MOTIVATION
AND
DEVELOPMENT
OF
THE
CONFERENCE
 ON
ST.
F
RANCIS
XAVIER
MARIA
BIANCHI
 BARNABITE
PRIEST
‐
APOSTLE
OF
NAPLES
–
IN
THE
YEAR
OF
PRIESTS
 
 On
the
occasion
of
Year
of
Priests
a
conference
on
St.


Francis
Xavier
Maria
Francis
was
held
in
 the
Barnabite
Church
of
St.
Mary
a
Caravaggio,
in
Naples,
on
April
23‐24.
 The
 Province
 South‐Centre
 of
 the
 Barnabite
 Fathers
 organized
 d
 this
 event
 to
 present
 and
 let
 everyone
know
this
saint,
one
of
the
many
treasures
of
our
religious
family.
 Fr.
Giovanni
Peragine,
a
Barnabite
missionary
in
Albania,
was
the
moderator
of
the
conference.
 His
introduction
was
followed
by
the
greetings
of
Fr.
Giovanni
Villa,
Superior
General,
and
Fr.

Antonio
 Iannuzzi,
Provincial
Superior.
 In
the
morning,
the
first
report
was
by
Fr.
Giovanni
Scalese
on
“St.
Francis
Xavier
Maria
Francis,
 light
and
hope
in
a
time
of
crisis.”
He
first
presented
the
historical
context
in
which
the
Saint
lived.
He
 was
born
in
Arpino,
on
December
2,
1743,
and
died
in
Naples
on
January
31,
1815.
He
highlighted
his
 life,
his
vocation,
his
figure
as
a
priest
and
teacher,
his
mission,
his
contacts
with
St.
Frances
of
the
Five
 Wounds,
his
apostolate
in
Naples,
and
then
the
turning
point
of
his
life
beginning
with
the
abandonment
 of
 a
 teaching
 career
 to
 devote
 himself
 completely
 to
 the
 ministry
 of
 confession,
 spiritual
 direction
 of
 souls,
and
finally
to
live
the
mystery
of
suffering,
his
traveling
companion
of
the
last
years
of
his
life.
St.
 Francis
Xavier
Maria
Francis
called
his
illness,
“Thorns
and
fire”:
the
Saint
was
suffering
from
a
painful
 disease
that
paralyzed
his
swollen
legs
and
accompanied
him
to
his
death.
In
a
time
where
Illuminism,
 the
 French
 Revolution,
 the
 Napoleonic
 Epic
 celebrated
 their
 triumphs,
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis
 was
able
to
spread
light
and
hope
all
around,
bearing
witness
in
his
Naples,
that
only
Jesus
can
give
true
 light
and
true
hope.
 In
the
afternoon,
the
second
report
was
given
by
the
Frs.
Giovanni
Nitti
and
Enrico
Moscetta
on
 the
 theme:
 “Today’s
 meaning
 of
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis’s
 message.”
 The
 two
 Barnabites,
 starting
from
the
spirituality
of
the
Saint,
traced
his
path
of
asceticism,
understood
and
updated
in
our
 time,
dividing
it
into
three
stages:
“A
life
of
prayer,”
“A
life
of
the
Eucharist”,
“Pain
as
a
friend.”
In
fact,
 “Our
 vocation
 and
 our
 earthly
 and
 eternal
 happiness
 depend
 from
 following
 well
 the
 will
 of
 God.
 The
 Eucharist
is
the
sacrament
of
love.
Love
is
the
most
beautiful
feeling
that
the
Lord
has
put
into
the
soul
 of
men.”
 Saturday
 morning,
 April
 24,
 the
 Most
 Reverend
 Filippo
 Iannone,
 Bishop
 of
 Sora‐Aquino‐
 Pontecorvo,
 spoke
 on
 “St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis,
 the
 living
 image
 of
 Christ
 <Sacerdos
 et

 Victima>.”
 The
saint
is
always
one
who
is
transfigured,
a
man
who,
shaped
gradually
by
the
Holy
Spirit,
is
 united
with
Christ
in
order
to
become
more
and
more
his
perfect
image.
The
fullness
of
the
priesthood
 can
be
reached
within
this
divine
transformation.
Prayer
(light)
and
pain
(fire)
are
the
travel
companions
 needed
for
this
purification
to
occur,
which
binds
us
inextricably
to
God
for
eternity.

 At
the
end,
Bishop
Filippo
Iannone
presided
at
the
solemn
Mass
in
honor
of
the
Saint
followed
 by
the
kiss
of
the
relic.

 Present
were
some
priests
and
religious
of
the
Diocese
of
Naples,
the
Angelic
Sisters
of
St.
Paul,
 the
Barnabite
Fathers
from
the
Denza
and
Francis
Institutes,
representatives,
Fathers
and
lay
people
of
 the
 communities
 of
 Milan,
 Bologna,
 Florence,
 Livorno,
 Perugia,
 Rome,
 Naples,
 San
 Felice
 a
 Cancello,
 Trani,
 Bari
 and
 Milot
 (Albania).
 Many
 lay
 people,
 members
 of
 the
 Lay
 Movement
 of
 St.
 Paul
 and
 the
 Zaccarian
 Youth
 Movement,
 and
 many
 cooperators
 of
 our
 activities.
 Sincere
 thanks
 to
 everyone
 for
 participating.
 P.
Antonio
Iannuzzi
 Provincial
Superior


INTRODUCTION
 by
FR.
GIOVANNI
PERAGINE

 MODERATOR
OF
THE
CONFERENCE
 
 As
we
open
this
conference,
first
of
all
I
welcome
all
of
you
here.
I
greet
Fr.
General,
the
Most
 Rev.
 Fr.
 Giovanni
 M.
 Villa,
 Father
 Provincial
 of
 the
 Center‐South,
 Fr.
 Antonio
 M.
 Iannuzzi,
 Fr.
 Daniel
 Ponzoni,
Provincial
of
the
North,
and
all
the
Barnabite
Fathers
representing
almost
all
the
communities
 of
our
Province;
I
greet
the
Angelic
Sisters
and
all
the
lay
of
St.
Paul
from
various
areas
of
the
Province.
It
 is
nice
to
gather
here
in
this
church
as
a
Zaccarian
family
around
the
body
of
St.
Francis
M.
Francis.
Our
 presence,
 being
 so
 numerous
 honors
 him,
 but
 in
 reality
 we
 are
 honored
 by
 his
 holiness,
 which
 during
 these
days
we
want
to
discover
and
imitate.
I
also
greet
the
other
priests
and
faithful
of
this
city
and
of
 this
church.

 Before
giving
the
floor
to
the
speakers
I
think
there
is
the
need
of
just
a
few
words
to
introduce
 our
conference.
The
Council
of
the
Centre‐South
Province
has
decided
to
organize
this
meeting,
placing
 it
 in
 the
 context
 of
 the
 Tear
 of
 the
 Priests
 that
 we
 are
 celebrating.
 The
 goal
 is
 therefore
 to
 provide
 a
 further
contribution
to
what
already
the
universal
Church
and
the
initiatives
of
individual
local
churches
 are
 offering
 to
 priests
 around
 the
 world
 in
 this
 year
 dedicated
 to
 them.
 The
 figure
 that
 the
 Pope
 has
 given
for
meditation
is
that
of
the
Curé
of
Ars,
St.
John
M.
Vianney.
During
these
days
we
want
to
enrich
 our
meditation
looking
at
another
Holy
Priest
much
nearer
to
us:
St.
Francis
Saverio
M.
Francis.
 To
better
set
our
meeting
in
this
Year
of
the
Priests
I
would
like
to
recall
only
one
point
of
the
 letter
with
which
Pope
Benedict
XVI
kicked
off
this
Year
of
the
Priests.
In
this
letter
the
Pope
states
that
 this
year:
 ‐
“wants
to
contribute
in
promoting
the
commitment
to
the
interior
renewal
of
all
priests
for
a
 stronger
and
more
effective
witness
to
the
Gospel
in
today
's
world”;
 ‐
and
recognize
“the
immense
gift
that
priests
are
not
only
to
the
Church
but
also
for
humanity
 itself.”
 The
term
“renewal,”
not
foreign
to
our
spirituality
and
so
dear
to
our
Holy
Founder,
expresses
 the
need
for
an
inner
journey
to
rediscover
that
the
gift
of
the
priesthood
is
not
for
themselves
but
for
 the
Church
and
for
the
whole
mankind,
and
that
without
an
inner
renewal
our
witness
to
the
world
will
 never
be
strong
and
incisive.

