St. Francis Xavier M.

Bianchi Ascetical Writings
Edited by Fr. Giovanni M. Scalese, CRSP

1743-1815

Compiled and Edited by: Fr. Robert B. M. Kosek, CRSP Sr. Rorivic Ma. P. Israel, ASP Ms. Frances Stahlecker Mrs. Nancy Bellis Translation from Italian by: Fr. Frank M. Papa, CRSP

St. Francis Xavier M. Bianchi Barnabite Priest

Ascetical Writings

The great confidence that we should have in the love shown us by Jesus Christ in all that he has done for us

CONSIDERATIONS Our Hope King David placed all the trust of his salvation in his future Redeemer and said, “Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God” (Ps 31:6). Now, how much more should we put our trust in Jesus Christ, since He has already come and has brought Redemption to its completion? Therefore, with greater trust each one of us must say and always repeat, “Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God.” If we have serious reasons to fear eternal death because of offenses against God, we have, on the other hand, much greater reasons to hope for eternal life in the merits of Jesus Christ which have an infinitely superior value for our salvation than the value would our sins make us lose. We have sinned and have merited hell; but our Redeemer has come to take upon himself all our faults in order to expiate with his suffering, “It was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured” (Is 53:4).
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Saved by the Blood of Christ In the very unhappy moment when we sinned, the eternal death penalty was written by God against us; but what did our merciful Redeemer do? “obliterating the bond against us ... He also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14). With His blood he nullified the decree of our conviction and then nailed it to the cross so that we, looking at the sentence of our damnation because of the sins committed, would look at the same time upon the cross where Jesus Christ, dying, has canceled it with his blood, and so we would regain the hope of pardon and of eternal salvation. Oh! How much better spokesman he is for us, as he obtains for us the divine mercy, the blood of Jesus Christ than what was the blood of Abel against Cain, “and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel” (Heb 12:24). As if the Apostle would say: Oh! Happy you sinners who, after sin, have made recourse to Jesus Crucified, who has shed all His blood to become a mediator of peace between sinners and God, and obtained pardon for them. Your iniquities cry aloud against you, but the blood of the Redeemer pleads on your behalf, and at the voice of this blood the divine justice cannot stand placated. Christ is Our Judge It is true that on account of our sins that we have to give the eternal judge is very rigorous. But who will be our judge? “The Father… has given all judgment to his Son” (Jn 5:22). Let us be consoled: the eternal Father has entrusted our judgment to the same Redeemer. Hence, St. Paul encourages us, saying, “Who will Confidence in Christ Crucified If we are afraid because of our weakness to fall at the assaults by our enemies against whom we have to fight, this is what we have to do. As the Apostle warns us, “let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame” (Heb 12:1-2). With high spirit let us go to the fight, gazing on Jesus Crucified who from His cross offers us His help, the victory, and the crown. In the past we have fallen because we did not gaze on the wounds and outrages suffered by our Redeemer. We have not made recourse to Him to receive His help. But, in the future we will keep in front of our eyes what He has suffered for love of us and how He is ready to come to our aid. To Him we make recourse; for sure, we are not going to be overcome by our enemies. condemn? It is Christ (Jesus) who died...., who indeed intercedes for us” (Rom 8:34). Who is the judge who should condemn us? It is that same Savior who, not to condemn us to eternal death, wanted to condemn himself and has died and who not satisfied with it, now in heaven, continues to procure our salvation in front of His Father. Hence, St. Thomas of Villanova writes, “What do you fear, O sinner, if you abhor your sin? How could He condemn you, He who dies not to condemn you? How could He chase you away, if you return at His feet, to the one who has come from heaven to search for you when you were running away from Him?”

