Volume I, Issue 2




ear Readers!

Greetings in the Lord! It is my pleasure to write to you once again on the front page of the second issue of Anthony Alive. This time I would like to invite you to reflect in your heart upon the theme: the Eucharist— “the source and summit of all Christian life”. I could not think of a better month to write about the Eucharist than the month of November. Why? For Americans and those living in the United States of America the month of November is a unique month of giving thanks to God for all His blessings. The celebration of THANKSGIVING historically, first occurred in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts as pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast. Nowadays, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November as established by President Roosevelt in 1941. On Thanksgiving Day, families throughout the country gather around the table to partake, share, and celebrate the Thanks(cont.)

November 2007 INTRODUCTION by Fr. Robert B. Kosek, CRSP ST. ANTHONY’S DOCTRINE • The Teachings on CHARITY • The Famous Sayings • Sermon IV on CHARITY REFLECTIONS & MEDITATIONS • Eucharist - The Bread of Life by Fr. Tony Sarno, CRSP • The Most Holy Eucharist by Fr. L. Visconti, CRSP • St. Anthony & The Forty Hours by Fr. Peter Bonardi, CRSP • Our Spiritual Umbilical Cord by Mary Grace • Awesome Wonder by Sr. Rorivic P. Israel, ASP • SAMZ Rhyme by Sr. Rorivic P. Israel, ASP • And the Bridge is Love by Fr. R. Delzingaro, CRSP • My First Holy Communion by Elizabeth, Peter, & Matthew Gambino OUTSTANDING BARNABITES • “Apostle of Corsica” Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop • The Little Flowers of Saint Alexander Sauli OBLATES OF SAINT PAUL, (OSP) • Love for the Eucharist… by Rosaire Johnson, OSP

This Issue

Thanksgiving Prayer
“Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite. On Thanksgiving Day we come before you with gratitude for your kindness: open our hearts to concern for our fellow men and women, so that we may share your gifts in loving service.”

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
From the Barnabite Fathers and the Staff of Anthony Alive
Image by R. Kosek/Gambino

Introduction St. Anthony’s Doctrine

giving meal and much more—to give thanks to God. That is why, here in the States, Thanksgiving is considered a very significant family celebration. What a striking resemblance to the Eucharistic celebration, where the word Eucharist in Greek, eucharistia, means thanksgiving. In the celebration of the Eucharist we are invited to become more and more aware of the unfathomable and incomprehensible Gift of gifts—God himself. It is in the Eucharist that Jesus entrusted “to his Church this memorial of his death and Resurrection. It is a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet, in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us” (Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 271). How can one ever repay such a Gift of love—who is God himself? The only response a human can offer to God is to love Him back – by giving to him unceasing thanks with a grateful heart. However, we are all acutely aware of how hard it is for us as humans to reach this summit of gratefulness and to live as Eucharistic people—through the Eucharist, in the Eucharist, and with the Eucharist. It is not surprising to read about the Apostles’ request made to our Lord, “Increase our faith” ( Lk 17:5). Therefore, like the Apostles, we implore Jesus to “increase our faith,”and our cry does not go unheard.

understanding of the relationship between the Eucharistic mystery, the liturgical action, and the new spiritual worship which derives from the Eucharist as the sacrament of charity”(no. 5). This three-step movement is essential to our becoming a people who live and give thanks to God. In order to do so, one must believe in the Eucharist which is a “mystery of faith par excellence: the sum and summary of our faith”(no. 6). Once the Eucharist is believed, then it is celebrated in the liturgical context in the Church, thus strengthening “the connection between the lex orandi and the lex credend” [the law of prayer is the law of belief] (no. 35). Finally, the one who believes and liturgically celebrates is called to live it everyday.

“Christianity’s new worship includes and transfigures every aspect of life: ‘Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10:31). Christians, in all their actions, are called to offer true worship to God. Here, the intrinsically Eucharistic nature of Christian life begins to take shape. The Eucharist, since it embraces the concrete, everyday existence of the believer, makes possible, day by day, the progressive transfiguration of all those called by grace to reflect the image of the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:29ff.). There is nothing authentically human – our thoughts and affections, our In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacra- words and deeds – that does not find in the sacramentum Caritatis, it is clear that the Holy Father, ment of the Eucharist the form it needs to be lived Pope Benedict XVI, wishes to respond to this ever- to the full. Here we can see the full human import present yearning of God’s people, “increase our of the radical newness brought by Christ in the Eufaith.” When he writes that the document is “aimed charist: the worship of God in our lives cannot be at a renewed commitment to Eucharistic enthu- relegated to something private and individual, but siasm and fervor in the Church”– and wishes to tends by its nature to permeate every aspect of our encourage– “the Christian people to deepen their existence. Worship pleasing to God thus becomes a


Introduction St. Anthony’s Doctrine

new way of living our whole life, each particular moment of which is lifted up, since it is lived as part of a relationship with Christ and as an offering to God. The glory of God is the living man (cf. 1 Cor 10:31). And the life of man is the vision of God” (no. 71). For St. Anthony Zaccaria it meant to be completely transformed by God’s love, “…so that we might imitate Him and love Him to His honor” (Famous Sayings on Charity, 1). Since love’s nature is divine it “can never be completely explained or defined, nor can it be understood in any way. It surpasses all things, because charity is God Himself” (ibid., 40). Love alone is worth everything.
(St. Anthony M. Zaccaria)

Yours in Christ, Fr. Robert B. Kosek, CRSP The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of Divine Providence Nov. 17, 2007 Bethelehem, PA USA

Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of Divine Providence, protect our life and sanctify us with the gift of grace. Obtain for us from the Father of mercy and the God of consolation pardon for our sins, reconciliation with our brothers and sisters, and comfort in the midst of afflictions. (…) Amen.

St. Anthony’s Doctrine

The Teaching on Charity


The Teachings on… harity Translated by Fr. Frank Papa, CRSP
“God’s love is indeed needed; …, and its means is the love of neighbor.” [Sermon IV] ries the burden.” We can conclude then: “The love of God is indeed needed; without His love we can do nothing; everything relies on it” (Sermon IV).

Love of God

Charity is, first of all, love of God. The theme of the sermon is love. ‘’Love is the only virtue that counts. Ah the other virtues do not count at all without love” (Sermon IV). Here, Zaccaria, using chapter 13 of the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, gives a long list of examples to prove his point. He concludes: “If eloquence has no value, because it proceeds from ‘wise argumentation;’ if science (has no value), because it ‘inflates;’ if faith (has no value) because without works it is dead; if the very works are useless when they do not proceed out of love: it is rather imperative, it is necessary - I tell you - to have this love, which makes you pleasing to God” (Sr IV). These last words reveal the profound reason for the need of charity: without it, man is not pleasing to God; it is charity (which, then, is identified with gratia gratum faciens, that is, sanctifying grace) that makes man pleasing to God, and enables him to become the subject of all other virtues. To further demonstrate the need of charity, Anthony Mary speaks about the “way of charity,” which can be followed in two ways. It has been followed from the top to the bottom. “Why did the Son of God come down on earth, if not to bring love? .. Oh, great mercy! Oh, immense love! God has humbled Himself so much, so that man could love Him again, and through this love be saved! “ (Sermon IV). But the “way of charity” has to be followed in the other way too, that is, from the bottom to the top. The “straight road to heaven” is “so narrow and difficult” that it, cannot be followed “without delight” without being sustained by love: “It is not possible to go through these difficulties, and to carry this burden, without love, since it is love that car-

Love of Our Neighbor

Secondly, charity is love of our neighbor. The love of our neighbor is a sacrament, that is, a sign and an instrument of the love of God: “One and the same helps you to acquire it, to increase it, to augment it, and in addition it shows when it is there. Do you know what it is? It is charity, the love of our neighbor” (Sermon IV). On its part, the love of our neighbor embraces friends and enemies, according to the following rule: “To love friends in Him, and to love enemies because of Him” (Sermon III), an affirmation taken directly from Gregory the Great who says: “Caritas vera est amicum diligere in Deo et inimicum diligere propter Deum” (Homiliae in Evangelia). The love of our neighbor is translated in acts of mercy recalled by the Saint in these terms: “... feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick, free the prisoner. Plan your activities, perform them for love of God, have a right intention, select the best, do the right, and in every thing be motivated by charity” (Sermon III, cf Sermon IV, where he talks about “the final account of Judgment Day”). Zaccaria dwells a lot in illustrating the need for human mediation in our relationship with God and concludes summing up his thought: “If this, my friend, does not seem enough, we cannot have a true experience except through man, since God is spirit and man body. God usually operates in this way: one man with another. Man has been healed


through that very means which got him sick; and, since the passions belong to the body, only through another man he can be freed from them. If all I have said so far fails to convince you that love of God is effected and manifested by love of neighbor, be at least convinced by this, that for this very reason God became man” (Sermon I). Another practical application of this principle is apostolic charity, recalled by Gabuzio (Historia) in a very moving episode: “One day, after the death of Anthony Mary, Fr. Soresina, overcome by laziness, or because he was tired, postponed the confession of a sick person. The following night, before falling asleep, he heard clearly the voice, well known to him of Zaccaria: ‘Sir Battista, my good brother, where is the love taught to us by our Paul? Why did you neglect that soul?’” (Appendix A, in Writings of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Youngstown, NY, 1998, (unpublished).

The Teaching of St. Anthony…

Image by R. Kosek, 2007


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

The Famous Sayings on Charity By Fr. Giovanni M. Scalese, CRSP Translated and revised by Fr. Anthony M. Bianco, CRSP and

(Notable Sayings), a recognized masterpiece of 16th century Italian Spirituality, is a moot question. A collection of 871 sayings selected from the writings of several authors, it treats of various facets of the spiritual life. It was first published in Venice in 1538. Its editor, a former Barnabite, Giovanni Paolo Folperto, describes it as a series of quotations compiled by the Reverend Father Anthony Mary Zaccaria of Cremona. First Barnabite historians, Mazenta, Tornielli, Gabuzio, did not agree with Folperto. They rejected Anthony Mary’s alleged authorship as spurious. As a matter of fact, nothing in Barnabite tradition proves Anthony Mary’s alleged authorship as authentic. On the other hand, it is historically ascertained that, even among Barnabites, a Book of Sayings was attributed to Fra Battista da Crema. In addition, Serafino Aceti de Fermo, in his works quotes several sayings of Fra Battista, which by and large correspond to the sayings in the Detti Notabili. It must be remembered, however, that controversial Fra Battista was twice condemned by the Church for Semi-Pelagianism, in 1552 and 1564. Probably, in order to save the Detti Notabili from the same fate, Folperto changed the work’s title and ascribed it to unassailable Anthony Mary. Afterwards, no one doubted Anthony Mary’s paternity of his work, beginning with the first published history of the Barnabite Order by Father Anacleto Secco (1682). It was only in the 1930’s that Dominican Father Innocenzo Colosio reclaimed Fra Battista’s paternity of Detti Notabili. However, a compilation such as the Detti Notabili hardly fits Fra Battista’s modus operandi. He preferred to write treatises. On the other hand, Anthony Mary liked to collect aphorisms. Typically, as we have seen, in his university notebook, he wrote down philosophical quotations. Some suggest that, after Fra Battista’s death, Anthony Mary extrapolated quotations from his works and arranged them thematically. However, others hold that, both in style and content, these sayings are entirely original. 6


Fr. Gabriel M. Patil, CRSP

The Famous Sayings on… harity The authorship of the famous Detti Notabili

Image by R. Kosek

* From the Introduction to the Writings of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Youngstown, NY, 1998, (unpublished) pp. 1-26

St. Anthony’s Doctrine

The Famous Sayings on Charity

1. Charity is the love of God by which we are loved by Him so that we might imitate Him and love Him to His honor. 2. Charity seeks only the pure honor of God and the pure contempt of oneself. 3. Charity is a spontaneous and unsurpassed delight of God by which, without despair, one reaches real and perfect abnegation of oneself. 4. Charity is loving God unconditionally with all one’s heart. It is loving Him with all one’s mind, always keeping Him in thought. It is loving Him with all one’s soul, forgoing any sensuality or pleasure; and with all one’s strength, so that even in adversity one never feels burdened. 5. Charity keeps every virtue and discards every vice. Therefore, a vicious person cannot be considered charitable. 6. Charity is an enduring heart that faces moments of joy as well as sorrow. It does not fear suffering; rather, it rejoices in times of difficulty and pain. 7. Charity is purification of the mind. It sees that which is advantageous to God’s honor, profitable to our well-being, and beneficial to the welfare of others. 8.Although charity may come with a reward, he who seeks the reward for selfish motives will go on wanting. 9. Charity continues to stimulate life and energy until it becomes perfect. 10. Charity does not get cold with time, nor does it become lukewarm in tribulation. It does not tire from toil, but returns with greater vigor to the work already started.

and malicious is full of rancor. 15. Charity is neither pompous nor ambitious. Therefore, anyone who always seeks acclaim is deprived of it. 16. Charity does not seek for itself. Selfishness excludes charity. 17. Charity does not get angry. It does not think negatively nor does it judge harshly. Instead, it excuses every fault and overlooks the defects of others. 18. Charity does not rejoice over the misfortunes of others, but delights in their successes and grieves over their sins. 19. Charity bears all ills, believes in every good, hopes in every difficult and naturally impossible thing and, like a solid rock, sustains every burden without faltering. 20. Charity never fails. It continues to grow even if faith and hope have ceased. 21. Many think of loving their neighbor based solely on natural affection and not on charity. This perception does not have any merit. 22. He who regards himself to be charitable must be prepared to suffer for the well-being of others. 23. Charity is no less concerned or less affable towards an enemy than towards a friend.