 The
 priestly
 year
 we
 are
 experiencing
 should
 be
 just
 the
 opportunity
 to
 give
 impetus
 to
 this
 inner
 renewal
 and
 stimulate
 still
 more
 the
 spirituality
 of
 priests
 in
 a
 world
 driven
 by
 a
 postmodern,
 secular,
relativist,
secular
culture,
which
does
not
like
religion
and
on
the
contrary,
would
relegate
it
to
 the
private
sphere.
Faced
with
this
challenge
for
evangelization,
the
priest
must
rediscover
his
role
as
a
 missionary.
In
a
cultural
context
in
which
we
are
witnessing
attacks
targeting
the
Church
in
general
and
 individual
priests
in
particular,
the
only
answer
is
precisely
that
of
a
spiritual
renewal,
the
response
of
 holiness.

 This
is
the
only
answer
not
only
to
the
scandals
of
infidelity
to
our
ministry,
but
to
every
form
of
 apathy
which
is
also
an
infidelity
to
our
priestly
ministry.

 The
interior
renewal
and
the
sanctity
of
life
are
the
program
of
St.
John
M.
Vianney,
and
they
 have
also
been
the
life
program
of
St.
Francis
Saverio
M.
Francis,
who
in
these
two
days
we
not
only
 want
know
better
but
make
him
our
friend
and
imitate
him
in
our
journey
of
continuous
renewal.
 
 Fr.
Giovanni
Peragine
 
 
 
 


INTRODUCTORY
ADDRESS
BY
FR.
GENERAL
 
 I
 give
 my
 greetings
 and
 a
 warm
 welcome
 to
 you
 all,
 and
 with
 my
 presence
 and
 my
 words
 I
 express
my
satisfaction
and
of
many
confreres
and
others
for
this
initiative
of
the
Italian
Province
of
the
 CS
of
the
Barnabite
Fathers.
St.
Francis
Saverio
M.
Francis,
in
fact,
besides
being
our
confrere,
is
also
the
 patron
 of
 the
 same
 Province,
 and
 his
 memory
 is
 linked
 especially
 to
 places
 that
 host
 us
 during
 these
 days.
 During
the
last
decade,
the
attention
of
us
Barnabites
and
those
who
are
spiritually
close
to
us,
 has
 been
 mostly
 absorbed
 by
 St.
 Antonio
 M.
 Zaccaria,
 at
 the
 urging
 of
 commemorations
 and
 anniversaries
that
for
various
reasons
have
affected
our
religious
family.
This
is
not
to
recover
from
the
 shadows
 also
 St.
 Francis
 Saverio
 Maria;
 but
 it
 is
 certainly
 a
 good
 sign
 to
 re‐propose
 other
 models
 and
 witnesses
 of
 our
 family
 who
 in
 this
 Year
 for
 Priests
 can
 enrich
 our
 experience
 and
 draw
 us
 to
 what
 is
 good
while
giving
us
a
greater
awareness
of
our
consecration.
 We
 know
 that,
 in
 a
 sense,
 St.
 Francis
 Francis,
 escapes
 us,
 not
 for
 lack
 of
 proposals
 about
 his
 spiritual
life,
but
because
of
the
abundance
of
facets
that
need
an
overview:
he
is
the
saint
of
charity,
 but
also
a
man
of
culture
and
study,
the
saint
marked
by
suffering,
but
also
the
spiritual
director
with
 special
 gifts
 of
 discernment,
 a
 man
 at
 the
 center
 of
 a
 vast
 network
 of
 personal
 relationships
 of
 all
 backgrounds,
but
also
a
discreet
and
secluded
religious,
etc.
 Perhaps,
in
view
of
many,
it
is
not
conducive
to
understanding
and
popularity
to
have
belonged
 to
 the
 world,
 a
 little
 'frivolous
 and
 superficial,
 of
 the
 Ancien
 Régime
 at
 its
 setting,
 and
 with
 the
 tumultuous
world
of
the
French
Revolution
and
of
Napoleon.
 But
I
hope
and
wish
you
all
for
these
meetings
to
be
a
time
of
a
beautiful
and
intense
spirituality
 and
a
great
way
to
celebrate
and
conclude,
by
now,
the
Year
of
the
Priest,
principally
for
the
benefit
of
 our
young
people
and
many
who
know
a
little
about
our
life
and
our
spirituality.
 Heartfelt
thanks
to
the
organizers
and
to
all
a
good
and
productive
day.
 
 The
Most
Rev.
Fr.
Giovanni
Villa
 Superior
General
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ST.
FRANCS
XAVIER
MARIA
FRANCIS
 LIGHT
AND
HOPE
IN
A
TIME
OF
CRISIS
 

Giovanni
Scalese,
CRSP
 
 I
think
it
was
an
excellent
initiative
by
the
provincial
curia,
to
want
to
propose,
during
the
year
of
 the
Priest,
the
figure
of
St.
Francis
Xavier
Maria
Francis.
Perhaps
during
this
year
(which
is
coming
to
its
 conclusion),
we
priests,
have
focused
almost
exclusively
on
St.
John
Vianney:
certainly
to
focus
on
the
 Cure
of
Ars
was
an
excellent
idea,
but
we
can
not
forget
that
next
to
him,
there
is
a
multitude
of
holy
 priests
 to
 whom
 we
 must
 direct
 our
 gaze.
 Among
 these,
 as
 Barnabites,
 we
 cannot
 ignore
 our
 brother
 from
Arpino,
who
stands
before
us
not
only
as
a
glory
to
be
proud
of,
but
also
as
a
role
model.
This
is
an
 extraordinary
 figure,
 in
 some
 ways
 comparable
 to
 the
 present
 day,
 with
 that
 of
 Padre
 Pio,
 but
 with
 a
 totally
different
destiny:
while
the
saint
of
Pietrelcina
is
known
by
everyone
and
his
cult
has
spread
all
 over
 the
 world,
 Fr.
 Francis
 is
 almost
 unknown
 outside
 the
 small
 circle
 of
 fellow
 citizens
 and
 confreres
 (and
 even
 among
 these,
 knowledge
 is
 often
 quite
 limited).
 I
 think
 he
 is
 the
 only
 one
 among
 those
 enrolled
in
the
list
of
the
Saints
who,
at
this
time,
cannot
boast
not
even
of
a
church
dedicated
to
his
 name,
 not
 in
 his
 hometown,
 not
 in
 this
 city
 (where
 he
 lived
 and
 died
 and
 yet
 it
 worships
 him
 as
 its
 “apostle”),
and
not
in
his
congregation.
Perhaps
it
deserves
a
bit
more
attention.
 
 The
“Age
of
Enlightenment”
 
 From
 the
 historical
 point
 of
 view,
 the
 period
 that
 we
 consider
 is
 one
 that
 runs
 from
 1743
 to
 1815,
respectively
the
year
of
birth
and
death
of
Francis
(a
span
of
72
years).
 From
the
geographical
point
of
view,
the
context
is
the
Kingdom
of
Naples
(which
in
1816
will
be
 merged
with
that
of
Sicily,
giving
rise
to
the
“Kingdom
of
the
Two
Sicilies”).

 The
 cultural
 context
 in
 which
 we
 move
 is
 that
 the
 Enlightenment.
 We
 have
 learned
 from
 textbooks
that
the
eighteenth
century
is
the
“Age
of
Enlightenment,”
as
if
it
gives
off
only
light;
while
 the
 reality
 is
 perhaps
 a
 little
 more
 complex.
 Few
 days
 ago
 the
 Avvenire
 (Catholic
 newspaper)
 has
 published
a
preview
of
a
chapter
of
the
book
Oltre
l’abisso,
by
the
French
philosopher‐sociologist,
still
 alive,
 Edgar
 Morin.
 In
 the
 chapter
 entitled
 “Beyond
 the
 Enlightenment,”
 the
 author
 argues
 that
 “the
 French
 Revolution
 was
 based
 both
 on
 the
 triumph
 and
 the
 crisis
 of
 the
 Enlightenment.
 The
 triumph,
 with
 the
 message
 of
 emancipation
 of
 1789
 [the
 “Declaration
 of
 the
 Rights
 of
 Man
 and
 Citizen”];
 the
 crisis,
with
the
terror
and
the
cult
of
reason
(I
think
of
Alejo
Carpentier,
in
his
wonderful
novel
The
Age
 of
 Enlightenment,
 where
 he
 says
 that
 the
 Enlightenment
 came
 to
 the
 Caribbean
 with
 the
 guillotine)
 “(Agorà,
April
11,
2010,
p
.
4).
 But
before
reaching
the
French
Revolution
(which
corresponds,
in
the
life
of
Francis,
the
period
 of
his
gradual
spiritual
transformation),
we
cannot
forget
the
previous
phenomenon,
no
less
devastating
 for
 the
 Church,
 of
 the
 enlightened
 absolutism,
 that
 is,
 when
 the
 sovereigns
 agreed
 with
 the
 “philosophers”
(i.e.
Enlightenment
intellectuals)
to
introduce
into
their
kingdoms
some
“reforms”.
There
 were
two
sets
of
reforms.
First
of
all
the
interventions
over
the
large
land
estates,
lay
and
ecclesiastical,
 to
introduce
the
bourgeoisie
with
the
new
capitalist
mentality
that
tends
to
exploit
the
land
which,
in
 many
cases,
remained
uncultivated.
These
measures
largely
failed,
while
another
set
of
reforms
was
a
 success,
the
ecclesiastical
ones.

