Thought for the Day – 30 August – the Memorial of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
Today is the anniversary of the death of the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, who passed to his reward in heaven in 1954, after serving the church of Milan as her shepherd for just over 25 years and was Beatified in 1996.
Blessed Alfredo had several difficult years as the Shepherd of Milan with rise of Fascism and then advent of WWII. What is keenly recalled of Schuster as Bishop, is his solicitude for the people. He visited every parish of the diocese five times, holding several diocesan synods, writing many pastoral letters and founding a Seminary in Venegono. Monk or not, he was a true apostle for the good of the Church’s holiness and engagement in the world.
The funeral Mass was offered by the Cardinal Roncalli, now St John XXIII. In 1985, the cardinal’s tomb was opened and his mortal remains were found to be intact, the monk-bishop-cardinal-man of God was beatified by Saint John Paul II on 12 May 1996. The relics were given for the veneration of the faithful in one of the side-altars of the Duomo in Milan.
A treasure of Blessed Schuster is his scholarship in the Liber Sacramentorum, known in its English translation as The Sacramentary. It was written while he was Benedictine monk with the supreme reverence for tradition, adoration and intellect. In some ways, the volumes are dated, yet the work remains an invaluable reference point for liturgical scholarship today.
To the seminarians of Milan he taught in a characteristically Benedictine manner of the futility of ministry without personal holiness:
“I have no memento to give you, apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray. People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there. Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls – he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.
Prayer on the occasion
of the Beatification of
Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
Father, origin and source of all good,
we praise You and thank You
because, in the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
You have given us and made known
a gentle and tireless pastor,
witness to the peace that only You can give.
Lord Jesus, Son of God,
You have been for the Cardinal Schuster, a model of life,
for Your love, he was a passionate servant of all.
Lord of life, peace and joy, grant that
his example may inspire us
and his prayer accompany us,
as we also give our lives
to the service of every human being.
Spirit of love, that makes us saints,
grant us to remember
his constant invitation to holiness.
Make us capable, as he was,
to love the poor, the forgotten, the persecuted;
give us the strength to dialogue with everyone,
with the confidence, to discover in every heart,
the seed of God.
May we not forget, the devil is afraid of our active striving for holiness.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.