers—no exceptions—were required to make public professions of faith;   every workingman who was apprehended in the street by one of the Archbishop’s “fishers” on Sunday was escorted to catechism class.   Borromeo reminds us that the rules must be the same for all and that we will not succeed if we make exceptions and play favourites.

Borromeo’s life reminds us that we cannot be hypocrites.   If we expect to re-invigorate our family, our parish, our workplace for example, we must model that reform in our own lives.   While others may be displeased with us at first and while we may face hard words, we must take courage and know that the larger cause for which we work is worth the effort, and the pain.

St Charles Borromeo, pray for us!

st charles - pray for us.2

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Quote/s of the Day – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Quote/s of the Day – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God
we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness.
We must keep ourselves in the presence of God,
as much as possible and have no other view or end,
in all our actions but the divine honour.”if we wish - st charles borromeo - 4 nov 2017

“I admit that we are all weak but if we want help,
the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily.
Would you like me to teach you how to grow from
virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer,
you can be even more attentive next time
and so give God more pleasing worship?
Listen, and I will tell you.
If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you,
do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out.
Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat
and grow cold.
In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can.
Stay quiet with God.
Do not spend your time in useless chatter.”i admit that we are - st charles borromeo - 4 nov 2017

“Be sure that you first preach by the way you live.
If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing
but live otherwise and your words will bring
only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.”

St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)be sure that you - st charles borromeo - 4 nov 2017

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 November – St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Saint of the Day – 4 November – St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal, Doctor of Theology, Civil and Canon Law, Reformer, Founder of Seminaries.  He is known as the “Father of the Clergy”.   Born Count Carlo Borromeo on the morning of Wednesday 2 October 1538 in the castle at Aron, diocese of Novara, Italy and he died at  8:30pm on 3 November 1584 of a fever at Milan, Italy.  His will named the Hospital Maggiore of Milan as his heir.  He is buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Milan – the famous “Duomo Milan”.   His relics were transferred to a chapel built by Count Renato Borromeo in piazza San Maria Podone, Milan on 21 September 1751.   St Charles was Beatified in 1602 by Pope Clement VIII and Canonised on 1 November 1610 by Pope Paul V.   Patronages – • against abdominal pain• against colic• against intestinal disorders• against stomach diseases• against ulcers• apple orchards• bishops• catechists• catechumens• seminarians• spiritual directors• spiritual leaders• starch makers• 3 dioceses• 3 Italian cities.   Attributes – • cardinal wearing a cord around his neck; it symbolizes the cord or halter worn around his neck during the plague of Milan, Italy in 1575
• bishop wearing a cord around his neck • cleric curing the sick
• Holy Communion  • one hand raised in blessing, thus recalling his work during the plague • coat of arms bearing the word Humilitas (Humility) his emblem.

HEADERfrugal-charles

Count Carlo/Charles was born into the highest echelons of Renaissance life.   The nephew of Pius IV, he was destined for great things in the Church.   His successful career demonstrates the positive possibilities of Renaissance political life.   Given every chance at success by his lineage and connections, he seized each opportunity and turned it to the service of God, the Church and his people.   While many with similar chances squandered their advantages, Charles showed that such assets should not be guiltily eschewed or be a cause of embarrassment, so long as they are put to the service of the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

st charles borromeo - as a child.

Charles was prepared for his later career by his aristocratic responsibilities, becoming a skilled administrator and diplomat at a very young age.   At the same time he tirelessly pursued his studies, becoming a Doctor utriusque Iuris (a Doctor of both Civil and Canon Law) at 21 years old.   With the accession of his uncle to the throne of Peter, he was called to Rome and immediately was created a cardinal-deacon.   Such a position was advantageous because he became one of the closest associates of the pope, with all the dignity of a cardinal but without the responsibility for care of souls.   He reformed the city of Rome and the Papal States thoroughly and was given increasing responsibilities. The papal curia was purified by his example of holiness and sobriety.   He cultivated the friendship of other saints, such as Philip Neri and together they provided the pattern for a renewed curia.   He gathered a circle of learned friends around him and sponsored literary, academic and musical activity, being in particular a patron of Palestrina.YOUNG st charles borromeo - my snip