The first cover page of The Famous Sayings of St. Anthony, Venice 1583

11. Charity becomes inactive and sluggish if it does not do great things. 12. Most of the time under the pretext of charity, the essence of interior chastity is defeated. 13. If you want to know if you have charity in you, understand that it is patient and kind. If you are hard and impatient with others, you are far from charitable. 14. Charity does not know envy or malice. He who is envious


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

The Famous Sayings on Charity

24. Charity does not reprove the enemy, but strives to make amends for the wrong he has done. Charity knows no enemy and shows graciousness to all. 25. Charity makes us realize that we need adversaries to whom we are called to practice benevolence and friendliness. 26. Charity naturally warms the heart. At other times, it makes the heart cold, depending on the diversity of emotions. 27. When charity is shown in great abundance, it brings about in man an unusual increase of physical and spiritual strength. 28. Charity makes the face glow and changes its appearance, making it lovable and admirable to behold.

29. Charity casts away every inflicting fear of whatever frightful thing, especially that of hearing God say in His wrath, “I condemn you to eternal punishment.” 30. Charity completely eliminates every feeling of shame or disgrace. 31. Charity does not leave the mind in its usual condition. It breaks any strict mentality. It is far better that our mind follows the impulse and movement of the spirit. 32. Charity brings light that makes it better known by him who possesses it. 33. He who possesses charity perceives better in an instant

what another does not perceive for a long time. With just a glance, he already sees many familiar things. 34. Charity utters words that cannot be understood, or indeed are difficult to grasp. 35. Charity always makes some gestures and movements, or says some words, which may seem foolish to those who are unenlightened. 36. There is nothing so displeasing or deadly that charity might not consider pleasing and enjoyable. 37. Charity continuously perseveres in prayer and does not tire from contemplating. At times while working, it lifts up the spirit to God. 38. Charity overcomes the appetite and loses one’s discernment for food. 39. Charity reflects more clearly and more significantly the wisdom of God and the knowledge of natural things more than all the books of Philosophy. 40. Lastly, charity never grows weary. Its nature can never be completely explained or defined, nor can it be understood in any way. It surpasses all things, because charity is God Himself.

Image by R. Kosek

St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity


by St. Anthony Zaccaria Sermon IV on… Text translated by the late harity Fr. Luciano M. Visconti, CRSP (1917–2006)

Originally formatted by Fr. Giovanni M. Scalese, CRSP and translated by Fr. Gabriel M. Patil, CRSP

Sermon IV is divided in two parts. Part One deals with love. Part Two treats the Fourth Commandment. Part One is subdivided in two sections: Section I deals with the love of God and Section II with the love of neighbor. At this point Part One is being presented.

[I] The Love of God

[I.A] Thesis: Any virtue without love is worth nothing. My very dear friends, Love alone is worth everything; any other virtue without love is worth nothing. [I.A.1] Speaking Consider, in fact, eloquence. This is a great and excellent quality indeed, particularly useful for governing citizens and keeping them in peace and order. Accordingly, Moses meant just that when, unwilling to assume the leadership of the people of Israel, he said to the Lord God: “I am tongue-tied; [...] Send, Lord, the man whom as a matter of fact You are going to send” [ Exod 4:10]. This same thing was meant by another prophet who said: “Ah, Lord God! Don’t send me, for I am too young and I don’t know how to speak” [Jer 1:6]. Nevertheless, such quality is not so useful; rather it is very harmful without love, for it is like a tree full of leaves but with very, very few fruits. That eloquence is worthless or worth very little is proven by the manner Holy Scripture speaks to us. Its speech is so plain, in words so common and easy to understand, that it confounds wordmongers and chatterboxes among whom are those who make long prayers while wearing large phylacteries. That is why Paul, wishing to stress this very point, said: “If I speak very eloquently in the languages of man and angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong and a clanging bell” [1 Cor 13:1] -- not unlike the bell that calls everybody else to religious services, but is never there. Do you know who are included in this category? Those of whom Christ said that they sail around the world to make a single proselyte [Matt 23:15], or a


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Sermon IV on Charity

Christian, or a convert; those who open the door to others and teach others, but do not teach themselves [Rom 2:21]. What does it profit you if you settle other people’s quarrels, but not your own? What does it profit you if you convince others to overcome their passions, but you do not overcome your own? What good is it for you if you spend beautiful words on the subject of perfection, and then, as a hypocrite, you destroy it by your actions? Watch out, my friends, lest you find yourselves among such people. [I.A.2] Knowing But if eloquence does not seem to you to be a great quality, knowledge certainly is such an excellent thing that everybody wishes to have it. You have been taught by Adam how great is its value when, for the pleasure of becoming like God in the knowledge of good and evil, he disobeyed the commandment of the Lord God. But no matter how excellent quality knowledge is, it, too, is of very small advantage, as Solomon can prove to you by his own story. For, notwithstanding his great public and world wide reputation for having superior knowledge, he is believed by some to have ended up at the bottom of hell. Even if this were not true, he cannot be cleared of the fact that, despite all his great wisdom, he committed countless and grave sins of lust and of idolatry. Indeed, the servant who knows his master’s will and does not do it, will be punished more severely, as Christ says [Luke 12:47]. I am not telling you of this regarding only the knowledge of worldly things, but even more regarding the knowledge of God’s secrets, like having the prophetic gift, and knowledge of supernatural things by the prophetic light, as proven by that most evil prophet, Balaam, by his own ruin [Num 31:8]. And with far greater reason I affirm the uselessness of the knowledge of things that God alone knows, and we too come to know by faith -- even

that faith which empowers man to work miracles. This is what Christ teaches you when He says: “Many will come on the day of judgment, even on the day of their death, and say, ‘Lord, in your name we worked miracles, didn’t we?’” [Matt 7: 22-23] And He will answer: “I solemnly tell you, I do not know you” [Matt 25:12]. The Apostle Paul, whom I have previously quoted, confirms what I am talking about, saying, “If I had all knowledge, and knew also the mysteries and secrets of God, and if I had besides such a great faith as to move the mountains, which would move and stop elsewhere, yet I had not love, I would be nothing” [1 Cor 13:2]. [I.A.3] Doing Do you wish, dear friends, to see more clearly into our subject? Let us examine the virtues that generally proceed from love. They are almsgiving and martyrdom. Almsgiving, without love, profits nothing, rather it causes harm. Recall what Christ said to those Pharisees who gave out alms while, to attract everybody’s attention, had a horn blown. What did Christ say? “Truly you have received your reward” [Matt 6:2] -- a reward that is none other but the glory of men. And “how can you believe, who receive glory from one another?” [John 5:44] But without believing, it is impossible to be saved. Enough about martyrdom. Let me only add that people much too often risk their lives, if not for plainly evil reasons, at least to save their own honor. O how many “saints” -- rather, to be exact, how many people who but “ape the saints” -- have died for some honor which they had labored to attain, and ultimately acquired, and then lost all of a sudden! Don’t these first-class-hypocrites, like the Pharisees, suffer a daily martyrdom by disciplining


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity

their bodies, either for their own glory, or for any other reason? Suffice it to say that they do not do that out of love, and so it profits them nothing. This is confirmed by what Paul said, “If I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have love, it profits me nothing” [1 Cor 13:3].


Conclude, then, my friends, that: if eloquence is worthless, for it is based on “the plausible words of wisdom” [1 Cor 2:4]; if knowledge is worthless, for “it puffs up” [1 Cor 8:1]; if faith is worthless, for “without works is dead” [Jas 2:26]; and if even works are worthless when they do not proceed from love; then, what is necessary, yes, I emphasize, necessary, is to have love -- the love of God, the love that makes you pleasing to Him. [I.B] Illustration of the thesis: Love is a two-way street. [I.B.1] Love led God from heaven to earth. Do you wish to understand this truth? Why did the Son of God come down on earth if not to bring love on the earth? He said: “I have brought fire to earth; I want nothing but it be kindled” [Luke 12:49]. Man was God’s enemy and hated Him; it was, therefore, necessary for man to be reconciled with His Majesty. No reconciliation could, of course, be achieved by man through another man because both were the object of God’s wrath; and, moreover, man is deceitful and ignorant of too many things. Neither could it be achieved through an angel, since the latter had no such duty. The angel had not sinned, and, most of all, he could not assume human flesh. That is why God came down from heaven to earth. It


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity

was He who was able to do it, knew how, and had to do it because He chose to become true man -- a man, innocent and undefiled. Furthermore, coming to meet His enemy, God made him love Himself anew by the sheer force of love. O limitless mercy! O infinite love! God humbled Himself so much in order that man might love Him back, and through this love be saved. [I.B.2] Love leads us from earth to heaven. [I.B.2.a] The road to heaven is narrow. You can better understand how useful and necessary this love is -- for it alone can lead you to the harbor of salvation -- by the following considerations: - Do you, perhaps, think that the straight way to heaven is to have possessions? No. Christ said that it is difficult for the rich to be saved [Matt 19:23], and that riches are like thorns [Luke 8:14]. In fact, He set an example for us, He chose extreme poverty. - Do you think that it is to enjoy honors? No, Christ chose reproaches. “My heart has waited for insults, etc.” [Ps 69:21]. [Therefore] shun honors. - Do you think that it is to live in pleasurable comfort? No, Christ said that those who live in comfort and dress in fancy clothes are in kings’ houses [Matt 11:8]. Christ experienced heat and cold, hunger and thirst; spent beautiful long nights in prayer [Luke 6:12]. [And He could rightly say]: “I am afflicted from my youth” [Ps 88:16]. - Do you think that it is to enjoy men’s favors? No, Christ was hated by most people, as also many saints have been. He even said: “If they hate and persecute the master, it is no surprise if they hate and persecute his disciples” [John 15:20]. In short, He concludes that “It was necessary for Christ to suffer these things and then to enter His glory” [Luke 24:26].

[I.B.2.b] The road to heaven cannot be traveled without love. Therefore, my friends, who could go through so many dangers, hardships, troubles and afflictions, if he were not uplifted by love? No one. What traveler, no matter how light-footed and prudent, could walk on so narrow and so rough a road without getting some delight? What lover, deeply infatuated with his beloved, could ever leave her, were it not for another one? Could we, then, drunk with visible and ever present things -- and necessary things, besides -- give up loving them, were it not for a greater love compelling us to do so? No way! In fact, hatred for one thing originates from love of another: hatred for temporal things originates from love of heavenly things. What kind of hatred is this? It is the hatred for father and mother, for husband and wife, for sons and daughters, for brothers and sisters; the hatred for property, for money, and for everything we see, even the hatred for oneself [Luke 14:26]. Consider what a great love is demanded of us: a love that can be none other but the love of God. That is why Christ said that He came to turn a husband against his wife, etc., and that our very enemies are the members of our own families [Matt 10:35]. And again, He said: “If any one does not hate his own father, etc., and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” [Luke 14:26]. O my friends, in what predicament bad Christians find themselves as they see that this is the only road left for them to climb! But how happy good Christians are as they find themselves free from any attachment, for on account of this, neither sword, nor fire, nor height, nor depth, nor an angel, nor any other creature will be able to separate them from their infinite blessedness [Rom 8:38]. And in losing everything, they find everything [2 Cor 6:10].