 At
that
time
the
so‐called
“juridicalism”
was
affirmed,
by
which
the
sovereign
claimed
the
right
 to
 give
 its
 approval
 for
 the
 appointment
 of
 bishops
 and
 priests
 (“Placet”)
 and
 demanded
 that
 the
 ecclesiastical
laws
were
approved
by
him,
so
that
they
might
have
force
(“exequatur”).
You
understand
 that
this
was
a
drastic
restriction
on
the
freedom
of
the
Church.
They
wanted
the
clergy
to
be
under
the
 State;
ecclesiastical
goods
were
more
often
dispossessed;
even,
in
some
cases
(like
the
Emperor
Joseph
 II,
 the
 so‐called
 “king
 sacristan”),
 they
 reach
 the
 point
 of
 wanting
 to
 regulate
 also
 the
 cult;
 above
 all,


they
wanted
to
deprive
the
church
of
the
education,
which
until
then
had
been
practically
a
monopoly
 of
 the
 clergy;
 they
 tried,
 though
 without
 much
 success,
 to
 form
 some
 national
 churches
 (“Febronianism”);
the
religious
were
subtracted
from
their
dependence
to
their
central
authority;
they
 started
an
unrelenting
fight
against
the
Jesuits,
which
led,
in
1773,
to
the
suppression
of
the
Society
by
 the
submissive
Clement
XIV.
 What
 was
 the
 reaction
 of
 the
 Church
 in
 the
 face
 of
 such
 reforms?
 The
 attitude
 of
 the
 church
 hierarchy
was
rather
yielding
to
political
power.
Apart
from
the
clerics
who
supported
the
Enlightment
 principles
 ‐
 it
 is
 enough
 to
 mention
 the
 Jansenist
 Bishop
 of
 Pistoia,
 Scipio
 de'
 Ricci,
 more
 or
 less
 a
 contemporary
 of
 our
 Saint
 (1741‐1809)
 ‐
 the
 popes
 themselves
 were
 more
 than
 complacent:
 not
 only
 the
aforementioned
Clement
XIV
(Lorenzo
Ganganelli,
1769‐1774),
but
also
the
well
celebrated
Benedict
 XIV
(Prospero
Lambertini,
1740‐1758)
led
a
policy
of
continuous
subsiding
to
the
powers
of
the
time
(he
 was
the
one
to
appoint
as
a
visitor
of
the
Jesuits
in
Portugal
Cardinal
Saldanha,
a
relative
of
the
Marquis
 of
 Pombal,
 prime
 minister
 of
 that
 country
 Freemason).
 We
 could
 say
 that,
 for
 the
 Church,
 the
 eighteenth
century
was
far
from
a
“century
of
light”;
it
was
more
of
a
dark
century.
Thank
God,
when
 the
darkness
is
deeper,
there
is
always
some
light
that
turns
on:
the
eighteenth
century,
like
all
other
 critical
periods
in
the
history
of
the
Church,
was
enlightened
by
many
saints.
It
is
enough
to
mention
two
 names:
 St.
 Paul
 of
 the
 Cross
 (1694‐1775)
 and
 Saint
 Alphonsus
 Maria
 de'
 Liguori
 (1696‐1787),
 both
 promoters
in
Italy
of
a
work
of
re‐evangelization
through
the
“popular
missions.”
 What
 was
 the
 repercussion
 of
 the
 “reforms”
 on
 Barnabites?
 In
 the
 sixties
 of
 the
 eighteenth
 century
in
the
Naples
it
was
decreed
first
that
for
the
novitiate
only
candidates
from
the
Kingdom
could
 be
accept,
then
all
the
“foreign”
religious
were
banned.”
In
1774,
by
order
of
the
Pope,
the
Barnabites
 had
 to
 take
 over
 some
 of
 the
 activities
 of
 the
 Jesuits,
 like
 the
 Saint
 Lucia
 Institute
 in
 Bologna
 and
 the
 Gesù
in
Perugia.
In
1781
the
province
of
Lombardy
and
Germany
were
separated
from
the
rest
of
the
 Order.
In
1783
the
Barnabites
were
expelled
from
Tuscany,
thereby
ending
the
centuries‐old
history
of
 the
Etruscan
Province.
In
1789,
the
religious
houses
of
the
Kingdom
of
Naples
were
separated
from
the
 superiors
 residing
 in
 Rome
 (keep
 in
 mind
 that
 at
 that
 time
 the
 Neapolitan
 houses
 were
 not
 yet
 a
 province;
 the
 Neapolitan
 Province
 was
 erected
 only
 in
 1850).
 The
 reforms
 introduced
 in
 Naples,
 of
 course,
had
repercussions
in
one
way
or
another,
in
Francis’s
life.
 In
 1789
 the
 French
 Revolution
 started.
 Apart
 from
 any
 judgment
 about
 its
 value,
 there
 is
 no
 denying
 that
 this
 date
 marks
 a
 turning
 point
 in
 Western
 history:
 after
 the
 Revolution,
 despite
 the
 Congress
of
Vienna
and
the
Restoration,
the
world
was
never
the
same;
the
Ancien
Régime
disappeared
 for
good.
At
first
it
seemed
that
it
was
an
internal
event
for
France;
but
in
1796,
with
the
first
campaign
 of
 Italy,
 by
 Napoleon,
 to
 export
 the
 revolution
 in
 Europe
 began.
 Officially,
 they
 wanted
 to
 spread
 the
 ideals
of
liberty,
fraternity
and
equality,
but
in
fact,
it
was
a
real
looting:
they
had
to
solve
the
economic
 crisis
caused
by
the
revolution
in
France.
The
plunder
of
Italy
was
carried
out
with
scientific
method.
The
 princes,
enlightened
or
unenlightened,
were
dispossessed
and
gave
rise
to
many
Jacobin
republics.
We
 name
just
two:
the
Roman
one
of
1798
(Pope
Pius
VI
‐
John
Braschi
‐
was
deported
to
France,
where
he
 died
 the
 following
 year),
 and
 the
 Neapolitan
 in
 1799.
 It
 was
 a
 very
 short
 experience
 (only
 six
 months,
 from
 January
 to
 June),
 which
 failed,
 according
 to
 Vincenzo
 Cuoco
 (1770‐1823),
 through
 the
 abstract
 nature
of
the
ideas
of
the
“patriots”,
completely
detached
from
the
people
(“passive
revolution”).
 If
 the
 Jacobin
 republics
 were
 the
 restricted
 expression
 of
 the
 intellectual
 elites,
 a
 genuinely
 popular
phenomenon
was
the
reaction
by
the
masses
to
the
imposition
of
a
revolutionary
utopia:
the
 so‐called
“insurgency.”
Usually
the
textbooks
‐
which
ignore
this
term
–
present
obviously
in
a
negative
 light
(as
an
expression
of
ignorance
and
reactionary
populism)
only
two
of
these
popular
uprisings:
the
 first,
the
Vendea,
in
1793,
and
then
the
Sanfedist,
headed
by
Cardinal
Fabrizio
Ruffo,
which
put
an
end
 to
 the
 experience
 of
 the
 Neapolitan
 Republic
 (1799).
 But
 the
 phenomenon
 of
 the
 insurgence
 was
 a
 general
 one
 in
 Italy
 and
 Europe:
 wherever
 Napoleon
 would
 come
 to
 bring
 the
 ideals
 of
 the
 Jacobins,
 there
were
peasants
armed
with
pitchforks
to
defend
their
faith,
their
culture
and
their
traditions.
Recall