For his handling of the delicate negotiations needed for keeping the Council of Trent from falling apart, Charles was awarded with the see of Milan.   He began to shift his focus as well, for he had experienced a deep spiritual conversion as the result of the untimely death of his elder brother and dedicated the rest of his life entirely to the good of his people and his Church.   Being one of the most famous and largest sees in Christendom, Milan was a microcosm that displayed both the grandeur and the corruption of Renaissance Catholicism.

Charles set about immediately implementing the reforming decrees of Trent.   Had other bishops swiftly implemented the decrees, as Charles had, the damage from the Reformation may have been mightily checked.   In any case, he found a diocese filled to the brim with time-servers, beneficed layabouts and outright corrupt and vile clergy.   He set out for a purification.  He set the tone with his mighty motto Humilitas and he began to demonstrate one of the most powerful roles in all of Church history:  that of a holy bishop.    Charles knew that the mission of the Church to convert the nations and to win back the Protestants must begin at home.   The Church must be reformed from within, before she could bear effective testimony without.

He was convinced that the heart of the problem was the abuses caused, intentionally or not, by ignorant clergy.   Corruption was comparatively easy to root up but the wholesale re-education of the clergy was a project for generations.   To this end he set up the massive seminary of San Pietro Martire on the site of that saint’s murder in Seveso.   It was to be the prototype of the professionalisation of the clergy that would set a pattern for the rest of the Catholic world, one of the most significant developments in the last 500 years of Catholicism.   He knew that care of priests was essential before the laity could be properly educated and cultivated.   Here is a link to Pope Francis’s visit to the St Charles Borromeo Seminary  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=495XzwybBS0

 

Doctrine was at the heart of his pastoral ministry.   Trent had codified dogma and made it the basis of its reforming decrees.    Charles carried this message that the truth itself was the best foundation of pastoral ministry.   He reformed recalcitrant monks and nuns, calling them back to fidelity to their oaths and vows, rather than tolerating their laxity. Indeed one decadent member of the order of the Humiliati even tried to assassinate him at prayer, firing a point blank shot that miraculously left him nearly unharmed.   He himself was one of the saints in charge of the Roman Catechism and the founder of the concept of Sunday school for lay children, educating them in the rudiments of the Catholic faith.   He brought to the streets of Milan, Truth incarnated as a person, both in the Blessed Sacrament and in his life of imitating Christ.   There was no divorce between his pastoral and doctrinal responsibilities, such a novel idea would have been treated by him as the worst form of heresy.   For Charles, Christ the Merciful was Incarnate Truth itself.

He retained a simple devotion to Our Lady of Loreto and ministered personally to the plague victims of the city, spending his personal fortune for their relief and walking barefoot in sackcloth and ashes in penance for them before God.   Yet at the same time he never forgot his office as a prince of the Church and the Successor of the Apostles.   He repeatedly challenged the secular authorities who sought to circumscribe the liberties of the Church.   He personally went to Santa Maria della Scala, to receive their obedience after they had appealed to the secular authority over him.   He came in full pontifical regalia, bearing the crucifix, and pronounced a public excommunication at their door.   A supporter of the disobedient church fired a shot at him, which was blocked only by the Cross of Christ he bore.   He tirelessly traveled to the rural areas of his diocese, especially the Alpine valleys that suffered under heresy.   To the peripheries he went—areas ignored by his noble predecessors—but Charles did not go there to confirm the people in their error, he came to bring the freedom of Truth.   He took his duty of visitation seriously, removing the corrupt, correcting the erring and ensuring the proper celebration of his beloved Ambrosian rite.St Charles Borromeo giving Communion to plague victims.2by caspar franz sambachSt Charles Borromeo giving Communion to plague victimsst charles Borromeo - Pierre Mignard - holy comm to plague victims

