Wednesday, October 23, 2013

St. John of Capistrano, the Soldier Saint, ora pro nobis!

John of Capistrano (center, with a cross in his hand), the Battle of Belgrade
It is the 4th year birthday of The Badger Catholic blog!
Traveling round Hungary, the great Italian preacher galvanized into action those who heard him speak.  St. John himself had been at first discouraged by the response to is impassioned appeals, but one day at Mass he saw in a vision an arrow with the words, "Fear not, John.  Go down quickly.  In the power of My name and of the Holy Cross thou wilt conquer the Turks.He spoke of this vision in his sermons, and his new confidence was infectious.  Thousands of peasants and townsmen rushed to join the crusade, both from Hungary and from the neighboring countries. 
 Okay, I rehashed that all last year.

This year let's look to the liturgy. 
From the treatise Mirror of the Clergy by Saint John of Capistrano, priest
(Pars I, Venetiae 1580, 2)

The lives of good clerics bring light and serenity

Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. They must completely remove from their lives the filth and uncleanness of vice. Their upright lives must make them like the salt of the earth for themselves and for the rest of mankind. The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the light of the world that brings light to others. They must learn from their eminent teacher, Jesus Christ, what he declared not only to his apostles and disciples, but also to all the priests and clerics who were to succeed them, when he said: You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Truly the unclean, immoral cleric is trampled underfoot like worthless manure. He is saturated with the filth of vice and entangled in the chains of sin. In this condition he must be considered worthless both to himself and to others. As Gregory says: “When a man’s life is frowned upon, it follows that his preaching will be despised.” [so true!]

Presbyters who are born leaders deserve to be doubly honored, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. It is indeed a double task that worthy priests perform, that is to say, it is both exterior and interior, both temporal and spiritual, and, finally, both a passing task and an eternal one.

Even though they dwell on earth and are bound by the same necessities of nature along with all mortal creatures, at the same time they are engaged in earnest communication with the angels in heaven, so that they may be pleasing to their king and learn how to serve him. Therefore, just as the sun rises over the world in God’s heaven, so clerics must let their light shine before men so that they may see their good deeds and give praise to their heavenly Father.

You are the light of the world. Now a light does not illumine itself, but instead it diffuses its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes into its view. So it must be with the glowing lives of upright and holy clerics. By the brightness of their holiness they must bring light and serenity to all who gaze upon them. They have been placed here to care for others. Their own lives should be an example to others, showing how they must live in the house of the Lord. 
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Presentation of the Keys to St. Peter, with Saints John of Capistrano

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