that
 in
 Italy,
 between
 1796
 and
 1799,
 there
 were
 outbreaks
 in
 Piedmont
 and
 Val
 d'Aosta,
 Liguria,
 Lombardy,
in
the
Republic
of
Venice
(“Viva
San
Marco”),
Tyrol
(Andreas
Hofer),
in
the
Romagna
(the
“
 Italian
Vandea”),
Tuscany
and
Umbria
(“Viva
Maria”),
in
the
Marches,
in
the
Abruzzi,
in
Rome
and
Lazio
 (Fra
 Diavolo),
 Campania,
 Puglia
 and
 Basilicata,
 Calabria.
 But
 nobody
 talks
 about
 it.
 Abroad,
 we
 should
 mention
 the
 great
 Spanish
 outbreak
 (1808‐1813),
 which
 marked
 the
 beginning
 of
 the
 decline
 of
 Napoleon.
 1799
 was
 the
 year
 of
 Napoleon's
 coup,
 which
 led
 to
 the
 consulate,
 and
 later,
 in
 1804,
 the
 empire.
In
1806
the
French
occupied
the
Kingdom
of
Naples,
with
Joseph
Bonaparte
on
the
throne
(as
 Ferdinand
IV
took
refuge
in
Sicily);
the
clergy
was
asked
to
take
the
oath
of
allegiance;
the
archbishop
 was
forced
to
flee.
In
1808
Joseph
Bonaparte
became
King
of
Spain
and
was
replaced
by
Joachim
Murat.
 He,
in
1809,
issued
the
“revolutionary
laws
of
feudalism,”
suppressed
the
religious
orders
(including
our
 congregation)
and
expropriated
their
properties.
That
same
year,
the
Papal
States
were
annexed
to
the
 empire
and
pope
Pius
VII
(Barnaba
Gregorio
Chiaramonti)
was
taken
prisoner
in
France
(the
same
fate
 befell
also
to
our
Father
General,
future
cardinal,
Francis
Luigi
Fontana).
In
1810
Napoleon
suppressed
 the
 religious
 orders
 (the
 imperial
 decree
 made
 specific
 mention
 of
 the
 Barnabites);
 in
 1812
 there
 was
 the
Russian
campaign;
after
the
defeat
at
Leipzig
(1813),
in
1814
Napoleon
was
forced
to
abdicate
and
 retire
 to
 the
 Elba
 Island.
 The
 1815
 is
 the
 year
 of
 the
 “hundred
 days”,
 the
 final
 defeat
 of
 Napoleon
 at
 Waterloo
and
his
exile
on
St.
Helena
(where
he
died
in
1821);
the
year
of
the
Congress
of
Vienna
and
the
 restoration
 of
 the
 ancient
 dynasties
 (among
 them
 the
 Bourbons
 in
 Naples).
 And
 it
 is
 also
 the
 year
 of
 Francis’s
death,
who
had
variously
envisioned
these
events.
Simple
coincidence?
 
 The
route
of
human
wisdom
 
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis
 was
 educated
 by
 the
 Barnabites
 in
 Arpino,
 the
 Sts.
 Charles
 and
 Philip’s
 school.
 Then,
 being
 the
 nephew
 of
 a
 priest,
 he
 was
 sent
 to
 the
 seminary
 in
 Nola,
 where
 he
 studied
first
letters,
then
rhetoric
and,
finally,
philosophy,
according
to
the
times.
At
the
end
of
this
cycle
 of
studies,
he
joined
the
faculty
of
law
at
the
University
of
Naples,
but
was
a
negative
experience
that
 led
him
to
leave
after
only
one
year.
He
was
already
feeling
the
call
to
religious
life:
at
first
he
wanted
to
 join
the
Jesuits,
then,
finally,
he
decided
for
the
ancient
masters.
 He
made
his
novitiate
in
Zagarolo
(1763),
then
moved
to
Macerata
(1764),
to
study
philosophy,
 then
to
Rome
(1765‐66),
for
the
theological
studies,
which
he
continued
in
Naples
(1766‐67).
When
only
 23
years
old,
in
1767,
he
was
ordained
a
priest.
Evidently,
he
did
very
well
with
his
studies
and,
after
the
 ordination,
 he
 was
 sent
 to
 teach
 rhetoric
 in
 Arpino
 (1767‐69).
 Then
 he
 was
 transferred
 to
 Naples
 to
 teach
 philosophy
 (1769‐72).
 He
 was
 even
 invited
 to
 teach
 at
 the
 University
 of
 Naples,
 but,
 as
 our
 Constitution
 does
 not
 allow
 the
 teaching
 in
 public
 universities,
 he
 was
 forced
 to
 refuse.
 Despite
 this,
 however,
he
was
appointed
professor
of
dogmatic
theology
and
controversy
at
the
University
of
Naples.
 It
 was
 also
a
 member
 of
 the
Royal
 National
Academy
of
Sciences
and
Fine
 Arts
for
the
department
 of
 “education
 of
 medieval
 history.”
 As
 you
 can
 see,
 he
 had
 a
 very
 extensive
 cultural
 training,
 ranging
 in
 various
fields
of
knowledge.
 Francis
has
left
us
a
very
valuable
testimony
about
these
studies:
“I
too
at
the
time
of
my
youth
 was
 very
 fond
 of
 such
 knowledge,
 and
 prayed
 God
 to
 help
 me
 to
 serve
 for
 the
 benefit
 of
 my
 congregation.
Following
these
prayers
I
was
overwhelmed
with
so
much
light
that,
almost
if
a
veil
was
 ripped
open
before
my
mind,

the
truth
of
the
human
sciences
was
manifested
to
me,
those
I
had
never
 studied
yet,
by
infused
intelligence,
as
it
was
for
Solomon.
For
the
space
of
about
twenty‐four
hours
this
 light
 enlightened
 me,
 until,
 as
 if
 the
 veil
 would
 come
 down
 again,
 I
 returned
 unaware
 to
 what
 I
 was,
 while
I
heard
in
my
heart
a
voice:
This
is
the
human
wisdom,
and
what
good
is
it?
Study
me,
study
my
 love.”
 Important
 mystical
 experience
 (it
 is
 called
 the
 gift
 of
 “infused
 knowledge”);
 a
 first
 hint
 of
 what
 would
happen
later.


He
then
began
a
certain
ecclesiastical
career.
As
the
result
of
the
expulsion
of
foreign
religious
 from
 the
 Kingdom
 of
 Naples
 (1769),
 he
 was
 appointed
 superior
 of
 the
 College
 of
 Santa
 Maria
 in
 Cosmedin
 of
 Portanuova,
 remaining
 in
 the
 office
 for
 twelve
 years
 (1773
 to
 1785
 ).
 In
 1779
 he
 participated
in
the
Chapter
General
in
Milan,
holding
the
post
of
chancellor.
At
the
end
of
the
Chapter,
 he
 accompanied
 the
 new
 Father
 General,
 Scipio
 Peruzzini,
 to
 visit
 the
 houses
 in
 Piedmont
 and
 Lombardy.
In
1785
he
participated
again
in
the
General
Chapter,
this
time
in
Bologna.
It
seems
that
an
 attempt
was
made
to
appoint
him
as
a
bishop,
but
he
always
refused.
 At
 a
 certain
 point,
 there
 was
 a
 turning
 point
 in
 the
 life
 of
 our
 saint,
 a
 true
 “conversion.”
 He
 abandoned
books,
friendships,
pleasant
studies,
and
meetings
with
the
scholars,
to
retire
in
his
cell
and
 began
 to
 live
 fully
 a
 life
 hidden
 with
 Christ
 in
 God
 (Col
 3:3).
 He
 left
 what
 was
 most
 dear
 to
 him,
 his
 beloved
 studies;
 but
 in
 spite
 of
 this,
 in
 the
 last
 years
 of
 his
 life,
 by
 that
 time
 the
 Barnabites
 had
 been
 suppressed,
 he
 was
 concerned
 ‐
 just
 think
 ‐
 to
 buy
 books
 for
 the
 library
 for
 when
 the
 Order
 will
 be
 restored
(which
happened
three
years
after
his
death
in
1818,
in
St.
Joseph
a
Pontecorvo,
and
later
here
 in
Santa
Maria
of
Caravaggio).
 