He was a friend and confrere to many of the saints of the Catholic Reform, St Francis Borgia, St Philip Neri, Bl Bartholomew of Braga and many others, having a special predilection for the English priests who would later be martyred.   His solicitude for the liturgy was exceptional, knowing it to be the key to the spirituality and doctrinal fidelity of the laity.   Indeed, once he wanted to bless a cemetery but abandoned the idea when he discovered he did not have the requisite pontifical vestments.   The service of God demanded the very best at all times.   On his deathbed, he forbade the saying of Holy Mass in his room, considering it unfit for the sacrifice of the Mass and insisted on being vested in Rochet and Stole for the reception of his Viaticum.   This was no violation of Humilitasbut rather its highest expression:  utter, complete and humble service to his position as the successor of St Ambrose.   He lived simply, devoutly and penitently but when he executed his office he bore the weight of tradition, history and doctrine.Meeting between Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Philip Neri

Charles was beloved by his people of Milan and was respected by all throughout Europe, being rapidly canonised in the year 1610.   His life demonstrates the fallacy implied by the words of a contemporary cardinal, who declared that mercy and doctrine were equal parts of revelation.  Charles would have known that such a statement was nonsensical and opposed to the definitions of Trent (and Vatican II for that matter).   He would gently correct his colleague.   Mercy is part of the doctrine of the Church but, more to the point, the whole and complete doctrine of the Church is mercy for a fallen humanity. Truth is mercy; error is slavery.    St Charles demonstrates for us that the Church needs reform in every age but it must be a reform that results in a re-conformation to the Face of her Founder.    May the example of the holy bishop of the Counter Reform (who kept an image of Sts Thomas More and John Fisher on his person) animate those who would make novel arguments contrary to the faith of Christ.

St Charles Borromeo, Father of the Clergy, pray for us all!St-Charles-BorromeoSt Charels Borromeo2TheVisionOfSt.CharlesBorromeo

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

One Minute Reflection – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks; your presence, O Lord, I seek.….Psalm 27:8

REFLECTION – “We must meditate before, during and after everything we do.   The prophet says: “I will pray and then I will understand.”   This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work.   In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men.”…St Charles Borromeowe must meditate before - st charles borromeo - 4 nov 2017

PRAYER – Almighty God, help me to seek You and speak with You always. Let me strive to avoid outer distractions and concentrate on Your message and Your will. Teach me to seek only You and to bring Your Son to all I meet. St Charles Borromeo, pray for us, amen.st charles - pray for us

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 November

St Charles Borromeo (Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTjLEiTWklo

St Agricola of Bologna
St Amandus of Avignon
St Amandus of Rodez
St Birstan
St Clarus the Hermit
St Clether
St Emeric of Hungary
Bl Frances d’Amboise
St Gerard de Bazonches
St Gregory of Burtscheid
Bl Helen Enselmini
Bl Henry of Zweifalten
St Hermas of Myra
Bl Joan Antoni Burró Mas
St Joannicus of Mount Olympus
St John Zedazneli
St Modesta of Trier
St Nicander of Lycia
St Patrobas
St Perpète
St Philologus
St Pierius
St Proculus of Autun
Bl Teresa Manganiello
St Vitalis of Bologna

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Our Morning Offering – 4 November – The Memorial of St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

I am Your Instrument, Lord
By St Charles Borromeo

Almighty God,
You have generously made known
to human beings the mysteries of
Your life through Jesus Christ Your Son,
in the Holy Spirit.
Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries
which Your Church treasures and teaches.
Move my heart to love them
and my will to live in accord with them.
Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others,
without pride, without ostentation
and without personal gain.
Let me realise that I am simply Your instrument,
for bringing others to the
knowledge of the wonderful things
You have done for all Your creatures.
Help me to be faithful to the task,
that You have entrusted to me.
Amenalmighty god - st charles borromeo - 4 nov 2017