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity


Draw then this conclusion: If eloquence does not profit, if knowledge is of no benefit, if prophecy is of little worth, if working miracles does not make anyone pleasing to God, and if even almsgiving and martyrdom are of no avail without love, - if it has been necessary, or most convenient, for the Son of God to come down on earth to show the way of charity and love of God, - if it is necessary for anyone who wants to live in union with Christ to suffer tribulations and adversities [2 Tim 3:12] according to what Christ, the only teacher, has taught by words and actions, - and if no one can go through these difficulties, carrying this load without love, for love alone lightens the load, - then the love of God is necessary. Yes, without God’s love nothing can be accomplished, whereas everything depends on this love. Thus, if love is so necessary (for indeed it is, as you surely understood) how do you fare with it, my friends? O misery greater than any other misery! O unhappiness greater than any other unhappiness! O grief greater than any other grief! All the other worries and troubles of this world urge you, keep you awake during the night and do not let you rest for a moment; yet you go through this misery unconcerned. O my friends, you shall come to understand it later on; you shall see it and experience it, and worse yet you shall be eternally in such torments and pains.

[II] Love of Neighbor

[II.A] First series of reasons. You can understand, my friends, how necessary the love of God is; and if you have a brain (as indeed you do), you will wish to know how to acquire this love as well as to find out whether it is in you. One and the same thing helps you acquire, expand, and increase it more and more, and reveals it as well when it is present. Can you guess what it is? It is love -- the love of your neighbor. [II.A.1] God sets humans as a testing ground for us. God is a long way from our direct experience; God is spirit [John 4:24]; God works in an invisible fashion. Thus, His spiritual activity cannot be seen except with the eyes of the mind and of the spirit, which in most people are blind, and in all are wavering and no longer accustomed to seeing. But man is approachable, man is body; and when we do something to him, the deed is seen. Now, since He has no need of our things, whereas man does, God has set man as a testing ground for us. In fact, if you have a friend very dear to you, you will also hold dear those things he loves and cherishes. Therefore, since God holds man in great esteem, as He has shown, you would show meanness and indeed little love for God, if you did not think very highly of what He bought at a great price.


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity

[II.A.2] God acts through humans. And if this is not enough, tell me, my friends: does God not work in creatures through creatures? Of course, He does. God follows this pattern by employing man even when He works miracles. He led the people of Israel by the hand of Moses [Ps 77: 21]; governed that people by Samuel’s instructions [1 Sam 7:15]. This very pattern has also been kept by God in specific circumstances of some people: He brought Samuel to the fulfillment of his vocation through Eli, who was far from being a good priest [1 Sam 3:1ff.]; He instructed Paul, whom He had blinded [Acts 9:8], through Ananias [Acts 9: 17]. And so, any time man wished to move toward God, it was -- as is still now -- necessary for him to go through another man. That is what Paul teaches above all about Christ who, as he states, is our mediator, the one who is always interceding for us [Heb 7:25]. According to John Climacus, the holy monks [of the desert] were used to repeating a saying (to be properly understood, though), namely, that it would be better for you to have God angry with you than your spiritual director. For, when God is angry with you, your spiritual director can pray for you; whereas, when your spiritual director is angry with you, who will pray for you? [St. John Climacus, PL 88, 416-417] They meant to say that it is necessary for you to go to God through man. [II.A.3] God saves us through humans. (Mary through Jesus). Alas! dear friends, through whom did man, that is Adam, sin? Through a human being, that is Eve, his wife. Likewise, through a human being, that is, through the holy Virgin Mother, Our Lady the Virgin Mary, God willed to deliver humankind. As a prefiguration of this event, Judith saved her people from the destruction of Holofernes [Jdt 13:10ff.], and Esther from the persecution of Haman at the time of King Ahasuerus [Esth 9:14].

[II.A.4] We correct our defects with help from other humans. And again, if man is to walk with God and acquire His love, he must purify himself by getting rid of all his passions, which as a whole have their origin in the body and thus need remedies, directions, and stimuli from the body. Gluttony is a bodily vice; hence, it needs a bodily correction. Fornication, evidently, needs no explanation. Anger is so connected with the body that it sometimes blinds a person: ablaze with anger, one is absolutely unable to see. Greed encompasses possessions and any other visible things. Depression “dries up the bones” [Prov 17:22]. Sloth benumbs all the senses. Vainglory and pride have indeed their roots in the soul, but from bodily things they get plenty of stench and evil. Some people glory in and take pride in themselves for their possessions; others in bodily displays of their saintliness; and still others with their dignities and honors, etc. -- all things related to the body. Who is going to help you, then, extirpate these evil roots? No one else but man: either by avoiding him, as in the case of lust, or by allowing him to spur you on and even impel you, or by doing favors for him as well as by receiving favors from him, or by any other possible way, as long as man is involved. [II.B] Second series of reasons. [II.B.1] Incarnation If you, my friends, do not think it sufficient to say that, since God is spirit and man is corporeal, there is no other way to prove our love for God except through man, that God’s way to deal with man is through another man, that man is to be healed by what made him ill, that, furthermore, since passions are bodily, man is to be delivered from them by means of another man, and if these consider-


St. Anthony’s Doctrine

Sermon IV on Charity

ations seem insufficient to get you to believe that the love of neighbor both effects the love of God and manifests it, let this fact, at least, convince you: God became man for just this reason.

Now then, well aware that it is impossible for man to do everything well at all times unless he musters all his powers to fulfill his duties toward his neighbor, I want briefly to explain the fourth commandment. If you keep it with utmost diligence, God will [II.B.2] Christ’s new commandment. admirably help you beyond all expectations. What Christ said: “This is my commandment, that you I am now going to tell you, will give you an oplove one another” [John 15:12]. “By this all men portunity to investigate for yourselves many, many will know that you are my disciples, if you love one other things. another” [John 13:35]. [II.B.3] Last judgment. In the reckoning at the last judgment He will say: “Depart from me, you cursed, etc.; for I was hungry, etc..” And in answer to those who would ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, etc.,” He will say: “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me”[Matt 25:41-44]. [II.B.4] Paul’s example. So necessary is this love that Paul expressed his desire to be accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of his brothers [Rom 9:3]. Well, my friends, you can read in all of Scriptures that God has made your neighbor the road to reach His Majesty.

Conclusion of Part One

Therefore, do you wish to climb the mountain of perfection? Do you wish to get some spiritual gift? Do you wish to love God and be dear to Him and be His good children? Love your neighbor; take your neighbor as your compass; resolve to do good to your neighbor and never to offend him. By keeping the first three commandments of the law, man directs all his life -- will and intellect, words and actions -- toward God. By keeping the other seven, he lives a virtuous life with his neighbor.


Reflections and Meditations

Eucharist, The Bread Of Life


“The surest proof then of your return to God is that you go back to this food [Eucharist]...Nothing can make you holier than this sacrament.” (Sermon III)

Euchar st The Bread of L fe
by Fr. Tony Sarno, CRSP

here are two aspects that we should look at when examining the first part of this quote. The first deals with thev context within which this sacrament is celebrated. Of course we are talking about the Celebration of the Eucharist, also referred to as “Mass.” For both Christians and non-Christians the Mass can be explained as the gathering of the community of believers united together as one in Christ for worship and growth in the image of Christ individually and communally through the sacrament and the celebrative gathering. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that one who chooses to sin separates oneself from the faith community and cannot partake in the Eucharistic sacrament. They are living outside of being one with Christ, outside of the state of grace. A Catholic Christian needs to be one in faith and one in grace to partake of the Eucharistic food; nevertheless, they are not ostracized from the celebrative gathering of the Mass. One who is in sin and chooses to partake of the celebration of the Eucharist is commencing a return to God. They are nourished by Christ in Word (the Scripture readings and Homily) and through the gathering of the faith community. This prepares them to hunger for the Bread of Life. The Eucharist, as the sacramental Bread of Life, is the second aspect of meditation on this quote. One is in common union (communion) with Christ and the faith community when he is no longer separated from the state of grace.

By being in the state of grace and living in the ways of the Holy Spirit, especially for the communicant of the Eucharist, one can grow in holiness. When one grows in holiness, one also grows in living the Gospel virtues. A virtuous person would not be prayerful in church and unkind and nasty in the parking lot. The virtuous communicant will practice both patience and humility. One’s life becomes an image of Christ, the Sacrament of which he partakes. This is a witness to others, in grace and in sin, of a life in union with God.

Examination of Conscience

1) At any time, do I take the Eucharist as a celebration and as a sacrament for granted and receive Holy Communion even though I am not in the state of grace? 2) Have I tried to grow in virtuous holiness and overcome those ways that impede me from partaking in the Eucharist? (Some may see growth by the sins they speak of in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Repetition and number can be an aid in viewing our growth.) 3) Do I simply “attend” Mass, or do I “actively participate” in it? 4) How does my life reflect the Eucharist after having received Holy Communion?


Reflections and Meditations

The Most Holy Eucharist


The Most Holy Euchar st
by late Fr. Luciano M. Visconti, CRSP (1917–2006)

fter our presentation of two of the sacraments of initiation, Baptism and Confirmation, we come now to consider at a greater length the third one, the Most Holy Eucharist: the crown of the initiation process into Christian faith and the goal of all the sacraments, which actually depend on it. It is proper that in dealing with the Eucharist we begin with the Real Presence, for in it do all the other aspects of this sacrament depend: “O Sacred Banquet! Here Christ is received, here the memory of His passion is recalled, our spirit is filled with grace, the pledge of future glory is given us.” “Daddy, let’s go again to that church where Jesus is alive,” begged the little girl during one of those customary strolls through the town that she took with her father in the evenings. Out of sheer curiosity, they had once entered a Catholic church. With keen observation, the little girl had noticed the glowing sanctuary lamp hanging by the tabernacle. “What’s that for, Daddy?” she asked, pointing to the lamp. “Catholics believe,” he replied, “that Jesus is really present in the tabernacle. The lamp is always kept lit as a reminder of that belief.” A few years later, the little Protestant girl took instructions in the Catholic faith and entered the Church “where Jesus is alive.” A far cry from the disparaging exclamation of a Catholic teenager towards the sacred Host I heard once, “Oh, that thing!” Incidentally, the casual attitude of some Catholics towards the Blessed Sacrament has become worrisome.

always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). From then on, Jesus became for His followers not a mere memory of a dead man, no matter how great and important for them, but a living and active presence. The Church, herself, is the witness of Christ’s resurrection, and her life and activity are a constant testimony that JESUS LIVES. Christ is indeed alive and present in His Church in manifold ways: when she prays (Mt 18:20); when she performs her works of mercy (Mt 25:40); when she leads her children in the struggle to reach eternal life; when she preaches God’s Word; when she governs God’s people, precisely with Christ’s power; when, “in a manner still more sublime,” she administers the sacraments and offers in His name the sacrifice of the Mass (cf. Pope Paul VI, Encyclical The Mystery of Faith, 1965; Vatican II, S.C. n. 7). All of these different ways of Christ being present in the Church are certainly true and remarkable for their fruitfulness and worthy of consideration. “They confront the Church,“ as Paul VI puts it “with a mystery ever to be pondered” (ibid.). But in these varied modes of presence, Jesus is only seen in His spiritual and mystical action on the Church, His Mystical Body. Far surpassing is His presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This is the Presence par excellence, rightly called the “Real Presence,” not, of course, in opposition of the aforementioned kinds of His presence - as though they were not real - but, because it contains the historical Jesus who died and arose for us and is glorious in heaven, though in a singular way, as we shall see. It was this presence that the little girl of our story - however unaware of the profound truth - was referring to in her awed entreaty.