 The
ascent
to
holiness
 
 This
conversion
was
not
a
sudden
transformation,
like
that
of
Saul
on
the
road
to
Damascus,
but
 a
 gradual
 maturing
 (it
 lasted
 more
 than
 ten
 years),
 of
 which
 we
 can
 capture
 some
 stages
 that
 can
 be
 dated
with
some
precision.
 In
1787,
during
the
month
of
May,
Francis
became
seriously
ill,
and
he
even
thought
to
be
near
 to
 the
 end
 (although
 he
 was
 only
 44
 years
 old),
 but
 a
 pious
 soul,
 the
 tertiary
 Franciscan
 Sister
 Mary
 Frances
of
the
Five
Wounds
(Anna
Maria
Gallo,
1715
‐1791),
now
a
canonized
saint,
said
to
him:
“Have
 faith,
in
God's
name
you
will
be
all
right;
there
remains
a
lot
of
work
for
you
to
do
for
Him:
get
rid
of
any
 worry
and
have
faith.”
This
suggests
a
similar
experience,
which
occurred
many
centuries
before,
to
the
 prophet
Elijah,
who,
after
the
sacrifice
on
Mount
Caramel,
where
he
had
defeated
the
prophets
of
Baal,
 was
persecuted
by
Queen
Jezebel,
and
at
one
point,
tired
to
live,
he
turned
to
the
Lord,
saying,
“This
is
 enough,
O
LORD!
Take
my
life,
for
I
am
no
better
than
my
fathers.”
But
the
angel
shook
him
and
said,
 “Get
up
and
eat,
else
the
journey
will
be
too
long
for
you!”(1
Kings
19:4‐7).
 On
 June
 3,
 the
 feast
 of
 the
 Most
 Holy
 Trinity,
 getting
 out
 of
 bed
 in
 the
 morning,
 our
 saint
 received
what
he
called
a
“note”
from
Jesus,
a
heavenly
inspiration:
“Ego
ero
merces
tua
magna
nimis.”
 This
 is
 a
 quote
 from
 the
 book
 of
 Genesis,
 when
 God
 says
 to
 Abraham:
 “Fear
 not,
 Abram.
 I
 am
 your
 shield,
your
reward
is
very
great
“(15:1).
 Earlier
in
the
following
year,
on
January
11,
1788,
he
received
a
visit
from
the
Holy
Spirit,
again
 an
inspiration,
with
which
he
penetrated
a
verse
from
the
Psalms:
“Ascensiones
in
corde
tuo
disposui
“
 (84:6).
By
itself,
subject,
verb
and
possessive
in
the
text
of
the
Vulgate
(which
translates
the
LXX)
are
in
 the
 third
 person:
 “Beatus
 vir,
 cuius
 est
 auxilium
 abs
 te,
 ascensiones
 in
 corde
 suo
 disposuit
 t”
 (New
 American
Bible:
“Happy
are
those
who
find
refuge
in
you,
whose
hearts
are
set
on
pilgrim
roads”).
But
 Francis
 received
 these
 words
 as
 if
 they
 were
 addressed
 to
 him
 from
 heaven:
 “I
 have
 disposed
 some
 Ascensions
(that
is,
a
spiritual
“rising”)
in
your
heart.”
 In
1789
(the
year
of
the
French
Revolution),
opening
the
Bible
at
random,
as
he
was
used
to
do,
 his
eyes
fell
on
another
verse
of
the
Psalms:
“Ego
Dominus
Deus
tuus,
qui
eduxi
te
de
terra
Ægypti.
Dilata
 os
tuum
et
implebo
illud”
(I,
the
LORD,
am
your
God,
who
brought
you
up
from
the
land
of
Egypt.
Open
 wide
your
mouth
that
I
may
fill
it.)
{Ps
80:11}.
 The
culmination
of
this
“rise”
will
be
held
on
the
day
of
Pentecost
in
the
year
1800,
June
1.
On
 that
occasion,
Francis
went
to
pray,
as
he
often
did,
in
the
church
of
a
Monastery
of
cloistered
nuns,
the
 church
of
Divine
Love,
where
there
was
the
exposition
of
the
Blessed
Sacrament,
and
there,
during
the
 prayer,
he
saw
a
ray
of
light
that
started
from
monstrance
and
reached
him
in
the
chest,
penetrated
it,


wounded
 the
 heart,
 and
 he
 fainted.
 This
 is
 a
 phenomenon
 not
 well
 known,
 nor
 very
 common,
 called
 transverberation.
 There
 are
 relatively
 few
 saints
 who
 have
 had
 this
 privilege,
 the
 most
 famous
 case
 is
 that
of
St.
Teresa
of
Avila
(immortalized
by
Bernini
in
the
church
of
Santa
Maria
della
Vittoria
in
Rome);
 to
 the
 present
 day,
 a
 saint
 who
 has
 had
 the
 same
 gift
 is
 Padre
 Pio
 of
 Pietrelcina,
 who
 was
 transverberated
even
before
receiving
the
stigmata.
Well,
our
Saint
on
Pentecost
day
of
1800
was
struck
 through
the
heart.
Probably
it
was
the
Lord's
answer
to
his
prayer.
We
have
an
explicit
testimony
in
this
 regard.
 Francis,
 though
 usually
 did
 not
 speak
 much
 about
 himself,
 at
 times,
 meeting
 with
 his
 spiritual
 children,
indulged
in
some
confidences
and
one
day
said:
“I
have
always
prayed
to
the
Lord
to
impress
 upon
 my
 heart
 his
 passion,
 as
 already
 he
 imprinted
 it
 on
 Veronica’s
 veil,
 and
 the
 Lord
 answered
 me”
 (Eco
dei
Barnabiti,
No.
4
/
2000,
pp.
27‐31).
 After
 this
 experience,
 Francis
 was
 filled
 with
 a
 series
 of
 extraordinary
 gifts.
 We
 have
 already
 seen
that
on
one
occasion,
at
least
for
twenty‐four
hours,
had
the
gift
of
infused
knowledge;
after
the
 transverberation
he,
very
frequently,
experienced
the
phenomenon
of
the
rebound
or
exultation
of
the
 hearts,
 that
 is,
 the
 heart
 palpitations
 that
 struck
 him
 when
 he
 was
 in
 prayer
 or
 even
 when
 he
 saw
 a
 sacred
image
or
heard
a
sacred
song
(immediately
he
would
start
to
shake
and
sweat,
and
those
who
 were
present
and
knew
him
had
to
take
the
necessary
measures
for
him
to
regain
consciousness).
He
 had
the
gift
of
tears,
the
radiance
on
his
face,
the
gifts
of
levitation,
the
bi‐location,
the
perfume
of
the
 sores.
He
had
visions
and
revelations;
he
was
endowed
with
the
gift
of
prophecy,
principally
in
spiritual
 direction
 (easily
 he
 penetrated
 the
 minds
 of
 his
 disciples);
 more
 than
 once
 he
 predicted
 the
 divine
 punishment
for
social
upheavals
(he
predicted
the
eruption
of
the
Vesuvius
in
1804,
and
the
earthquake
 of
1805);
he
foresaw
cures
and
deaths;
he
predicted
also
success
in
business
and
career;
he
made
quite
 a
few
political
prophecies
and
he
followed,
today
we
would
say
in
“real
time,”
some
important
historical
 events
such
as
the
exile
of
Pius
VII
or
the
Russian
campaign
(he
saw
what
was
happening
at
that
 very
 moment
to
Napoleon
or
to
the
Pope;
then
he
would
tell
the
people
around
him
recommending
them
to
 write
it
down;
and
when
they
were
able
to
check
it
out,
they
discovered
that
those
events
were
actually
 occurring).
 He
 had
 the
 gift
 of
 miracles:
 he
 stopped
 the
 Vesuvius’
 lava;
 he
 worked
 various
 cures,
 multiplied
 the
 money
 to
 help
 those
 in
 need.
 We
 must
 also
 remember
 a
 miraculous
 phenomenon
 reported
 by
 all
 biographers:
 from
 March
 25,
 1814,
 when
 completely
 immobilized
 on
 a
 chair,
 for
 six
 months
he
was
able
to
miraculously
get
up
from
that
chair
to
celebrate
the
Holy
Mass,
after
which,
he
 had
 to
 sit
 back
 and
 remain
 immobilized
 until
 the
 next
 day.
 Finally
 he
 was
 afflicted
 by
 that
 mysterious
 disease
which
he
called
“thorns
and
fire”,
that
is,
wounds
that
haunt
him
in
his
legs
for
more
than
ten
 years,
the
last
of
his
life.
These
wounds
were
predicted
by
Sister
Mary
Frances.
One
day
she
touched
his
 legs
 and
 said,
 “Oh,
 how
 much
 these
 legs
 will
 have
 to
 suffer!”,
 many
 years
 before
 that
 happened.
 A
 mystical
phenomenon
more
than
physiological,
as
the
doctors
could
not
give
an
explanation
or
to
find
a
 remedy,
and
indeed
very
often
they
caused
more
suffering
with
their
totally
ineffective
remedies.
One
 day,
 Francis
 said:
 “I
 assure
 you
 that
 you
 will
 not
 lift
 a
 finger
 from
 these
 wounds.”
 The
 doctor
 asked,
 “Which
 finger?”
 And
 he
 said:
 “The
 finger
 of
 God.”
 He
 was
 fully
 aware
 that
 it
 was
 a
 supernatural
 phenomenon,
and
gave
this
interpretation:
“The
Lord
was
pleased
to
visit
me
in
pain
and
with
the
ardor
 of
these
wounds,
so
that,
with
this
opposite
force,
the
flame
of
my
heart
would
be
mitigated.”
A
kind
of
 balance
of
the
mystical
gift
he
had
received
in
the
church
of
Divine
Love.
 He
knew
perfectly
well
that
this
extraordinary
spiritual
experience
was
not
the
most
important
 thing
in
life:
what
was
important
was
not
the
gift
of
contemplation
‐
which
is
also
a
gift
to
be
received
 with
 gratitude
 ‐
 but
 rather
 the
 fulfillment
 of
 God's
 will:
 “The
 Lord
 does
 not
 like
 that
 I
 seek
 the
 gift
 of
 contemplation,
 but
 that
 I
 study
 to
 die
 to
 myself
 and
 follow
 only
 to
 his
 holy
 will”;
 “Lord,
 grant
 me
 to
 always
try
to
do
your
divine
will
in
all
things,
and
never
let
me
find
it:
grant
me
to
do
it,
and
do
not
let
 me
know
it”;
“Do
with
me
what
you
know
and
want,
without
me
knowing
it
either
before
or
after.”
 The
grace
of
the
apostolate
 


