Saint Richard of Chichester

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Saint Richard of Chichester

Bishop
(1197-1253)

Saint Richard of Chichester was born in 1197 in a little town a few miles from Worcester, England. He and his elder brother were left orphans while still young, and his brother was imprisoned as a result of their property’s unpaid debts. Richard gave up the studies which he loved, to farm his brother’s impoverished estate. His brother, in gratitude for Richard’s successful labors, proposed to turn over to him all his lands; but he refused both the estates and the offer of a brilliant marriage, to study for the priesthood at Oxford.

In 1235 Saint Richard was appointed, for his learning and piety, chancellor of that University and afterwards chancellor of his diocese by Saint Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury. The new Chancellor stood by the Saint in his long contest with the king, and then accompanied him into exile in France, in the Abbey of Pontigny. After Saint Edmund’s death there, he studied theology in Orleans before returning to England to toil as a simple parish priest. He was, however, soon elected by the Canons of Chichester, when their see became vacant, for their Bishop. This election greatly displeased the king, who had nominated another candidate whom the Canons judged unworthy.

The king in revenge refused to recognize the election, and seized the revenues of the see. Thus Saint Richard found himself fighting the same battle in which Saint Edmund had died. He went to Lyons, where he was consecrated bishop by Innocent IV in 1245, and returning to England he exercised fully his episcopal rights despite his poverty and the king’s hostility, and thoroughly reformed his see. Young and old loved Saint Richard, and after two years his revenues were restored. To feed the poor and heal the sick, he gave all he had and worked miracles; and when the rights or the sanctity of the Church were concerned, he was inexorable.

A priest of noble blood polluted his office by sin; Richard deprived him of his benefice, and refused the king’s petition in his favor. On the other hand, when a knight violently imprisoned a priest, Richard compelled the knight to walk around the priest’s church with the same log of wood on his neck to which he had chained him. And when the burgesses of Lewes tore a criminal from the church and hanged him, Richard made them dig up the body from its unconsecrated grave, and bear it back to the sanctuary they had violated. Richard died in 1253 while preaching, at the Pope’s command, a crusade against the Saracens.

Reflection. As a loyal brother, as Chancellor and as Bishop, Saint Richard faithfully performed each duty of his state without a thought for any personal interest. He who is faithful in little things, will also be faithful in the great ones, declared Our Lord; and the contrary is also an invariable law.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4

Saint Francis of Paola

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Saint Francis of Paola, Confessor

Paola, a small town in Calabria, a province of Naples, was the favored place where St. Francis, who is so celebrated on account if his miracles and virtues, was born. Hence, he is called St. Francis of Paola, to distinguish him from other saints who bear the name of Francis. His parents were not wealthy, but they were very pious. They had been married 16 years, and had no heir, when they made a vow, that if God would give them a son, they would devote him to the service of Religion in the order of St. Francis of Assisi. God heard their prayer, and they, therefore, gave the child the name of Francis. A bright flame was visible over the house of his virtuous parents at the time of the birth of this child of grace, and was considered a sign of his future sanctity.When Francis had reached his 13th year, his parents took him to the monastery in the city of St. Mark that he might in accordance with their vow serve the Franciscan priests living there. From this time, he accustomed himself to a very strict mode of living, which he ever afterwards observed. After a year, he went to a wilderness where he spent six entire years in continued prayer, great austerity and contemplation.He not only abstained from meat, but also from every other food which is pleasing to the taste. Hard bread or a few wild roots were his only food, water his only drink, and he usually partook of his scant repast only in the evening. His bed was a hard stone or the bare ground; he always went barefoot, and daily scourged himself most cruelly. Continue reading

Iúdica me Deus

Dominica I Passionis

Introitus
Ps 42:1-2.

Iúdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iníquo et dolóso éripe me: quia tu es Deus meus et fortitúdo mea.

Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight against a faithless people; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me. For You are my God and my strength.

Ps 42:3
Emítte lucem tuam et veritátem tuam: ipsa me de duxérunt et adduxérunt in montem sanctum tuum et in tabernácula tua.

Send forth Your light and Your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling-place.

Iúdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iníquo et dolóso éripe me: quia tu es Deus meus et fortitúdo mea.

Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight against a faithless people; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me. For You are my God and my strength.

Dominica I Passionis

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Dominica I Passionis

Evangelium
Ioann 8:46-59

At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: Which of you can convict Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God. The Jews therefore in answer said to Him, Are we not right in saying that You are a Samaritan, and have a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. Yet, I do not seek My own glory; there is One Who seeks and Who judges. Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep My word, he will never see death. The Jews therefore said, Now we know that You have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and You say, ‘If anyone keep My word he will never taste death.’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself? Jesus answered, If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father Who glorifies Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you do not know Him, but I know Him. And if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be like you, a liar. But I know Him, and I keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see My day. He saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am. They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.