1. Jesusʼ Manifold Presence in the Church

Ascending into heaven after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus did not break His bonds with His followers; rather, He firmly assured the Apostles, on their way to making all peoples disciples of His, with a solemn promise: “And, I am with you


Reflections and Meditations Reflections and Meditations

The Most Holy Eucharist

2. Historical Origin of the Faith in the Real Presence

The Church’s centuries-old faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist - as sacrifice and sacrament - is fully guaranteed by the words Jesus pronounced over the bread and the wine at the most solemn moment of His life “on the night when He was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23), the night before He died on the cross, at the Last Supper with His Twelve, when He poured out His heart saying: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15). Those words and related actions are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Mk 14:22-25; Mt 26:22-25; Lk 22:14-20) and in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (11:23–25). In a truly historical account, the Evangelists faithfully gathered and recorded what Jesus did at the Last Supper and bade the Twelve do themselves. But by the time they wrote the Gospels some 3050 years later, the liturgical action recorded in the Acts (2:42, 46; cf. 20:7) as “the Breaking of Bread” had already become the central liturgical service of the primitive Christian community. And so the Evangelists, in their reporting Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper, reflected also the ritual formulas used by different local churches (Jerusalem, Antioch, etc.), which is why they differ in some details but not in the essential of their records. Incidentally, the very accord of the account of the Evangelists among themselves and with St. Paul’s in their substance is not in the details. This is another proof of their historical value. St. Paul’s account of the Last Supper takes us back directly to the very preaching of the Apostles. Converted to Christ just a few years after Jesus’ resurrection,

He must have participated in the liturgical “Breaking of Bread” both at the Damascus (ca. 34–36 AD) and the Antioch communities (ca. 43–44) (cf. Acts). Then, during his missionary journeys he instructed the communities he founded in the Christian faith and liturgy. That is why, writing in ca. 54–56 to the Church of Corinth that he had already established about the year 50, he was able to remind them of the proper way of celebrating the “Breaking of Bread” or, as he calls it, “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor 11:20). In doing that, he strikes an important historical note about the origin of that event. He uses a rabbinical formula - “I received ... I delivered” - (1 Cor 11:23) that enfolds the concept of “tradition,” which suggests a depositum to be handed on integrally and faithfully. St. Paul is simply saying that he did not make it up (as radical liberal scholars of the past two centuries have fancied); he honestly declares to be a faithful holder-on of a sacred tradition going back to Jesus Himself through the Apostles and the primitive Christian community to which he himself belonged.

3. Significance of the Faith in the Real Presence

Faith in the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is to believe that under the appearances of bread and wine Jesus gives Himself as victim of His sacrifice as well as food of our supernatural life, served in a ritual meal; or, as the Council of Trent put it, that in this Sacrament “are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ.” (Session XIII, Oct. 11, 1551, Decree Concerning the Most Holy Sac-


Reflections and Meditations

The Most Holy Eucharist

rament of the Eucharist, Canon I) This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said: “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24–25). Jesus was having His last meal with the Twelve before His imminent death. It was His Passover meal, at which He was sitting as the pater familias of the Jewish Passover. As the latter interpreted the unleavened bread, “the bread of affliction” (Dt 16: 3), so Jesus now interprets the bread of this new Passover meal, as He identifies it with Himself. In saying “this is my body.” He is creative, His words perform what He says, just as when he told the centurion, “Your son will live” and at that very moment the child got better (cf. Jn 4:50-53). So Jesus does not simply give the Twelve a definition of bread, He invites them to recognize, in the bread shared, His own body; He gives them His very self, His very flesh to be immolated and raised glorious. Against such crystal clear words of our divine Savior there arose voices of dissent: Jesus did not crudely mean that He was giving us His very body and blood to eat and drink - as if we were cannibals - no way. He was only speaking symbolically, figuratively, as if the bread and wine blessed in His name at a community meal were His body and blood shed for us. After all, did He not designate Himself many times symbolically, for instance, when He said, “I am the door” (Jn 10:7), “I am the way” (Jn 14:6), “I am the vine” (Jn l5:1)? Only people blinded by prejudice can draw from such instances the conclusion that when Jesus said, “take it, this is my body,” He was speaking metaphorically, too, not realistically; for, while in those instances Jesus was evidently using metaphors, at the Last Supper He was using no metaphor at all;

He was truly identifying that which was in His hands with His own body. He, by the way, had already promised to give Himself in the way of a true meal to whomever would believe in Him, saying: “I am the living bread which comes down from heaven, and the bread which I shall give for the world is my flesh” (Jn 6:51). Here there is no room for the dissenters of maneuvering with the words in an effort to explain them away with a symbolic meaning. Indeed, Jesus’ listeners then, though not so sophisticated as the radical critics of modem times, were quicker to understand that Jesus was speaking of His real body and blood, as they murmured, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (Jn 6:52). To which Jesus answered stressing even more His statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you ... for my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed” (In 6:54). And finally, the sharp rebuttal of many of His disciples, “This is a hard saying who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:60), did not make Jesus retreat His words or correct them, in order to dispel any possible misunderstanding, as He often did (cf. Jn 2:21; 3:3-5; 11:11-14). The desertion of many disciples who took offense at His words did not move Him - the good shepherd always in search of lost sheep - He let them go their way. He even challenged His Twelve to accept or reject His words, “Will you also go away?” (Jn 6:67). But they accepted them, and so did St. Paul. For, why should he have warned the Corinthians, “Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord,” (1 Cor 11:27) were it not because he truly believed that what is really present in the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Christ and not just a symbol of it.


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

or the years that he spent in Milan, and the beginnings of the religious order that he founded, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria had quite an unusual historian. Gianmarco Burigozzo, a Milanese merchant, kept a faithful account of all the events in the city when his business permitted him. His historical narrative was written in a mixture of Milanese and Venetian dialects which reflected accurately the incidence of the city and the impressions of the people in general. Burigozzo did not know the name of the new religious order nor its founder but he clearly indicated and singled out the person. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the historical beginnings of the religious order of St. Anthony Mary could certainly recognize in Burigozzo’s pages his spiritual sons1. The first half of the Sixteenth Century presents an array of new religious orders. The new religious families differed from the old in that the members did not choose to become monks separated from the outside world and bound exclusively to a life of contemplation and prayers. They realized the necessity of an active apostolate and wanted to become assistants to the bishops and to exemplify the spiritual life of the diocesan priests. It is difficult to bring out any marked differences in the ideas of the founders of the new communities. They practically influenced one another yet each retained his peculiar characteristic and spirit. The first to found an Order of Clerics Regular was St. Cajetan of Thiene in 1524; shortly after in 1533 came St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, and in 1539, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The last one, 1540, was Gerome Emiliani.2 These years represent the time when official approbation from the Holy See was obtained, although the work of the founders had begun previously.


Saint Anthony and the Forty Hours
by late Fr. Peter Bonardi, CRSP (1933–1979)

This revival of religious life preserved the Church and protected it from the current attacks of the increasing pace of Protestantism. The scope of the newly formed orders was not restricted to the mere transient necessities of combating Protestantism but they put into play a rugged vitality in their many types of apostolate which have endured through the four centuries and still endure. In 1502, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in the small city of Cremona, Italy, located in the northern part of the country. His parents, Lazzaro and Antonia Pescaroli, were nobles. Although they were not in poor circumstances, they were not considered as rich as their titles indicated. Shortly after the birth of Anthony, Lazzaro died and the problem of the child’s education became full responsibility of the mother.3


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

During his adolescence the virtue and example of his mother exercised a tremendous influence in his young heart. At the age of eighteen, Anthony Mary went to the University of Pavia for the study of philosophy. Here he came under the influence of Anthony Zimarra, an Averroist philosopher. It is easy to elicit the impressions that the philosopher made on Anthony when he delivered his first sermons.4 From Pavia, Anthony Mary went to the University of Padua for the study of medicine. In 1524, he received his degree in medicine with honors.5 The young doctor returned to Cremona and in a short time won the hearts of the people. He had converted his home into a hospital for the less fortunate. While engaged in the health of the body, Anthony took it upon himself to instruct the people in the church of St. Vitale about Christian doctrine. Anthony Mary became acquainted with Father Battista da Crema who was instrumental in interesting him in the study for the priesthood. Father Battista was one of the most passionate reformers of the Dominican Order and he was greatly concerned with the beginning of the Order of Threatens. He was a strong influence in the revival of the religious life in Italy.6 In 1528, at the age of twenty-six, Anthony Mary was ordained a priest.7 From the day of his ordination, his priestly activities took on an incredibly rapid and intensive pace. Vast crowds, including the clergy, people of every rank and station in life, flocked to listen to him and to seek his advice or spiritual guidance. Patients in hospitals and inmates in prisons looked anticipating upon him as an angel of mercy and consolation.8 In two years of apostolic and indefatigable work, Anthony Mary succeeded in restoring the city of Cremona to its fervent religious life. The grateful

citizens labeled him with the title of “Father of the Country.” After his death, they erected a column to his name. 9 Cremona had become too small for the zeal that was consuming Anthony Mary. He was awaiting the opportunity to extend his works to the great Lombard metropolis of Milan. Anthony’s desire was realized when he was chosen chaplain by the Countess Ludovica Torelli. Countess Torelli’s life was typical of the sixteenth century. Her father had been slain at a dancing party. Although she was only seventeen, she married Ludovico Stanga who died the same year. Ludovica remarried Antonio Martinengo from Brescia. He was brutal. He had already killed his first wife and was beginning to show his brutal instincts to his second wife. Fortunately for Ludovica, he was assassinated by a relative of his first wife the following year. To dispel all that happened, the Countess lived at first a life of gaiety, and according to some authors, it bordered on debauchery. Finally, under the influence of Father Battista da Crema, she began to live a life of charity and penance.10 Milan was then the capital of the Duchy of Lombardy. Although nominally independent, the duchy was controlled by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. For fifty-three years, Milan was practically without bishops who were too busy with wars to attend to their diocesan duties. Nevertheless, the religious life was far from dead. A center of intense spirituality was the Oratory of Eternal Wisdom. This institution numbered among its members Pius IV, St. Pius V, and the best element of the Italian and French aristocracy. It was from the members of this group that St. Anthony Mary chose his first two co-operators.11 Although the question arises as to who had the original idea to establish a religious order, it was St.


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

Anthony Mary who became the head of the little group. The date the Congregation was established was fixed before September 1530, and it consisted of only three members.12 After three years, they presented a formal notice to Pope Clement VII of their desire to form a new order. Their supplication was granted with the Papal Breve published on February 18, 1533.13 The Breve pointed out that the aim of the new institution was to vivify the religious spirit among the diocesan priests and to bring the laity back to normal Christian living. The original name of the Congregation was simply Clerics Regular but it had to be changed to distinguish it from the Theatines. It was decided to name it the Clerics Regular of St. Paul, the Apostle. Soon after, the people began to call the Fathers of the Congregation Barnabite Fathers because the church conducted by them in the beginning was St. Barnabas of Milan. The foundation of the new religious order did not go unnoticed among the people. The faithful chronicler of Milan in those days, Burigozzo, noted in his diary that in 1532 the practice of ringing the bells of the churches on Friday at three in the afternoon was started in Milan. The exercise was suggested and promoted by certain men which were considered to have a great degree of sanctity, and also women … They have obtained the permission that the Ave Maria be rung for a long time on Fridays at the hour when Christ died.14 Burigozzo went on to mention some of the mortifications and public penances performed by such “certain men and women.” Thus he clearly identified for the historians the first Barnabites and the followers of Countess Torelli. Here the chronicler was referring to customs still practiced in Italy and in other European countries of ringing the bell every Friday at three o’clock in the afternoon in

memory of the passion and death of our Lord. This custom was revived in 1532 by St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria. Of far more importance than the spectacular performances of penance were the numerous conversions which resulted. These aroused reactions both from the good and the bad. At first a preacher from the pulpit of the Cathedral of Milan harangued against the new group of men and women who according to him, was going to ruin the entire city. His criticisms were of no avail because as Burigozzo recounted a few days later he had to retreat.15 Two years later in 1534, the Milanese chronicler wrote again about the Barnabites and the followers of the Countess Torelli. Not knowing the real founder and relying on popular opinion, he thought that the Countess was at the head of the institutions.16 The year 1534 was most troublesome for the new order. On October 4, 1534, Countess Torelli and her associates were accused before both the Senate and the Inquisition of dangerous innovations. These accusations carried great weight and could have produced disastrous results. The accusations, however, vanished as the truth became evident. A year after this incident, St. Anthony Mary received a new Bull from the Pope. In this, the Barnabites were loftily praised and were granted extensive privileges.17 As a result from the incident, Countess Torelli’s group mitigated the exterior performance of penance. As previously related, Countess Torelli began early to gather a group of young ladies who would eventually become religious sisters (called Angelic Sisters of St. Paul) and help the Fathers in the reformation of convents. They obtained on January 15, 1535 Papal approval.18 The Angelic Sisters of