To
indicate
the
conversion
that
we
have
tried
to
describe,
usually
the
biographers
use
the
term
 “vocation
to
the
contemplative
life”;
I
personally
prefer
to
use
another
phrase,
which
I
found
in
Mother
 Teresa
of
Calcutta,
and
that
is
the
“vocation
within
a
vocation.”
I
think
it
is
a
spiritual
experience
that
 each
 of
 us
 must
 have,
 because
 no
 one
 is
 called
 once
 for
 all;
 each
 of
 us
 within
 his
 vocation
 receives,
 sooner
or
later,
a
second
call,
and
this
is
the
case
with
Francis.
It
does
not
mean
that
before
this
“second
 vocation”
he
was
a
sinner:
he
was
certainly
a
good
religious,
but
at
some
point
he
felt
called
to
a
higher
 calling.
Now,
the
term
commonly
used
‐
“a
vocation
to
the
contemplative
life”
‐
does
not
seem
entirely
 appropriate,
because
it
could
be
misunderstood:
Francis
did
not
become
a
monk;
with
this
vocation,
he
 became
 quite
 an
 apostle.
 Leo
 XIII
 will
 proclaim
 him
 “Apostle
 of
 Naples.”
 Rightly,
 in
 this
 regard,
 some
 biographers
 have
 spoken
 of
 an
 “apostolic
 vocation,”
 because
 Francis’s
 ministry
 began
 just
 after
 this
 mystical
 experience.
 Of
 course
 this
 is
 not
 an
 apostolate
 like
 the
 agitation
 for
 its
 own
 sake
 that
 often
 characterizes
 our
 pastoral
 work
 and
 does
 not
 produce
 any
 fruit,
 but
 a
 true
 apostolate,
 which
 acts
 in
 depth
 and
 transform
 the
 consciences:
 many
 hardened
 hearts
 were
 converted,
 many
 lukewarm
 souls
 undertook
the
path
of
holiness.
 Francis
seldom
went
out
of
his
room;
in
those
years
when
he
did
not
go
out
anymore,
because
 immobilized
on
a
chair,
he
exerted
a
profound
influence
in
the
Neapolitan
society.
His
room
became
the
 destination
 for
 an
 endless
 pilgrimage,
 to
 the
 extent
 that
 little
 time
 was
 left
 for
 himself.
 Once
 he
 said:
 “Charity
wants
me
to
serve
the
needs
of
others
during
the
day,
at
the
night
I
think
about
myself.”
 Despite
his
rigor,
it
was
extremely
humane
towards
the
faithful;
he
made
this
recommendation
 to
 the
 confessors:
 “Mind
 we
 confessors:
 when
 God
 strikes
 a
 soul,
 we
 do
 not
 have
 to
 advise
 other
 mortifications,
 which
 would
 be
 ill‐timed
 and
 perhaps
 harmful.
 When
 God
 stops
 striking
 him,
 then
 we
 could
recommend
to
fight
on
his
own,
but
we
are
never
two
to
strike
at
the
same
time.”
At
the
same
 time,
however,
he
was
very
demanding
with
those
who
subjected
themselves
to
his
direction.
He
used
 to
say:
“I
do
not
want
to
see
any
miserable
souls.”
 His
words
inflamed
the
hearts
of
listeners.
Some
witnesses
testified:
“he
seemed
like
a
seraph
as
 he
talked
to
me.”
Often
the
mere
presence,
a
glance,
a
sign
of
the
cross
on
the
forehead,
his
hand
on
 the
 head,
 a
 hug
 on
 the
 chest
 was
 enough
 to
 transform
 souls.
 Those
 who
 approached
 him
 felt
 God's
 presence
and,
once
they
had
listened
to
him
they
would
not
leave
him
anymore.
Its
presence
brought
 peace.
Another
witness
said,
“I
enter
here
full
of
anxiety
and
leave
entirely
peaceful.”
 

 The
gift
of
prophecy
 
 The
mystical
and
apostolic
experience
did
not
turn
Francis
away
from
participating
in
the
social
 and
political
life
of
his
time.
Naturally,
this
is
not
a
direct
involvement:
it
is
not
the
duty
for
a
religious
or
 a
priest
to
be
immersed
in
temporal
matters,
but
he
too
cannot
remain
neutral,
as
we
often
do.
Francis
 expressed
his
opinion
on
the
political
events
of
his
time.
 When
the
Barnabite
houses
in
Naples
were
separated
from
Rome
in
1789,
he
did
not
want
to
 contribute
 in
 the
 election
 of
 independent
 superiors;
 he
 always
 continued
 to
 feel
 dependent
 on
 the
 legitimate
superiors
of
the
Congregation.
 He
also
met
the
Duke
Charles
Emmanuel
IV
of
Savoy
and
his
wife
Maria
Clotilde,
who
had
been
 ousted
at
the
end
of
the
first
campaign
of
Napoleon,
in
1798.
They
came
to
Naples
and
met
our
Saint,
 who
tried
to
comfort
them.
 He
opposed
 the
 Neapolitan
 Revolution
of
1799
and
did
 not
allow
his
 followers
to
enlist
 in
 the
 National
Guard,
created
for
the
occasion.
He
also
anticipated
the
violences
that
would
be
unleashed
on
 June
 15
 of
 that
 year,
 at
 the
 end
 of
 the
 experience
 of
 the
 Neapolitan
 Republic,
 when
 the
 Army
 of
 the
 Holy
 Faith
 entered
 in
 Naples.
 He
 also
 foresaw
 the
 brevity
 of
 the
 Bourbon
 restoration
 (which
 in
 fact
 lasted
only
until
1806).



He
refused
the
oath
of
allegiance
requested
by
Joseph
Bonaparte,
and
he
did
not
allow
it
for
his
 disciples.
He
arranged
for
several
of
his
disciples
not
to
serve
in
the
military,
when
the
military
service
 became
compulsory:
the
young
people
who
had
already
enrolled,
at
the
last
moment
were
inexplicably
 sent
 home.
 He
 was
 also
 threatened
 with
 arrest,
 but
 in
 the
 circumstances
 in
 which
 he
 was,
 it
 was
 impossible
to
carry
it
out.

