Thought for the Day – 7 January – The Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law”
As a lawyer, priest and preacher, St Raymond of Penyafort made a significant mark on the history of Spain and the church. His preaching helped re-Christianise Spain after the Moors were overthrown. And his compilation of papal and conciliar decrees was the main source of canon law for seven centuries.
An accomplished lawyer and scholar, Raymond joined the Dominicans at Barcelona in 1222. The 47-year-old novice was assigned to develop a book of case studies for confessors that helped to shape the medieval church’s penitential system. Also a gifted preacher, Raymond had remarkable success evangelising Moors and Jews. And he travelled throughout Spain, rejuvenating the spiritual life of Christians, that the Moors had enslaved. Among his main themes were spiritual combat and standing firm in trials.
“Your purity of life, your devotion, deserve and call for a reward, because you are acceptable and pleasing to God, your purity of life must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain perfect sincerity of heart. If from time to time you feel the sword falling on you with double or treble force, this also should be seen as sheer joy and the mark of love.”
And then, he encouraged and prayed for us all:
“May the God of love and peace,
set your hearts at rest
and speed you on your journey,
may He meanwhile,
shelter you from disturbance by others,
in the hidden recesses of His love,
until He brings you, at last,
into that place of complete plenitude,
where you will repose forever,
in the vision of peace,
in the security of trust
and in the restful enjoyment of His riches.”
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