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

St. Paul became the charge of St. Anthony and he dictated the rules for them. These rules were so wisely conceived that St. Charles Borromeo based the reformation of monasteries on them.19 In the meantime, evil forces confronted again the group of Torelli and Zaccaria. This time the charges were more serious and were carried to a higher tribunal. They accused the group before the Pope of reviving the old heresy of the Beghards. This sect was characterized by excessive mysticism which led the followers to moral disorders. Despite the great influence of the enemies upon the Pope, Zaccaria and Torelli were declared innocent and highly praised for their work of reform. Indeed, during the trial itself, Cardinal Ridolfi, Bishop of Vicenza, called St. Anthony and some of the nuns to his diocese to reform some convents.20 St. Anthony was a gifted and creative leader as well as a great Saint. Had he lived longer, the Congregation he founded could have flourished more rapidly. His complete dedication to the Congregation and its works and his unceasing efforts and selflessness all contributed to his untimely death which occurred in 1539 when only thirty-six years of age. At his death, St. Anthony left the organization of the Forty Hours, an order of priests, one of nuns, and a Congregation of the Married.21 In an age when Christian perfection was considered an exclusive characteristic of religious communities, St. Anthony proposed it to married groups. The Congregation of the Married unlike that of modern lay associations did no aim at social action. Its goal was personal sanctification. While there is no doubt that St. Anthony Mary as the founder of the other institutions above mentioned, there exists a heated controversy on the paternity of the Forty Hours Devotion. The first problem that presents itself to the historian is the

identification of the year in which the Forty Hours was started according to the modern way. Burigozzo gave 1537 as the date.22 It is known that Burigozzo was a merchant and perhaps not a bright one. He, however, had in his favor the fact that he was a contemporary to the events narrated and that he wrote them down in his chronicle a few days or few months after he had witnessed them. According to the principles of historiography, his testimony is the best available. Furthermore, he was neither partial nor biased. He gave the facts with very few comments according to his good common sense. Paolo Morigia, Superior General of the Jesuati, a religious order founded in the fourteenth century and now extinct, in his work, Historia dell’Atichita di Milano, mentioned the year 1534 as the starting of the Forty Hours Fra Bono, a Cremonese, was the one who introduced in Milan the devotion called the Forty Hours in 1534. This servant of God thus inspired by divine grace, persuaded Duke Francis II Sforza and the Ordinary to have the most sacred body of our Lord Jesus Christ exposed on the altar….23 In this case, Morigia not only gave a different date but he also attributed the Forty Hours to another person. The present concern involves the date. The identification of the founder will be taken up later. Morigia wrote in the year 1592. He was born in the year 1525 in Milan.24 During his youth he must have witnessed the beginning and the subsequent spreading of the Forty Hours. Morigia in his account of events witnessed fifty years earlier could have easily made an error in dates anticipating the Forty Hours in 1534. The opinion is corroborated by the fact that in the same year 1534, Duke Francis II Sforza ordered that the procession of Corpus


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

Christi be performed with the greatest solemnity. The account of this procession has been preserved by Burigozzo.25 Paolo Morigia in writing about the glories of his city after so many years might easily have confused the two things because he did not mention the procession of Corpus Christi of that same year. It is impossible to deny the authority of Burigozzo. In order to save Morigia, some historians of the Forty Hours presumed that the devotion took its form gradually. They assert that in 1534 the permission for the Forty Hours was requested, but it was only in 1537 that its establishment became a reality.26 If this was really the case, no one knows. The fact, however, remains that the year 1537 is the year in which the Forty Hours started. Many historians on the authority of Morigia attributed the foundation of the Forty Hours to Fra Bono in the year 1534. They certainly have no more authority than Morigia himself. If Morigia’s date of the beginning of the Forty Hours cannot be relied upon,27 no matter how many writers quoted him, it still does not make it authentic. After one difficulty is solved, the historian of the Forty Hours is faced with another. The same Morigia who differed with Burigozzo anticipating the Forty Hours in 1534 also attributed the paternity of this devotion to a Fra Bono, a Cremonese,28 against the “men of such company”,29 of Burigozzo. Who was this Fra Bono? Morigia described him thusly: He was dressed with a long habit of white linen, a cord girded his loins, and he wore a brass Crucifix. This servant of God was of a holy life and most zealous of the honor of God and the salvation of souls. He never took to drink wine after serving God and God worked many prodigies through him.30

Although Fra Bono was a holy man, he was very peculiar. With a touch of irony Burigozzo stated: “He was dressed of sackcloth but had good shoes”.31 Fra Bono was not an unknown person to Burigozzo. The latter, however, when he wrote the Forty Hours did not mention Fra Bono at all but only the “men of such company.” After having visited the Holy Land and the Shrines of Europe, Fra Bono retired to Cremona and led a hermit’s life. At this time, he came under the influence of Father Anthony Mary Zaccaria who, while appreciating his motives, tried to dissuade him and interest him into an apostolic life. In 1530, Anthony Mary took Fra Bono to Milan as a disciple and fervent coadjutor. Fra Bono never became a priest or a Barnabite.32 The Saint was never quite able to subdue perfectly the independent character of Bono. In a letter of July 28, 1531, written to a spiritual son in Cremona, the Saint expressed himself in this manner: You and I have lost our father Fra Bono; he escapes me, or detained seems to escape me. Three or four days pass without seeing him, and after I hardly have a chance to talk to him. He fears that I might persuade him to come home. I liked the letter you wrote him but he needs more pushes.33 In another letter of October 8, 1538, to Father Ferrari in Vicenza the Saint wrote: I would like that everybody know the goodness of our father Fra Bono because I know that the prayer of the Forty Hours and the other institutions would prosper. After exhorting Fra Bono to perseverance, the Saint admonished him to be on his guard against the temptations of the devil to leave “his brothers.”34


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

It is evident that even after many years, Fra Bono was still in doubt whether to join the Barnabites or not, and whether to follow his inclination for a hermitic life, or take the suggestion of his spiritual director to dedicate himself to an active life. From the documents cited above, it appears that Fra Bono was unwilling to dedicate himself to an active life. It was only at the insistence of Zaccaria that he gave up his aspirations. St. Anthony used his services in important affairs especially for the establishment of the Forty Hours Devotion. This is exactly the tradition existing among the Barnabite Fathers. Father Anacleto Secco, a Barnabite, in order to dissipate errors and misconceptions about the beginnings and the first members of the order, recorded the Barnabite tradition. In the introduction to his work, Father Secco stated: I plan to write only those things that with great diligence I collected from most reliable documents and of incorruptible faith that are preserved with me.35 After attesting solemnly, the following is what he said about Fra Bono. Talking about the Mission of St. Anthony Mary at Vicenza Secco wrote: There too he instituted what he had already started with happy success at Cremona and Milan, that is the rite of the public adoration before the most Holy Eucharist, exposed with decorum over the altar among lights, which prayer is called Forty Hours. He used to employ for this devotion the works of a certain Fra Bono, Cremonese, a man of great piety, before dedicated to hermitic life, and by him formed to a life of perfection whom he used to take with him most of the time.36

Summarizing the different testimonies about Fra Bono, it is found that Burigozzo attributed the Forty Hours to the “men of such company,” even though Fra Bono was not unknown to him. The tradition among the Barnabites and the Founder of the Order called Fra Bono a great helper of St. Anthony especially in spreading the devotions of the Forty Hours. In a later work of Morigia, Fra Bono is called a “vigorous worker of Zaccaria.”37 In order to reconcile these statements, it must be admitted that Fra Bono was one of those that Burigozzo called “men of such company.” These “men” to which Burigozzo insistently attributed the Forty Hours have been identified by all historians as the first Barnabites and their Founder.38 Some of the Barnabite historians said that since Fra Bono was a layman, many doors were open to him, but the one for the Barnabites remained closed. The reader must remember that in the years 1534 and 1537, the Barnabite Fathers were on trial by the Inquisition and suspected of heresy. St. Anthony Mary used Fra Bono especially in adorning the altars and preparing the churches for the Forty Hours in which he displayed special talents.39 Until more specific proofs are found, the year 1537 is to be retained as the year in which the Forty Hours started. This argument is accepted by a special confirmation from a Papal document. Pope Pius XI when still Librarian at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan found a Breve of Paul III dated August 29, 1537, granting a special indulgence for the faithful of Milan who would take part in the devotion of the Forty Hours. The indulgence was granted for one year but it was repeated in the following years.40 It was at this time that the Forty-Hours obtained the ecclesiastical recognition from the supreme authority of the Church. It will be impossible to find a more authentic proof to substantiate these facts.


Reflections and Meditations

St. Anthony and the Forty Hours

In conclusion concerning what has been said about the life and works of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, this author would like to mention other facts concerning the Eucharistic piety of the Founder of his order. It is a known fact that the Orders of Clerics Regular founded throughout the sixteenth century were responsible for the reestablishment of the practice of frequent communion. Among these orders, the Congregation of Zaccaria held the second place in the order of time. It was St. Anthony Mary who was first to introduce the practice of frequent Communion in Cremona, Milan, and Vicenza. In the Constitutions that he dictated for the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, he required that Communion be “most frequent, almost daily and if every nun could not, at least the greatest part of the Community should.41 The Constitutions of the Barnabites which, though written after the death of the Saint, faithfully reflect the spirit of the Founder, mitigating it somewhat prescribed for the priests the daily celebration of the Mass, and for the non-priests, frequent Communion. As for confession, the priests were required to confess their sins three or at least two times a week, and the non-priests who were members of the Order were required to confess every time they intended to receive Communion.42 It was not only the frequency of Communion which the Saint advocated, but also stressed the fervor in those who received. His biographers related that each time he distributed the most Holy Eucharist, he used to precede it by a short fervorino (short exotation) to animate the faithful as they approached the Eucharistic Table.43 It is understandable how much such a soul, so inflamed with the love of God, could find a totally new way of reminding the Christian people of the sublimity of the love of their God who desired to remain close to them in the Sacrament of the Altar.


Angelo De Santi, S.J., LʼOrazione delle Quantore e i Tempi di Calamita e di (Roma:Civiltá Cattolica, 1919), p. 42. 2 Albert Dubois, C.R.S.P., Les Barnabites Clercs Reguliers di Saint-Paul (Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1924), p. 6. 3 Orazio M. Premoli, C.R.S.P., Storia dei Barnabiti (Roma:Desclee and Co., 1913), Vol. I, p. 3. 4 Dubois, op. cit., p. 7. 5 Giuseppe Boffito, C.R.S.P., Biblioteca Barnabitica (Firenze:Leo S. Olschki, 1937), Vol. IV, p. 209. 6 Dubois, op. cit., p. 7. 7 Boffito, op. cit., p. 209. 8 Mary Bernadette Centanni, “St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria Founder of the Barnabite Order” (Buffalo, New York: Barnabite Fathersʼ Library, 1958), pp.9-10. (Manuscript) 9 Boffito, op. cit., p. 214 10 Dubois, op. cit.., p. 9. 11 Premoli, op. cit., p. 407-415. 12 Premoli, op. cit., p. 13. 13 Premoli, op. cit., p. 416. 14 Gianmarco Burigozzo, “Cronica Milanese di Gianmarco Burigozzo Merzaro dal 1500 al 1544” in Archivio Storico Italiano, Vol. III, p. 509. 15 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 510. 16 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 522. 17 Premoli, op. cit., p. 28. 18 Premoli, op. cit., p. 31. 19 Dubois, op. cit., p. 13. 20 Francesco T. Moltedo, Vita di St. Antonio M. Zaccaria: Fondatore dei Barnabiti e delle Angeliche (Firenze:Tipografia A. Ricci, 1897), p. 410. 21 Dubois, op. cit., p. 15. 22 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 537. 23 Paolo Morigia, Historia dellʼAntichitá di Milano (Venezia:Coleti, 1592), Vol. II, p. 344. 24 Premoli, op. cit., p. 457. 25 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 523. 26 Giuseppe Card. Graniello, LʼOrazione delle XL Ore e il B. Antonio Maria Zaccaria (Roma:Typografia Vaticana, 1895), p. XV. 27 Achilles Ratti, Contributione alla Storia Eucaristica di Milano (Milano: Sergio Ghezzi, 1895), p. 73. 28 Morigia, op. cit., p. 344. 29 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 537. 30 Morigia , op. cit., p. 343. 31 Burigozzo, op. cit., p. 522. 32 Domenico Bergamaschi, Vita di Fra Bono Eremite Istitutore delle SS. Quarantore (Monza:Tipografia Editrice Artigianelli, 1908), pp.10-21. 33 Anthony M. Zaccaria, St. Le Lettere 34 Zaccaria, op. cit., p. 80. 35 Anacleto Secco, CRSP, De Clericorum Regularium S. Pauli Congregatione et Parentibus Synopsis (Milano:Tipografia Francesco Vigono, 1682), p. 3. 36 Secco, op. cit., p. 158. 37 Bergamaschi, op. cit., p.12. 38 De Santi, op. cit., p.42. 39 Bergamaschi, op. cit., p.12. 40 Ratti, op. cit., p. 32-33. 41 Giuseppe Miniero, CRSP, Il Culto al SS. Sacramento Promosso dal Beato Antonio M. Zaccaria (Napoli:Tipografia Accademia Reale 1892), p. 7. 42 Miniero, op. cit., p. 7. 43 Ibid., p. 7.