 Here
are
some
of
the
political
prophecies
that
we
have
mentioned.
When
Joseph
Bonaparte
in
 1808
left
Naples
to
go
to
Spain,
here
is
what
Francis
said
to
a
friend:
“Have
you
seen
the
departure
of
 Joseph
Bonaparte?
He
goes
to
Spain
and
from
there
the
Lord's
hand
will
begin
to
humiliate
the
French
...
 God
want
to
show
his
work.
You'll
see
that
from
Spain
the
French
depression
will
start;
if
other
powers
 they
 done
 it,
 it
 would
 be
 attributed
 to
 the
 triumph
 of
 human
 power.”
 He
 was
 referring
 to
 the
 great
 Spanish
insurgency,
at
a
time
when
no
one
could
have
suspected
the
decline
of
the
star
of
Napoleon.
He
 said
also:
“The
ruin
of
the
French
will
start
from
Spain,
while
God
will
use
the
Spaniards
to
knock
them
 down.”
 In
1812,
during
the
Russian
campaign,
the
Te
Deum,
the
hymn
of
thanksgiving,
was
sung
in
the
 Cathedral
 of
 Naples,
 and
 in
 all
 cities,
 to
 celebrate
 the
 victory.
 How
 did
 Francis
 react?
 He
 said:
 “They
 would
have
done
better
to
sing
the
Miserere
...
St.
Michael
with
his
sword
has
already
destroyed
most
of
 the
French
army
that
has
entered
Moscow.
A
soul
‐
of
course
his
soul
‐
has
seen
this
in
his
prayer.
Note
 this
day;
and
in
time
you
will
know
what
the
Lord's
hand
did.”
 At
the
beginning
of
1815
(on
January
31
of
that
year
he
died)
he
said:
“This
is
the
happy
year,
 the
year
of
the
Lord's
mercy,
the
year
that,
dispelled
the
French
Government,
King
Ferdinand
will
ascend
 the
throne!”.
And
so
it
happened.
 
 Conclusion:
“Light
and
Hope
in
a
Time
of
Crisis”

 
 I
 would
 like
 to
 end
 with
 some
 reflections.
 The
 title
 of
 this
 conference
 was:
 “St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
Francis,
light
and
hope
in
a
time
of
crisis.”
We
have
said
that
the
“Age
of
Enlightenment”
was
a
 rather
 obscure
 time
 for
 the
 Church:
 a
 time
 of
 crisis,
 in
 fact.
 We
 also
 have
 said
 that
 this
 century
 of
 darkness
was
illuminated
by
Saints,
including
Francis.
Our
brother
is
a
“light”
in
the
midst
of
darkness,
 he
held
a
lamp
and
the
lamp
allowed
his
contemporaries
to
see
the
road
ahead.
In
time
of
desolation,
 he
was
a
sign
of
hope
and
consolation.
 Our
Saint
was
“light
and
hope,”
especially
for
the
Barnabites
of
two
hundred
years
ago.
It
seems
 symbolic
that
he
spent
the
last
six
years
of
his
life
and
died
outside
the
congregation
(it
is
true
that
it
 had
already
been
re‐established
in
Rome
in
August
of
1814,
but
was
restored
in
Naples,
as
we
have
said,
 only
 in
 1818).
 It
 might
 seem
 that
 he
 marks
 the
 conclusion
 of
 a
 glorious
 history,
 but
 in
 fact,
 with
 his
 humble
 experience,
 he
 laid
 the
 foundations
 for
 the
 beginning
 of
 a
 new
 history.
 He
 sowed
 a
 seed
 that
 would
 sprout
 after
 his
 death.
 For
 this
 reason
 he
 may
 rightly
 be
 considered
 a
 “second
 father
 and
 founder”
of
the
Order.
We
could
‐
why
not?
‐
apply
to
him
the
category
of
a
“reformer,”
as
provided
by
 St.
Anthony
Mary
Zaccaria
in
his
constitutions.
 More
 or
 less
 contemporary
 of
 Francis
 was
 Cardinal
 Giacinto
 Sigismondo
 Gerdil
 (1718‐1802):
 when
Francis
as
born,
Gerdil
was
25
years
old;
when
Gerdil
died,
Francis
was
almost
sixty.
Gerdil
too
is
a
 glory
 of
 the
 Congregation,
 of
 whom
 we
 can
 be
 proud:
 beyond
 doubt
 is
 the
 greatest
 Christian
 philosopher
 of
 the
 eighteenth
 century;
 among
 the
 seven
 Barnabite
 cardinals,
 surely
 he
 is
 the
 most
 illustrious;
 if
 it
 were
 not
 for
 the
 veto
 of
 Austria,
 in
 the
 history
 of
 the
 Church
 we
 would
 had
 been
 a
 Barnabite
 pope.
 Yet
 today
 we
 are
 here
 to
 commemorate
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis,
 and
 not
 cardinal
 Gerdil.
 Because
 Francis,
 after
 traveling,
 like
 his
 eminent
 brother,
 the
 ways
 of
 science,
 at
 one
 point
changed
the
road
and
climbed
the
rough
paths
of
holiness,
and
with
his
holiness
he
contributed
to
 the
renewal
of
the
Church
and
of
the
Congregation.


But
the
title
of
the
conference
does
not
specify
at
what
times
of
crisis
we
refer
to.
Certainly
the
 eighteenth
 century
 was
 a
 time
 of
 crisis,
 but
 no
 less
 critical
 is
 the
 age
 in
 which
 we
 live.
 Can
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
Maria
Francis
be
a
“light”
and
a
“hope”
for
our
time?
I
would
say
yes.
 First
of
all,
he
teaches
us
that
if
we
want
to
reform
the
Church
and
the
Congregation,
we,
like
 him,
 must
 become
 saints.
 Studies
 are
 not
 enough;
 it
 is
 not
 enough
 to
 be
 great
 philosophers
 or
 great
 theologians,
 we
 must
 become
 saints.
 If
 we
 want
 to
 renew
 the
 Church,
 the
 structural
 and
 pastoral
 reforms
 promoted
 by
 Vatican
 II
 ‐
 although
 necessary
 ‐
 are
 not
 enough.
 To
 be
 actual
 and
 a
 little
 controversial,
if
we
want
to
purify
the
Church
from
corruption
and
immorality,
trials
or
new
guidelines
 from
the
Holy
See
against
pedophilia
are
not
enough;
what
is
needed
is
holiness.
 But
besides
showing
us
a
path
to
follow,
valid
for
all
Christians,
and
especially
for
priests,
I
think,
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
 Francis
 is
 indicating
 a
 specific
 path
 to
 be
 followed
 by
 his
 religious
 family.
 It
 seems
to
me
very
significant
that
in
a
time
when
everything
was
collapsing
around
him,
he
pointed
out
 the
 essential:
 he
 was
 a
 learned
 Barnabite,
 devoted
 to
 study
 and
 teaching,
 suddenly
 he
 dropped
 everything
 and
 concentrated
 on
 the
 unum
 necessarium:
 prayer,
 repentance,
 ministry
 (especially
 confession
 and
 spiritual
 direction),
 regular
 observance
 (as
 far
 as
 circumstances
 would
 allow
 him).
 In
 doing
 so
 he
 drew
 an
 excellent
 path
 for
 us,
 who
 are
 going
 through
 an
 experience
 similar
 to
 his:
 everything
is
collapsing
around
us.
What
to
do?
Often
we
do
not
know
how
to
behave,
what
choices
to
 make
to
tackle
the
crisis.
We
often
delude
ourselves
that
we
need
to
develop
major
projects,
and
then
 we
are
frustrated,
because
we
realize
that
we
do
not
have
the
strength
to
achieve
them.
Here
Francis
is
 showing
 us
 the
 much
 easier
 path,
 not
 worrying
 about
 frills,
 as
 distinguished
 and
 meritorious
 as
 they
 might
be,
instead
concentrating
on
the
essentials.
He
traveled
this
path,
this
way,
why
not
us?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


THE
MESSAGE
OF
ST.
FRANCIS
XAVIER
M.
FRANCIS
IN
TODAY’S
WORLD
 (SPEAKERS:
Frs.
GLOVANNI
NITTI
‐
ENRICO
MOSCETTA)
 
 Can
a
message
be
valid
today,
even
if
it
is
expressed
by
an
experience
of
holiness
lived
in
a
time
 so
distant
and
so
different
from
us
in
its
social,
cultural
and
historical
context?
 To
propose
the
Saint’s
works
as
paradigmatic
for
a
contemporary
Christian
witness,
it
would
not
 be
impossible,
but
also
it
would
not
be
that
much
fruitful,
partly
because
holiness
has
to
be
incarnated
 in
the
particular
vocation
of
the
individual
person
and
in
the
mission
of
the
Church
in
a
specific
time
and
 in
any
place
and
context
in
which
it
has
to
witness
the
Gospel.
However,
there
is
a
“content,”
so
to
say,
 of
holiness
that
remains
and
that
“performs”
the
incarnated
holiness.
This
is
why
we
want
to
talk
about
 the
message
in
the
current
events,
meaning,
exactly,
as
a
message,
the
Gospel
lived
and
manifested
in
 the
person.
 Holiness,
 in
 fact,
 is
 nothing
 but
 the
 grace
 of
 baptism,
 that
 is,
 the
 gift
 of
 the
 Spirit,
 which
 conforms
the
Christian
to
Christ.
This
is
called
Christ‐like,
i.e.
the
growth
up
to
full
maturity
of
Christ
of
 which
St.
Paul
speaks
in
Ephesians:
 