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______________________________________________________________________________ St. Teresa, with her very generous heart, used to say, “It is not my intention to tremble at the devil; where we can say ‘God, God’ and make him tremble.” She also said that if we do not put all our trust in God, all our shrewdness would be good for nothing. “All our shrewdness,” these are her words, “are of little help if, taken all confidence completely away from us, we do not put it in God.” The Passion of Christ and
the Sacrament of the Altar Oh! What great mysteries of hope and love are the Passion of Jesus Christ for us and the sacrament of the altar! They are mysteries which, if not assured by faith, who could believe them? An omnipotent God wanting to become man, shed all His blood and died out of pain on a cross. And why? To pay for our sins and save us, rebel worms! And then wanting to give us that very body of His as food, sacrificed for us on the cross, so that He could be totally united with us! Oh God! These two mysteries should turn to ashes because of love of all the hearts of men. And which sinner, as dissolute as he might be, could despair of pardon if he repents of the evil done as he sees a God in love with men and inclined to do them good? So do everything with trust. St. Bonaventure used to say, “How could the one who has done and suffered so much to save me deny me the graces needed for salvation?” “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help” (Heb 4:16), the Apostle exhorts us. The throne of grace is the cross where Jesus sits as if on His throne to dispense graces and mercy to whoever makes recourse to Him. But we have to make this recourse often, now that we can find the right help for our salvation. Perhaps there will be a time when we could not find it anymore. Let us go, then, in haste to embrace the cross of Jesus Christ, and let us go to it with great confidence. Let us not lose heart because of our miseries. In Jesus Crucified we will find every richness and grace for us. “In Him you were enriched in every way…so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift” (1 Cor 1:5-7). The merits of Jesus Christ have enriched us with divine treasures and have made us capable of any grace that we might desire. In Jesus We Are Given All Graces St. Leo says that Jesus with His death has brought us greater good than the damage brought by the devil with sin. And this affirms what St. Paul had said before, that the gift of Redemption has been greater than the sin. Grace has surpassed the crime. “The gift is not like the transgression…where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom 5: 15-20). Hence, the Savior encouraged us to hope for any favor and any grace out of His merits. And this is how He taught us the way to obtain whatever we want from His eternal Father, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you” (Jn 16:23), “When,” He says, “you desire something, ask my Father in my name, and I promise you it will be granted to you.” But how could the Father deny us any grace if He has been the one to give us His only Son, whom He loves as himself? “He who did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all, how will He not also give us everything else along with Him?” (Rom 8:32). The Apostle says “all”; so no grace is emphasized,

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nor the pardon, nor perseverance, nor the holy love, nor perfection, nor paradise: The Father gave us everything. But we have to pray to Him. God is infinitely merciful with those who pray to Him. “Enriching all who call upon Him” (Rom 10:12). Here the Saint adds a note, “I would like to add here many other beautiful thoughts written by the Venerable John of Avila in his letters about the confidence we should have in the merits of Jesus Christ.” The Blood of Christ Repairs Our Faults Do not forget that between the eternal Father and us there is Jesus Christ as mediator. Therefore, we are loved and we are bound by ties of love so strong that no fault could untie them if man does not break them through some mortal fault. The blood of Christ screams, asking mercy for us, and screams so that the noise of our sins is not heard. The death of Jesus Christ has made our faults die. “O death! Where is your sting?” (Hos 13:14). Those who get lost are lost not because of lack of satisfaction but because they do not want to take advantage, through the sacraments, of the satisfaction given by Jesus Christ. Jesus remedied for us as if He had to do for himself, so that for our sins, because He did not commit any, He has claimed them as His own and has asked pardon for them, as if praying for himself, so that all those who want to come closer to Him would be loved. And as He has asked for it, so He has obtained it because God has desired for Jesus and us to be so intimately united as one so that both He and we would be loved, and He and we would be hated. Since Jesus is not hated and cannot be hated, in the The Greater Love Overcomes the Minor Hate Jesus says to the Father, “Father, I wish that where I am, they also may be with me” (Jn 17:24). The greater love overcame the minor hate, and so we have been forgiven and loved, sure of never being abandoned since there is such a strong bound of love. The LORD says through the Prophet Isaiah, “Can a mother forget her infant ...? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” (Is 49: 15-16). He has written us on His hands with His blood. Therefore, we should not be upset for any reason while everything is disposed by those hands which have been nailed to the cross as a testimony of the love He has for us. Jesus is Our Advocate Nothing can terrify us as much as Jesus Christ can give us trust. May I be surrounded by all the sins that I have committed, by the fears of the future, and the demons that may accuse me and try to ensnare me, begging mercy from a whole, gracious Jesus Christ, my lover until death. I cannot but trust as I see myself valued so much that God has given himself up for me. O my Jesus, safe refuge for those who, in the midst of the storm, find recourse in you! O watchful shepherd, the one who does not trust you will be deceived although he wants to amend. This is why you said, “It same way, if we are bound to Jesus through love, we too are loved. Since He is loved by God, we too are loved. It is more valuable for Jesus Christ to make sure that we are loved than be hated, because the eternal Father loves the Son more than He hates the sinners.