Reflections and Meditations

Our Spiritual Umbilical Cord

s I prayerfully contemplated this article, so many thoughts came to mind that I must admit I started it over and over again. How does one even attempt to describe a gift so great? Anything I wrote seemed to minimize the effect of this gift so immense, yet so freely given. I felt like I was making a mole hill out of a mountain. Yet I know that I have obligated myself to this joyful task, so I will attempt to share my feelings in a heartfelt and humble way. as our Lord faced the trials and temptations thrown at When Christ shared Himself with the Apostles at Him when He walked among the Last Supper, He spoke these words; “This is us. If we truly accept that He my body, this is my blood.” chose to become part of us in To me He was telling all of this most intimate way, then us that He would always be we have only to draw on His there to spiritually sustain unending source of strength, us in the most intimate way knowledge, and comfort, to He thought we would undersustain us in our needs. His stand. Just as a child in the choice was to be united with womb is totally sustained by us. How we make use of this his mother through the umgift is our choice. There are bilical cord, Christ spiritually those who accept the gift and sustains us through the Eunever use it, thinking they charist. As the baby grows the have no need, or perhaps need for nourishment grows ignoring of the value of what as well, yet there is always a has been given. How very wealth of food for the child sad. There are those who apto use for growth and well proach Him with no sense of being. Likewise, as we mature the price Christ paid for this spiritually, the Eucharist is almost precious gift. Again how sad! It is my prayer ways available to sustain and strengthen us in our that somehow they come to know the true joy of needs. Just as the child is one with his mother, we this gift of life. I know that I have found the true become one with Christ through this most Holy and only “happy meal,” the meal that sustains me Sacrament. Just as the child feels safe, loved, and in all I do, and is always prepared for with the best content in the womb, we should feel safe, loved, quality in mind, that is a pure and clean heart. Parand content in the Eucharist. For a child to deny take of this meal often, and be nourished in spirit. his total dependence on his mother for life would be ridiculous, just as it would be for someone to I think that I could write a book about the Euchadeny what is freely offered in the Eucharist. Evrist, because the topic is so very diversified. I have erything is given to us through this gift of Self. only presented a small facet of this wondrous Gift. I pray that you find the same solace in the EuchaIf we partake of this meal in the way I perceive it to rist as I. be, we can face anything the world throws at us, just


Our Spiritual Umbilical Cord
by Mary Grace


Reflections and Meditations

Awesome Wonder

t the solemn moment of consecration, a marvelous light encircled St. Anthony and a multitude of angels descended, and surrounding him, assisted reverently at the Mass. This heavenly vision lasted until the end of Communion.” Miracles, apparitions, and visions confound us with astonishment. Their extraordinariness overwhelms us with awe and wonder. We become utterly amazed, almost unable to speak. St. Anthony never recounted about the vision, not at least in his writings or in his sermons. However, we can say without hesitation that the particular experience affected him a great deal. Later on, he would promote the frequent reception of Holy Communion and introduce the Forty-Hour Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament which, as Richard DeMolen puts it in his book, “became one of the most popular religious observances in modern times.” This undeniably is a proof of St. Anthony’s life-experience and true devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist. What is this to me as a spiritual daughter of this renowned advocate? Being a daughter of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria entails a great responsibility of continuing what he started, of passing on the same zeal for the Eucharist to others, of living the mystery myself in my own life. The Lord does make Himself present in many ways. And the Eucharist is just one of these marvelous ways of God “being with us.” I too am called to make Him alive and present in me and through me. In this article, however, I shall not talk about myself nor of my own experience. I felt it more


Awesome Wonder
by Sister Rorivic P. Israel, ASP

appropriate to talk about another person, whom I so much revered as Mother, a holy mother, and indeed a true daughter of St. Anthony. She is our dearest Venerable Mother Giovanna Bracaval. Flora Bracaval, as she was formerly known, received her religious name Angelica Giovanna Maria Bracaval of the Eucharistic Lord at her profession. How she got the name goes back on April 1, 1872, in her first encounter with Jesus at Holy Communion. It was a special day for her. The experience of receiving Jesus for the first time “remained engraved in her soul like a precious gem.” She shall remember it all her days, and “Jesus would become the central


Reflections and Meditations

Awesome Wonder

figure of love” in her heart. From then on, her life would not be the same. “A woman of profound interior life, Mother Giovanna always obeyed and promptly submitted to God’s will and endeavor much for His glory and for the building of His Kingdom. She gave a splendid example of faithfulness to the Gospel and therefore to the consecrated life, of eager love of God and neighbor, of trust in divine providence, and of sincere humility. She always acted with prudence and justice; she was strong and patient in difficulties, self-controlled and detached from vain and earthly goods. She never relied on her own strength but on the efficacy of grace, which she implored with assiduous prayer, on a fervent devotion to Jesus Crucified, on the Eucharist and on the Blessed Mother, on the observance of her religious vows and on the exercise of her daily tasks.” (Taken from a brochure on the Venerable) The Eucharistic Lord had been for Mother Giovanna a Companion until death. It is said that before the time she died, she asked one sister to meditate with her. And the meditation was “on the Eucharist.” There is much I could share with you about the Venerable, but I shall leave this short biography to give you other significant details about her and her life.

While Flora was receiving her education at the Boarding School of the “Ladies of Mary” Sisters in Mouscron, she soon felt attracted toward religious life, but she could not fulfill her desire to enter into religious life until after the death of her parents who needed their daughter’s care in their old age and illness. Through Father Benedict Nisser, a Barnabite Priest, who later on would become Father General, Flora came to know about the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, who shared with the Barnabite Fathers - the Founder - St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.

Brief Biography
Mother Giovanna Maria Bracaval of the Eucharistic Lord was born in Mouscron, Belgium on May 3, 1861 of very pious parents: John Louis Bracaval and Sophia Dessauvages. Her sister Mary, who later became a Clarisse Sister in a Convent in Tournai, Belgium, acted as her godmother at Baptism.

Venerable Mother Giovanna Bracaval of the Eucharistic Lord
Image by Sister Rorivic P. Israel, ASP


Reflections and Meditations

Awesome Wonder

In 1894, she entered the convent of the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul located in Crema, Italy. After a year, she received her habit, and on June 22, 1896, she consecrated herself to God with solemn vows. Her life of prayer and dedication and her uncommon virtues, made her capable of high tasks since her first years of religious life. She was Mistress of Novices and Superior of different convents. The most important task was that of being able to bring back her congregation to active life, the original charism of the Founder, St. Anthony, who wanted her spiritual daughters to be a congregation dedicated to apostolic work without the bond of the cloister. Elected Superior General of the congregation, she gave herself more for the community as well as for the people around her. Special care was given to the education of the workmen’s children, the orphans, and the abandoned children of World War I. In 1932, she felt necessary to leave her office to one of the Sisters to prepare herself for her encounter with her spouse. On January 26, 1935, after a short illness, she died peacefully, giving edification to all who were present at her bedside. Very soon the people who were fortunate enough to have known her, and convinced of

her sanctity, started to entreat her, to obtain by her intercession favors from God. Because of the many favors attributed to her, the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul obtained permission to remove her body from the cemetery to the church near their convent, and to start the procedures for her canonization, hoping that with the prayers of the faithful people she will soon be proclaimed a Saint. On a last note, St. Anthony understood that only in the Eucharist could we find God’s joy that last through time. He advocated adoration and frequent Communion so that they may become a perpetual and permanent act of our longing for God who is ever-present in the Eucharist. Let’s receive the Lord continually at Holy Communion. Let’s adore him in the Blessed Sacrament. Our life shall have meaning, and we shall truly be filled with awesome wonder for the marvels the Lord would work for us, in us, and through us.


Reflections and Meditations

SAMZ Rhyme


Reflections and Meditations

And the Bridge Is Love

Love alone is worth everything; any other virtue without love is worth nothing.

and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.* Consequently, in God’s sacred plan for humanity, Christ is constant, the bridge that does not break, that does not fall apart. Jesus of Nazareth belongs to human history just as does the Christ of faith, the co-eternal Son of God who is not confined to or circumscribed by history. Thus, if history is a remembered account of the past, then it is also reasonable to assume that the prophetic presence of God’s plan, revealed in scripture, is both a remembrance of the things past and an approximation of the future linked by the revelation of God’s love in Christ. Celebrating the Eucharist is the historical continuum that sacramentally propels the Incarnation as the central mystery of our faith: “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word became flesh” (Jn 1: 1,14a). Thus, by faith, the shadow of the Cross is cast over both the Christmas crib and the empty tomb—and the Eucharist remembers with faith, with hope, and with love that God invites into a love relationship with a holy and incomprehensible mystery. In the Eucharist God does not hide in order for us to search for his real presence but rather reveals himself in Christ who is God’s personal communicating WORD of self-defining love—the bridge that links salvation history to the ultimate reality that transcends human understanding. For our Founder, Anthony Zaccaria, saying Mass in 16th century Italy was a temporal, religious act of faith and a sacramental sign of God’s gracious love. As the source and the


St. Anthony Zaccaria, Sermon IV

od is mystery. God is love. The Creator of the universe dwells in an inaccessible light so bright that it can blind the probing eye and elude the questioning mind. And the same awesome God has taken on a human face, a persona, a name, in Christ Jesus, the Son, the WORD who providentially bridges human activity with a transcendent purpose. O limitless mercy! O infinite love! God humbled Himself so much in order that man might love Him back, and through this love be saved.
(Anthony M. Zaccaria, Sermon IV)

The basic theme of the Bible as a heilsgeschicte, a sacred story—to which any speculations about chance or design are secondary—is love. Moreover, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, love is the gift of a God whose love is both self-defining and unconditional. As sacred scripture, the Bible prophetically observes that the many aspects of God’s love are often presaged and oriented to a critical moment in Christ—a life lived, a life lost, a life left behind resonating in the acclaim: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. And so, in the circumstantial course of human events, there is a land of the living and a land of the dead,

by Fr. Richard Delzingaro, CRSP

And the Bridge Is Love


Reflections and Meditations Reflections and Meditations

And the Bridge Is Love

summit of his faith, for Anthony Zaccaria celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, was a lifting up of the crucified Jesus and the adoration of the risen Christ—as well as a tapping into God’s ongoing saving and liberating love. Furthermore, for Anthony Zaccaria saying Mass was, indeed, a Eucharist, a thanksgiving, celebrating that hope is as ongoing with—fulfillment, a hope for life as a bridge of love—an ultimate liberation from death, sin, and despair, a hope for union with God, and a hope that has the potential to strengthen the community of faith. For Anthony Zaccaria, the Eucharist was the supreme gift of God, offered up as bread and wine, reaching out—always ready, always accepting,

always affirming. For Anthony Zaccaria, the Eucharist touched the wounded soul to wholeness and healing. Being lifted up with Christ in the Eucharist, Anthony Zaccaria was and continues to be an instrument of God’s love—hearing alleluia’s through life’s obscenities, seeing rainbows in life’s darkness, revealing hope in life’s moral paralysis. Today, the Zaccarian vision still believes the Eucharist to be a gracious heavenly gift, received and shared by faith in God who loves, a Christ who saves and a Holy Spirit who encourages. Even now, the Eucharist signifies the bridge in life’s journey that does not fail—the bridge of God’s love—our only survival, our only meaning, and our only hope. We remember, we believe.

*Wilder, Thornton, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Four American Novels, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1959, p. 653. In this 1927 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the author explores the transforming power of love as the reason behind understanding how and why things happen.



g s Pa d


Kids Page
“My Aunt Fran asked me how I felt. I said, “This is the best day of my life.”
Peter Gambino—age 10

My First Holy Ki ds P Communion age Memory
“My favorite First Holy Communion memory is the moment I received Jesus.”
Elizabeth Gambino—age 12

“I adore Jesus.”
Matthew Gambino age 6


Outstanding Barnabites

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop


Translated by Fr. Frank Papa, CRSP

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop

AINT ALEXANDER SAULI was born in Milan in 1534 into a noble family from Genoa. He entered the Barnabite Congregation at a very young age, after showing great courage and humility by carrying a large cross through the streets of Milan. After his consecration to God, he was ordained a priest at the age of twenty two. He finished his theology at the University of Pavia, where he became a Professor. Father Sauli was elected Superior General of the Congregation at the age of thirty three, and was appointed Bishop of Aleria (Corsica) three years later. His episcopal ministry lasted for twenty two years.

