Blessed Henry Suzo

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Blessed Henry Suzo


Blessed Henry Suzo was born in 1300 at Constance in Germany. There he entered the Dominican convent at the age of thirteen, and made his preparatory studies in the sacred disciplines. In 1327 he became a teacher of theology, and in 1334 began preaching. In 1343 he was elected prior of a convent at Diessenhofen. Blessed Henry is known especially as a mystic who regarded himself as the servant of Eternal Wisdom become Man. He practiced severe austerities and experienced, along with his visions and ecstasies, bitter persecutions and grievous calumnies.

He assisted in the restoration of strict religious observance in the cloisters, especially in the Dominican convents for women at Katherinentahl and Töss. One of the Superiors in these convents preserved most of his letters and obtained the history of his life, which he himself later edited and published. As a preacher he was highly esteemed in many Swiss and Dutch cities. It is said that for 150 years there was no book of meditation more widely read in the German language than his Little Book of Eternal Wisdom. Blessed Henry translated this work into Latin as well, and added at that time to its contents.

He died in 1366; 250 years later, in 1613, workers in the old convent at Ulm found his body perfectly conserved and emitting a pleasant fragrance. Unfortunately the non-Catholic authorities of the city had the tomb closed; and the Bollandists, famous hagiographists of 19th century France, wrote in 1882 that no trace was any longer known of it. He was declared Blessed in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3. 

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas – Monday After the Second Sunday

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday After the Second Sunday

It was fitting that our Lord should suffer at the hands of the Gentiles

They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked., and scourged and crucified.–Matt. xx. 19.

In the very manner of the Passion of Our Lord its effects are foreshadowed. In the first place, the Passion of Our Lord had for its effect the salvation of Jews, many of whom were baptised in His death.

Secondly, by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of the Passion passed to the Gentiles also. There was thus a certain fitness in Our Lord’s Passion beginning with the Jews and then, the Jews handing Him on, that it should be completed at the hands of the Gentiles.

To show the abundance of the love which moved Him to suffer, Christ, on the very cross, asked mercy for His tormentors. And since He wished that Jew and Gentile alike should realise this truth about His love, so He wished that both should have a share in making Him suffer.

It was the Jews and not the Gentiles who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. The Passion of Christ was an offering through sacrifice, inasmuch as Christ underwent death by His own will moved by charity. But in so far as those who put him to death were concerned, they were not offering a sacrifice but committing a sin.

When the Jews declared, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xix. 31), they may have had many things in mind. It was not lawful for them to put anyone to death on account of the holiness of the feast they had begun to keep. Perhaps they wished Christ to be killed not as a transgressor of their own law but as an enemy of the state, because He had made Himself a king, a charge concerning which they had no jurisdiction. Or again, they may have meant that they had no power to crucify which was what they longed for but only to stone, as they later stoned St. Stephen. Or, the most likely thing of all, that their Roman conquerors had taken away their power of life and death.