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is I! Don’t be afraid. I am the one to suffer and to console. Sometimes I give desolation to some, so that it seems they are in hell, but then I free them and lift them up. I am your advocate who has taken up your cause as my own. I am your guarantor who has come to pay your debts. I am your LORD who has redeemed you with my blood, not to abandon you, but to enrich you, having ransomed you at a great price. How could I flee from those who are looking for me, as I have gone towards those who were looking for me to insult me? I did not turn my face away from those who were hitting me; would I turn it from the one who wants to adore me? How could my children doubt that I love them, as they see me in the hands of my enemies and my love for them? Who in the world have I despised who has loved me? Whom did I ever abandon who has asked for my help? I am even looking for those who do not look for me.” If you believe that the eternal Father has donated his Son, then believe that He will even donate to you everything else since it is all so much less than the Son. Don’t you ever think that Jesus Christ has forgotten you while, in memory of His love, He has left you the greatest pledge that He could have: He himself in the Sacrament of the altar. FEELINGS OF LOVE AND PRAYER

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Oh! My Jesus, I Love You.
Oh! My Jesus, my love, what beautiful hopes your passion gives me. How could I be afraid not to receive the forgiveness of my sins, paradise, and all the needed graces from an omnipotent God who has given me the whole of His blood? Oh! My Jesus, my hope and my love! Not to lose me you have wanted to lose your life. I love you above every good, my Redeemer and my God, you have given the whole of yourself to me, and I give you the whole of my will, and with this I repeat that I love you, I love you, I love you; and I want to repeat it all the time: I love you, I love you. I want to say so my whole life long and I want to die giving my last breath with these dear words on my lips, “My God, I love you;” to start at that moment a continuous act of love to last into eternity without ever stopping to love you. I love you, then, and because I love you, I repent for having offended you so much. Wretched me! Not to lose a brief satisfaction, I have wanted so many times to lose you, my infinite goodness! This thought torments me more than any penalty; but I am comforted by the thought that I am dealing with an infinite bounty which does not know how to despise a heart who loves You. Oh, could I die for you who have died for me! My dear Redeemer, I surely hope from you eternal salvation in the next life; and in this one I hope for holy perseverance in your love. This is why I propose continually to ask you for it all the time. And you, through the merits of your death, grant me the perseverance always to pray to you. This I ask and I hope from you, Mary, my Queen.

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______________________________________________________________________________ Virgin Mary, My Mother, Mother of My LORD
Virgin Mary, my mother, to you, the mother of my LORD, sovereign of the world and Virgin of paradise, the advocate, hope, and refuge of sinners, I, the most miserable of all, make recourse to you today. I honor you, my Queen, and I thank you for all the graces granted me so far, especially for freeing me so many times from the hell I deserve. I love you, my most lovable Lady, and because of the love I have for you, I promise to want to serve you, to live and die at your feet. After Jesus, my sweet Savior, I entrust my hope and firm trust of salvation in you, my dear mother. Accept me now as your servant and son; receive me under the mantle of your sure protection. I desire nothing else from you but a solid, constant, and tender love for Jesus Christ. Obtain for me a great purity of mind and body, hate for the world, horror for any evil, and love for holy virtues. I beg you to obtain for me the strength to resist any temptation by my enemies. Allow me to lead a life as a true servant of yours, humble, chaste, and patient, detached from this world, and from all creatures. My Dear Mother, I am your son, do not leave me until you see me already safe in heaven. Meantime, give me your maternal blessing to confirm it for all eternity in paradise where you reign. Amen.

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Three Glory Be, with Blessed be the most holy and purest Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Virgin and Mother of God, always immaculate and most merciful Mary, my mother, with your powerful intercession secure that I and all creatures may know and always love Jesus Christ, your most beloved Son.

NOTE: The present English translation is only a part of the Italian original edition entitled: “S. Francesco Severio M. Bianchi: Sacerdote Barnabita - Apostolo di Napoli. Cenni Biografici e Scritti Ascetici.” PP. Barnabiti, S. Maria di Caravaggio - Napoli, 1996.

Salve Regina

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January 30
FRANCIS XAVIER M. BIANCHI — BARNABITE PRIEST

Francis Bianchi (1743-1815) was born in Arpino, Italy. He joined the Congregation of the Barnabites, his teachers. After his ordination he taught at the University of Naples; then he zealously ministered to the people by preaching and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, works of mercy and spiritual direction of the clergy, religious and laity. Because of his apostolic zeal he was called another "Philip Neri" and "Apostle of Naples." He was gifted with outstanding charismatic gifts: he predicted Napoleon's defeat in Russia and the return of Pope Pius VII to Rome; he stopped the flow of lava when Vesuvius erupted; for years he endured "fire and thorns" in his legs. Tirelessly he ministered with fatherly care to the penitents lining up at his door. He died in Naples on January 31, 1815. His memorial is on January 30, not to interfere with the one of St. John Bosco.

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