As a shepherd of souls, he dedicated himself almost single-handedly to the religious renewal of clergy and laity in a large and difficult region, through preaching, catechesis, synods and pastoral visits. He placated vendettas and hatreds. He eradicated abuses and superstitions. But his greatest accomplishment was with his favorites: the poor and the sick. He took care of them, and alleviated their pain. Because of his heroic charity, especially during the time of famine and pestilence, he was called “The Guardian Angel and Apostle of Corsica.” In 1591, Gregory XIV transferred him to the Diocese of Pavia. After only a year in the diocese, St. Alexander Sauli died in Calosso d’ Asti on October 11, 1592. He was beatified in 1741 by Benedict XIV and then canonized in 1904 by St. Pius X. St. Alexander Sauli is the Patron of Barnabite seminarians. His feast is celebrated on October 11.

The beginnings of Sainthood

In 1551, at the age of seventeen, Alexander Sauli became a page of the court of Emperor Charles V. His parents were Tommasina Spinola and Dominic Sauli, Marquis of Pozzuolo in the territory of Tortona and the right hand of Francis II Sforza. Dominic Sauli was esteemed by Emperor Charles V, who was then president of the High Court of Milan. Both of his parents were from ancient and noble families of Genoa. This social status offered Alexander a great opportunity for a prestigious and brilliant career. Instead, he knocked at the door of

St. Barnabas and asked to be admitted to the Congregation of the Barnabites. Before making his request, Alexander had already become familiar with St. Barnabas, and with the Fathers, whose life and customs he had studied in the previous months. He did not agree with all their observances, like kneeling in front of the Superior, or praying continuously, or doing menial work in the house. But he understood that the Fathers were very serious in their religious convictions.


Outstanding Barnabites

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop

We can envision how Alexander in his youth boldly faced the assembly of demanding Barnabite Fathers who examined his qualifications and motivations for such a request. It is necessary to note that at this time the Congregation was experiencing the precariousness of first beginnings, extreme poverty, and harsh trials. And it had been a victim of ostracism from the Venetian Republic only two months before. Alexander was surrounded by the whole community, about twenty religious. The Fathers were neither easy nor condescending with those applying to enter the Congregation. John Peter Besozzi, who was a member of the Married of St. Paul, also asked to become a Barnabite (his wife had been admitted among the Angelics). To prove his seriousness about his decision, he was sent, dressed in velvet, and with a rope on his neck, to beg among beggars, blind, and maimed, at the door of the church of St. Ambrose on the feast day of the patron saint. With Alexander, they were much more cautious. They wanted to make sure that his commitment was sincere and true. The question pressed on: did he ever doubt or perhaps hesitate to face the austerity of religious life? Alexander did not lose his patience. He showed a maturity superior to his age. He was already one persecuted for the sake of Christ Crucified. Obviously, the Cross had been a current theme of the homilies in St. Barnabas. He was not scared about poverty. Obedience already seemed to be a top priority in his mind. He was ready to sacrifice his desire to study, to renounce prolonged prayers so suiting to his feelings, indeed, to renounce all for a more austere way of life, because for him there was no greater penance than the renunciation of his own will. He was not scared to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, or tend the garden, or do any menial tasks. He was ready to do all. But the Fathers still faced some perplexities. Alexander was too young, and

they did not know him so well. He was good with words, but what about his life? And what if this noble heir only wishes to become a Bishop? Here is the description of the interrogation made by the Barnabite Fathers to St. Alexander Sauli as reported in the Acts of the Barnabite Community in Milan.

April 22, 1551

As the Chapter assembled, Alexander explained the feeling he had to be called by Christ Crucified to follow Him as a member of a Religious Family. Since he had a burning desire to follow this call and to serve Christ in the best way possible, he ardently asked to be accepted in the Congregation. He thought it was the best Congregation that suited his aspiration, and would allow him to make more progress in the spirtual life than in any other.

Question: What motivated you to choose this Congregation? Answer: It’s my desire to be in a Congregation where I could honor Jesus Christ in a more perfect way. ter the Congregation? Answer: For about a year now.

Question: How long have you been thinking to en-


Outstanding Barnabites

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop

Question: Do you see any problem that might dis-

suade you from taking this step? Answer: I just feel uneasy about the idea of getting up early in the morning for prayers.

Answer: No. Question: What will you do if your father will
not allow you to enter this Congregation? Answer: If my father will not consent to my desire, I will go to another Congregation that is not known to him. (...)

Question: Have you thought about the fact that this
Congregation could not rely on any income sufficient to live on? That once Lady Julia Sfondrati, our benefactor, is gone, we would be reduced to poverty? Answer: I have not given importance to it. Poverty does not scare me at all.

Question: You’ve noticed that the younger members

Question: What is your aim in joining the Congregation?

Answer: Obedience. I want to entrust myself completely in the hands of obedience and never relax in the comfort of the body and the spirit.

are the ones doing the menial tasks in the house. Are you afraid to do these kind of tasks? Answer: I doubt I would be spared from doing menial tasks, but I am willing to do anything that obedience may demand.

Question: Have you ever doubted about your constancy and perseverance in the religious life? Answer: I admit that sometimes I doubted about it, but I have overcome this temptation.


Have you prayed to Jesus Christ to enlighten you about which Religious Family to choose? Answer: I have prayed at length to God to show me which Congregation to choose. At first, I got more interested in the rules of St. Benedict and the Carthusians, since I like solitude, but my tendency to feel lonely makes me doubt if these models of life would suit me. Now, these few days, I feel more and more interested in your Congregation.

The Fathers told Alexander to consider other Religious Families, such as the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Capuchins, who are rich with members with outstanding holiness and wisdom. They told him further that it is better for him to be in these big Congregations than to be in such a poor Congregation as theirs. One question was raised among the Fathers: Is this Mr. Alexander dreaming of becoming a Bishop? They did not have enough knowledge about his previous life. If he was handling himself well in words, he should be verified by his actions.

Question: Have you prayed to the Lord about your

specific choice of Congregation, about which Religious Family to choose? Answer: Yes. Actually, for some time, I have been thinking about entering a Congregation where greater penances are practiced. I think here, more than in any other place, there is the breaking of the will, a form of penance I consider to be more noble and excellent than any other exterior penances.

April 24, 1551

Question: Did you ever find yourself in a situation
where someone had inflamed you with the love for Christ Crucified?

Again, the whole community gathered together. They listened to Alexander who was showing a great desire to be admitted in the Congregation.


Outstanding Barnabites

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop

Question: What is it that you do not like about the
life of this community? Answer: Kneeling in front the father Superior is just something strange to me.


What do you like to do? What is your greatest natural inclination? Answer: I like to study, there’s no doubt about it. I want to become a great scholar, but I feel that in this I am only moved by pride more than anything else.

Fr. Paul Melso insisted that Alexander was only motivated by cowardliness. That to Alexander entering the religious life was more of an expedient, since he felt unable to continue his studies. If this was the case, Alexander should hurry in rectifying his intention. Fr. Melso also doubted that Alexander’s request was anything but an escape from the responsibilities of life.

Question: Which virtues are dearest to you? Answer: It’s humility and chastity. Question:
How do you think will you be able to obtain these virtues? Answer: By enduring insults. By not giving so much thought when I’m considered of little account. I’m determined to accept any trial. If I suffer, I will say to myself: “This is what I am looking for, this is what I desire.”

Question: Are you afraid of not being able to perse-

vere in your choice of religious life? Answer: If the grace of being accepted in this Congregation would be granted to me, I would never separate myself from her. I love Christ, and everything in this world is already a waste to me.

Question: Will

you be happy to be far away from your father and the other members of your household? Answer: Yes. Most of the time, actually, I withdraw myself from them. I go to the country villa or to other solitary places just to be far away from them.


What made you fell in love with these virtues? Did you read them from books? Answer: These two virtues were the virtues that made the Most Holy Virgin immensely pleasing to the Divine Majesty.

Question: How come? Answer: I have a character different from my father

Question: What do you think will help you observe

and my relatives. Besides, I find it difficult to pray at home. I try to avoid anything that might be a detriment to my spiritual program. Fr. Superior, Marta, intervened. Question: Have you reflected well that you who were used to be given honors at home have to obey a Master who is of a social status inferior to yours? How will you act? Will you be humble? Will you obey your Master? Will you be willing to break your own will? Did you ponder it well that you who were used to be served, will now have to serve others?

better the discipline of the Congregation? Answer: Rising early for Matins [Morning Prayers], or prostrating myself during meditation, limiting myself to reading books that obedience will allow, and doing the manual work willingly, these I believe will help me observe better the discipline that will be imposed on me. He was warned that in the Congregation they aimed at the renunciation of the will and the mortification of certain intellectual fancies. Therefore, he should think it over if he was ready to accept what he was told.


Outstanding Barnabites

Saint Alexander Sauli, Bishop

Alexander added that sometimes during prayer he felt uneasy. Finally, he was advised to think over his decision for the next ten to twelve days, to dedicate himself to prayer, and to show deeds that would prove that his intentions were sincere, with the help of Christ Crucified and of the Fathers. They would reconvene [to consider Alexander’s request].

May 15, 1551

… finally the proposal was made to accept Alexander in the Congregation and to give him the habit. The conclusion was: eleven Fathers voted to accept him only on trial, four wanted to give him the habit, three to try him while staying at his own house, and one had the opinion that he was made for them.

May 16, 1551

Mr. Alexander was admitted to the chapter. He repeated his request to be accepted among the Barnabites. Further questions were asked. Then Alexander was dismissed from the chapter. The Fathers now met to consider their opinions about him. Finally after so much consideration, it was decided, almost unanimously, that Alexander be admitted to the Congregation. But first, he had to talk to his father. However, Alexander was not yet ready to do this.

May 17, 1551, Pentecost

Having called the chapter together, it was decided that Mr. Alexander, son of Mr. Dominic Sauli, and Mr. Jerome Pisoni from Venice be accepted to the Congregation. However, both of them have to be tried to see their suitability.

The Cross

It was on Saturday, May 17, 1551, the Vigil of Pentecost, that the Fathers asked the young Alexander to carry a large cross through the streets of Milan, dressed as an Imperial Page, and to preach in public about love for God and the renunciation of the world. This would give them a clear sign that he was willing to shun human respect and was ready to follow Christ. This should also be a proof that his choice was authentic. Garishly dressed with the heavy cross on his shoulders, he crossed the city. When he reached the square called Piazza dei Mercanti, he asked a vendor for his stand. He erected the cross on it, and with great fervor he addressed the crowd about the worship of God and the love of neighbor. The same message would later become the outline of his own life: giving himself to God through others. When he went back to St. Barnabas, the Fathers embraced him and welcomed him as one of them. Alexander gave his sword to one of his servants and told him to bring it back to his father.
by Wernika Ratajska

Alexander was received as a postulant.


