St. Andrew Corsini,
Bishop and Confessor
by Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick, 1840
St. Andrew Corsini affords us, in his life, an example from which we may learn how efficacious is the intercession of the Queen of Saints, in withdrawing the sinner from the error of his way, and exciting him to aspire to, and attain, a high degree of perfection. Before the birth of Andrew, he was offered to the Blessed Virgin, by his holy parents as the first fruits of their marriage. On the night in which he was bom, his mother, Peregrina, had a dream which filled her with alarm. It seemed to her, as if she had brought forth a wolf, who, fleeing to a church, was changed into a lamb. This was a picture of what was afterwards to happen to Andrew. His pious parents employed every care and precaution, to bring him up in the fear of God; but, as too often happens, through the influence of bad company, an immoderate desire of play, and neglect of duty, he fell into the greatest disorders. Dissipation hurried him from one vice to another; until he was without affection for his parents, whom he disobeyed without remorse; so that all who knew him were full of apprehension for the future.
Meanwhile, his mother, mindful of her dream, sought consolation from Mary by continual prayer. Andrew, while one day preparing for a party of pleasure, expressed himself in a very disrespectful manner to his mother; she burst into tears, and told him the depth of her affliction. “Indeed, son,” said she, “you are the wolf that I saw in my dream.” Somewhat moved at these words, he said: “What do you say, mother? Am I a wolf?” Peregrina hereupon related the dream that she had had, and also mentioned that, before his birth, she had offered him to the Blessed Virgin. So great was the impression this made on Andrew, that he was unable to sleep during the following night. The thought, that he had been dedicated to the Mother of God occupied his mind. “Virgin Mother,” he at length exclaimed, “because I am thy servant, I will unceasingly serve thee.”
At the break of day, he went to the church of the Carmelites, and prostrating himself before an image of Mary, offered himself up to this merciful Mother, and bade her change this wolf into a lamb. He frequently repeated this prayer; at length it was heard. To serve the holy Virgin in a perfect manner, he asked the prior of the convent to admit him into the order. Having obtained this request, he showed, by the piety of his life, that the dream of his mother was not an idle fancy. Andrew made great advances in virtue, and was soon an experienced master in perfection. He was subsequently ordained priest, in obedience to the orders of his superior, and soon after was made bishop. In all the circumstances of his life, he cherished a fervent devotion to Mary, his powerful protectress; and sought all opportunities of proclaiming her praises. He was called to the nuptials of the heavenly Lamb in 1373, and experienced, in his last hours, the powerful intercession of her, who had procured for him the grace of conversion, and inspired him with the desire for perfection.
O, Queen of heaven and of earth! God has loved and honoured thee above all creatures: and now thou art exalted above all saints in the kingdom of heaven. All admire thy virtue and perfection; all praise, and reverence thee as their Queen. O, glorious Queen! despise not my petitions: accept of my homage, my veneration, and my love. I commend myself to thy powerful protection, and dedicate to thee what I am, and what I have. On thee do I found my hope, for although thou art my Queen, thou art also my gracious, and amiable Mother. Thou has quitted this world, and entered into possession of thy kingdom. Thy elevation has increased thy compassion for the hapless children of Adam. From the sublime throne on which thou art seated, cast thy merciful eyes on the inhabitants of earth, and take pity on them. Thou seest to what dangers they are exposed, as long as they sail on this tempestuous sea, on which so many have been wrecked. Obtain for me perseverance in the grace of God, that on quitting this world I may chant thy praises and benefits, and, in union with thee, give endless praise and glory to our common Creator. Amen.
Resolve to think often of heaven, and make use of every opportunity of impressing yourself with a high idea of its happiness. When you see beautiful objects, think with a holy servant of God, how much more beautiful is God! When you taste any thing that pleases you, think, how much delight is found in the enjoyment of heaven. When you hear fine music, think of the choirs of angels.
Aspiration: O Mary who can refuse to love thee!