Outstanding Barnabites

The Little Flowers of St. Alexander Sauli

oetic moments of history and invisible reality of St. Alexander taken from the Apostolic Process


Translated by Fr. Frank Papa, CRSP

The Little Flowers of St. Alexander Sauli
Half Bath
“I went once with Bishop Sauli by carriage to St. Mary in Pertica, toward Milan. We had to cross an irrigation canal called Carona. I told the coachman to go more north since the water was too deep. However, he rushed carelessly that we went right into the water. The Bishop got wet to his knees. I was quick enough to raise my feet, so I got wet only to my ankles. I got mad at the coachman and scolded him. The Bishop smiled. He tried to calm me down, telling me to take things as part of the joys of life. He did so even though he was more wet than I was.” (Severino Bellingeri, p. 111)

“Months had passed without a drop of rain. Fearing for the harvest, the people of Cervicone begged Bishop Sauli to have a procession to obtain rain. After three days of fast, the procession took place from the Cathedral to the church of St. Francis, where the Bishop started the singing of the Litanies, and other songs, until the blue sky started to get cloudy. At that moment he started to cry, ‘Mercy!’ and the whole people joined in. After the third cry, the rain poured down. There was so much water that the people had to stay in church for three hours to wait for the rain to stop.” (Friar Sisto Negroni, p.43)

The Best Job

Maimed Healed

“Bartholomew of Cervicone, the treasurer of the Confraternity of the Holy Cross, stole a certain amount of money that belonged to the Confraternity. One day, he had an accident. He fell while going fishing. This left him crippled. Bishop Sauli met him one day and told him, ‘Oh, Bartholomew, you will never be healed unless you pay back your debt.’ Bartholomew, wishing to be healed, sold a piece of his chestnut wood and paid what he owed. After that, he went to confession, received communion, and asked the blessing of the Bishop. From that day on, he showed constant improvement until he was perfectly healed. I have been a personal eyewitness of these events.” (James Alfonsi, p. I08)

“While still a cleric, I went to Pavia for the admission exam to the Holy Orders. Monsignor Sauli asked me, ‘Why have you come to Pavia?’ I answered, ‘To follow holy obedience.’ And he said, ‘Blessed are you, because your job is better than mine, which is to be a Bishop.’” (Fr. Giannambrogio Mazenta, p. 121)

Calming of a Storm

“At the end of our visit to Gregory XIII, Monsignor Sauli, Fr. Ambrose Ruottoli, Fr. Lawrenceda Corte, Fr. Cesare Fei and I left to go back to Corsica. We embarked the boat at the port of Ripa on the Tiber and sailed on.When we reached the island of Elba, a violent storm broke out. We all thought we would die at that time. Fr. Cesare Fei began to cry, ‘We are going to drown!’ Monsignor answered, ‘Now, we are going to die!’ Fr.Cesare replied, ‘Yes, but not like this!’ Monsignor Sauli then raised his eyes to heaven and prayed. And then he made the sign of the cross on the sea. Right away, the wind died down. We sailed on peacefully until we arrived in Bastia.” (Peter Negri, p. 61-62)


Outstanding Barnabites

The Little Flowers of St. Alexander Sauli

Beneficent Hurricane

“Twenty-two Turkish galleys were heading toward Campoloro after destroying Sartone and Monticello. The people started to run in panic. They brought a horse to Bishop Sauli so that he could run away. Instead, he refused and asked them all to stay calm because the Turks were not going to land. They all prayed. All of a sudden, a hurricane came. The strong wind kept the galleys from coming close to the shore. And so the galleys left without doing any damage to the place.” (Palmerino Valle, p.113)


Parish Priest

“Three farmers from Pavia who tended some land of their church came to complain about their parish priest concerning the interest rates. Monsignor Sauli welcomed them warmly, but then admonished them for not acting well with their own parish priest. The farmers finally admitted that they had acted wrongly. They then withdrew their complaints. Afterwards, the Bishop called the parish priest, reprimanded him, and warned him not to cause anymore problems to anyone.” (Baldassarre Landini, p. 107)

“One day during the Holy Week in Pavia, the Canon Fabio Bottigella accompanied Bishop Sauli to the reposition chapel. There the Bishop immersed himself in prayer. Three hours had passed, and he was still in prayer, totally unaware of the time. It was almost the time for the ceremony, but he did not move. The Cathedral was already full with people. Three times the Canon pulled his cape, but the Bishop did not move a bit. So he shouted to his ear, ‘Bishop, it is late, the people are waiting.’ Almost like coming back from another world, Bishop Sauli said, ‘Is it a lot that we have been here?’” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 74)

Fishers of Corals

“Once, in Solensara, the Turks assailed about sixty boats of fishers of corals. The men, about ten in each boat, swam to safety in Cervicone. As soon as he got the news, Bishop Sauli called the fishers together in church to console them. Then he fed them in his residence. He told them, ‘Dear children, eat because this belongs to you, not to the Bishop.’ The next day, he provided them with bread and money for their trip back home. I was sent by the Bishop to Bastia to prepare the dinner and transportation for those who were not from Corsica.” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 90)


Outstanding Barnabites

The Little Flowers of St. Alexander Sauli

Justice and Bounty

“Bishop Sauli was so strict that in no way he would allow accepting any gifts. He used to say to his officials, ‘Keep the scale balanced, that is, administer with equal justice to all.’ He also used to say that he preferred to be punished by God for too much mercy, than be punished by Him for too much justice.” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 107)


Bloody Feet

In 1576, while residing in Angaiola, the Jubilee Year of Christianity was proclaimed. For the opening, Bishop Sauli ordered a penitential procession from the church of St. George to the country church of St. Cyprian. He participated in the procession, walking with bare feet, wearing a sack cloth and a cord on his neck, and carrying a large crucifix. On his sides were two Capuchin Friars. Peter Negri, who was present, testified at the Apostolic Process that, ‘Since he was delicate and not used to walking with bare feet on those stony roads, he showed signs of great pain from his tense face.’ And Thomas Giorgi, ‘Once back in church, his feet was drained with blood. I helped the Capuchin Friars to dry his feet.’” (Thomas Giorgi, p. 42)

“I was at the service of Bishop Sauli in Campoloro. One morning, I thought of visiting my parents in Venaco. I went to the Bishop to ask his permission. I knew that he was already up at that time, so I opened the door of his room. To my astonishment I saw him with his back bare, full of blood. He was disciplining himself. Hearing the door opened, he turned around. He did not see me because I quickly withdrew myself. After awhile the Bishop came out from his room. With tenderness he asked me, ‘Anselmo, what did you want?’ So I told him about my desire to visit my parents. Right away, he gave me his permission.” (Anselmo Carlotti, p. 126)

Angelic Songs

“One evening in Bastia, Albert, Francis, and I were in chapel with the Bishop for the examination of conscience. All of a sudden, we heard melodious and sweet angelic songs coming from the Bishop. But his lips were not moving. We then realized that he was in ecstasy, and what we heard were truly angelic songs. After about half an hour, when he came out of the ecstacy, we asked him, ‘Bishop, where have you been? Did you speak with the angels?’ Not happy to have been discovered, he asked,’What?’, and went to his room. He was almost indignant with us for having talked about it. The singing was indeed gentle, sweet, and soft. I would have never left had it continued.” (Jacopo Odoardi, p. 76)


The Oblates of Saint Paul

Love for the Eucharisrt …


231 Morden Road Oakville, Ontario L6K 2S2, Canada

Phone (905) 845-3603

E-mail St. James Parish


Who are the Oblates?
During the Catholic Reform of the early 1500’s, there existed in Milan the Oratory of Eternal Wisdom. One of its spiritual guiding forces was St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria. He formed three different groups from the oratory: the Barnabite Fathers, Angelic Sisters, and the Married of St. Paul. Around the time of the Council of Trent the Married of St. Paul fell to the wayside. Since Vatican II there has been a rebirth of various lay spiritual movements. In the 1990’s this third group has been reborn as the Oblates (Laity) of St. Paul. For many centuries the term “OBLATE” has been defined as “one offered to God.” Thus the oblate has been one linked in some way to a religious institute or as a member of a religious institute. In recent times lay men and women have been seeking to express their faith with regard to the first definition of the Barnabites and the Angelics. In the North American Province of the Barnabite Fathers, the Oblates of St. Paul began on March 5, 2000 with their first meeting at St. James Parish in Oakville, Ontario. The Oblates meet monthly with an open sharing of ideas on topics connected with St. Anthony Mary, the Barnabite Fathers, or St. Paul. These members of the laity (single or married) wish to grow spiritually within the Zaccarian family. Each Oblate community (cenacle) has a Barnabite as its spiritual director to guide all in their spiritual journey with and through the Barnabites. The Oblates also are involved in some form of Barnabite ministry connected with a Barnabite community.


Love for the Eucharist is Fundamental in the Life of the Oblates of St. Paul
by Rosaire Johnson, OSP

oly Eucharist, Sacred Scripture and Jesus Crucifi Crucified! What more powerful images of our Catholic faith are there? It was for love of these that men and women followed St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria (1502–1539) in pledging their lives in service to God and to their neighbor, in imitation of Christ, in imitation of St. Paul. Five hundred years later, men and women still follow St. Anthony Mary, out of love for the Holy Eucharist and Jesus Crucified, as Barnabite Fathers, Angelic Sisters, or Oblates of St. Paul. On November 17, 2002, the feast of Our Lady, Mother of Divine Providence, patroness of the Zaccarian spiritual family, eight men and women pledged their lives as Oblates of St. Paul at the 5:00 p.m. Mass at St. James the Greater Church, Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Their promises that day marked not an end, but rather a continuation of the new chapter, in the long history, of the Zaccarian spiritual tradition, that was begun three years earlier. Inspired by the Laity of St. Paul movement, newlflourishing in Europe and South America, Fr. Michael Mancusi, CRSP, a Barnabite priest assigned to


The Oblates of Saint Paul

Love for the Eucharisrt …

St. James Parish, in Oakville, spearheaded the drive to bring the same movement to the Barnabite Fathers’ North American Province. The Rule of Life of the Oblates of St. Paul was drawn up and approved by the Barnabite Fathers on an experimental basis. Several couples from St. James were invited, in early 2000, to participate in this new undertaking and began a course of study similarly outlined by the Oblates of St. Paul in other countries. The use of the title, Oblate, was chosen instead of Laity because of the deeper spiritual commitment that the couples would be invited to take upon completion of the initial period of study. That commitment was demonstrated by the taking of promises on November 17, 2002. Bonding together for love of the Lord, these eight North American pioneers, together with the Barnabite Fathers who shepherd their flock, spent three years studing the life and writings of St. Anthony Mary, the Letters of St. Paul the Apostle, and the Rule of Life of the Oblates of St. Paul. Now bonded by an even deeper love for the Eucharist, and having promised to live the evangelical lifestyle of obedience, poverty, and chastity, the Oblates continue to seek after spiritual perfection in two very important ways. The first is through their commitment to continuous study of the writings of St. Paul and St. Anthony Mary and their relevance to living the Rule. The Oblates meet regularly each month for prayer and studies. Their hope is for a deeper spiritual life to sustain them as they move from studying the Word of God to living it more intensely. Secondly, it is this living more intensely the Word of God that draws them ever closer to the Holy Eucharist. They know that the apostolic work they do in their private lives, as well as the work they do as Oblates, can only be sustained through prayer and the reception of the Sacraments. “You will be converted to God by offering to Him

the sacrifice of your body, tamed for God’s love, the sacrifice of your spirit, in union with God, above all, the Sacrifice of sacrifices, the Most Holy Eucharist. No wonder man has lost his fervor and turned into a beast. It is because he does not receive this Sacrament. This is the principal sign of your return to God: the reception of this food. Go to it, my dearest, go to it. Nothing can lead you closer to holiness because therein lies the Holy of Holies”. (St. Anthony M. Zaccaria, Sermon III) As such, the Oblates have dedicated themselves this year to promoting more intensely what the


The Oblates of Saint Paul

Love for the Eucharisrt …

Barnabite Fathers continue to exhort their parishioners to the very ideals upon which St. Anthony Mary founded his orders: love of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Scriptures and Christ Crucified. Under the direction of their new Spiritual Director, Fr. Frank Ruzza, CRSP, one of the ways the Oblates hope to realize is by actively recruiting parishioners to spend more time in Eucharistic Adoration. The goal is to move the parish from the practice of Adoration once a week (Fridays) to eventual Perpetual Adoration; lofty goal, but the Oblates have committed themselves, through prayer and work, towards seeking this end. Charitable patien ce, time, and with and through God’s grace, the Oblates truly hope for this to become reality. (...) Fr. Michael Mancusi, CRSP once wrote in a discourse on his Holy Founder’s writings, “Anthony called his followers to fidelity as children of Paul. ‘Such a leader should not be served by fainthearted troops, nor should such a parent find his children unworthy of him.’ (SAMZ, Sermon VII).” The Oblates, through the early days, have prayed and worked hard to be worthy sons and daughters of St. Paul and St. Anthony Mary. Christian charity is the virtue by which the Oblates exhort and support one another, and the virtue by which they seek to serve their neighbor in all things. It is love of God and of neighbor that continues to spur them on in service of both. “Therefore, do you want to reach perfection? Do you want to gain some soul? Do you want to love God and be a dear child to Him? Then love your neighbor, have a disposition to benefit and not to offend your neighbor. With the first three precepts of the Law man lives virtuously toward his neighbor.” (St. Anthony Zaccaria, Letter V) “Let us run like madman, not only toward God but toward our neighbor as well.” (St. Anthony Zaccaria, Letter II)



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Barnabite Spiritual Center Newsletter

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