 “He
 gave
 some
 as
 apostles,
 others
 as
 prophets,
 others
 as
 evangelists,
 others
 as
 pastors
 and
 teachers,
to
equip
the
holy
ones
for
the
work
of
ministry,
for
building
up
the
body
of
Christ,
until
 we
all
attain
to
the
unity
of
faith
and
knowledge
of
the
Son
of
God,
to
mature
manhood,
to
the
 extent
of
the
full
stature
of
Christ.
“(Eph
4:11‐13)
 
 Therefore,
 I
 believe
 that
 the
 task
 of
 illustrating
 the
 message
 it
 means
 to
 reveal
 the
 “forma
 Christi”
in
St.
Francis
Francis,
and
to
see
how
it
exists
and
is
lived
in
the
vocation
of
the
Church
of
our
 time
and
in
what
way
the
Church
is
asking
us
today
to
embody
that
form.
 Without
the
presumption
of
completeness,
therefore,
I
think
I
can
develop
three
aspects
of
the
 spirit
in
St.
Francis
Francis,
that
has
transformed
him
into
a
“living
offering”
in
Christ
in
the
Church
of
his
 time;
and,
as
a
result,
we
will
consider
how
the
Church
of
our
time,
is
asking
us
to
live
and
witness
to
the
 paschal
mystery.
The
three
aspects
are:
 1.
The
service
to
wisdom,
 2.
The
mystical
intimacy
with
Christ
 3.
The
spiritual
fatherhood.
 
 1.
The
service
to
wisdom
 
 Educated
 by
 the
 Barnabites
 (St.
 Philip’s
 school)
 in
 Arpino,
 completed
 hid
 theological
 studies
 between
Rome
and
Naples,
the
23
years
old
newly
ordained
priest
was
sent
to
teach
rhetoric
in
Arpino
 and
 then
 philosophy
 in
 Naples
 (1769‐72).
 He
 was
extraordinary
 professor
 of
 dogmatic
 theology
 at
 the
 University
of
Naples,
although
our
Constitutions
did
not
allow
teaching
in
public
Universities.
 
 What
was
the
socio‐cultural
context
of
Naples
at
that
time?
 Italy
did
not
lack
local
thinkers
whom
we
can
define
as
pre‐ Enlightenment,
like
the
Neapolitan
 Giambattista
Vico.
While
detaching
himself,
on
many
fields,
from
the
future
themes
of
the
eighteenth
 century,
 he
 was
 the
 model
 for
 many
 Enlightenment
 advocates,
 especially
 those
 of
 his
 city.
 In
 our
 country,
the
centers
for
the
dissemination
of
the
new
Enlightenment
culture
were
many,
but
especially
 outstanding
are
Milan
and
Naples.
In
both
cities
the
intellectuals
took
public
office
and
cooperated
with
 the
Habsburg
and
Bourbon
governments.

 This
development
took
 place
 thanks
 also
to
the
Catholic
and
tolerant
King
Charles
of
Bourbon
 (1735‐1759)
 who
 rebuilt
 the
 “Neapolitan
 nation,”
 started
 the
 construction
 of
 the
 Royal
 Palace
 in
 Caserta,
built
the
current
hemicycle
of
Piazza
Dante,
(where
we
are
located
right
now),
and
obstructed
 the
 tribunal
 of
 the
 Inquisition
 in
 opposition
 to
 Cardinal
 Spinelli.
 His
 successor
 and
 son,
 Ferdinand
 IV


(1759‐1816)
became
king
at
the
age
of
eight
but
without
dealing
with
the
government
of
the
kingdom
 not
even
as
an
adult,
leaving
it
to
his
manager
Bernardo
Tanucci.1
 At
the
beginning
of
1700,
there
was
in
Naples
also
the
“College
of
the
Chinese”
(following
the
 unit
of
Italy
was
called
the
“Asian
Real
College,”
and
today
the
“Oriental
University”)
that
houses
since
 1746,
many
students
from
the
Ottoman
Empire,
giving
the
city
a
cultural
connotation
of
openness
and
 dialogue
between
East
and
West.
 ‐
In
those
times,
then,
Naples
was
presented
as:
 ‐
Religiously
faithful,
but
open
and
tolerant;
 ‐
Culturally
vibrant
and
varied
 ‐
Academically
flourishing
and
liberal.
 A
 professor
 of
 polemic
 theology,
 as
 our
 saint
 was,
 certainly
 he
 had
 his
 own
 saying
 in
 this
 context,
which
was
rampant
in
the
exaltation
of
reason,
on
the
one
hand,
and,
on
the
other
hand,
the
 openness
to
a
comparison
with
different
religions.
 We
 also
 know
 very
 well
 that
 Francis
 had
 friends
 in
 high
 social
 and
 cultural
 level
 and
 was
 fully
 involved
in
the
academic
and
cultural
life
of
his
city.
 We
are
also
aware
of
several
attempts
to
ask
our
Saint
the
availability
for
ordinary
teaching
in
 the
University
of
Naples,
never
accepted
in
obedience
to
the
Barnabite
Constitutions.
 However
high
his
preparation
and
his
culture
was,
this
subject
is
not
enough
to
justify
Francis’s
 prestige
 and
 esteem
 in
 the
 academic
 environment.
 Surely
 Francis
 was
 a
 man
 culturally
 stimulating
 because
capable
of
humble
research
and
reflection
on
the
truth,
and
able
to
formulate
a
defense
of
the
 reasons
 of
 faith
 not
 so
 much
 with
 controversy,
 but
 with
 dialogue,
 loving
 to
 compete
 with
 people
 and
 intellectuals
of
every
class.
 Our
contemporary
cultural
context
is
radically
different,
especially
for
the
positivist
aspect,
from
 that
 of
 our
 Saint.
 Today
 we
 are
 heirs
 of
 the
 so‐called
 “weak
 thought”
 that
 gave
 birth
 to
 relativism,
 against
which
the
Church,
through
its
supreme
Shepherd,
has
declared
“war.”
 Even
 the
 so‐called
 “exact”
 science
 was
 saved
 from
 decisive
 stance
 of
 Karl
 Popper,
 that
 is,
 any
 truth
in
any
scientific
or
speculative
field,
is
true
only
until
a
contrary
truth
is
proved.
 Today
 there
 is
 more
 opposition
 between
 reason
 and
 faith,
 because
 they
 both
 enter
 the
 vast
 world
of
opinions,
each
one
has
the
right
to
exist,
without
claim
to
absoluteness,
but
as
probability
or
 more
or
less
justifiable
personal
position.2
 Even
 the
 inter‐religious
 dialogue,
 especially
 the
 complex
 one
 with
 Islam,
 does
 not
 have
 a
 common
 basis
 for
 dialogue.
 The
 contemporary
 world
 in
 a
 certain
 sense
 has
 given
 a
 shot
 to
 its
 feet,
 because
 after
 having
 wanted
 to
 abolish
 the
 religious
 conflicts,
 spreading,
 especially
 in
 Europe,
 relativism,
today
finds
itself
without
any
convincing
and
rational
mediations
to
dialogue
with
the
other
 religions.
 In
fact
has
unleashed
a
huge
polemic
reaction
the
intervention
of
the
new
Pope
in
Regensburg,
 on
 September
 12,
 2006,3
 affirming
 the
 need
 for
 a
 reason
 open
 to
 God,
 to
 be
 able
 to
 set
 up
 a
 true
 dialogue
between
Western
culture
and
lslam.
Also
Benedict
XVI,
in
2007,
said:
 




























































 1 

 As
a
Prime
Minister
Tanucci
was
energetically
commitment
to
maintain
the
superiority
of
the
lay
State
of
the
moment
over

the
Church,
and
to
abolish
the
centuries‐old
feudal
privileges
of
the
nobility
and
of
the
clergy
in
the
Kingdom
of
Naples:
he
 limited
the
jurisdiction
of
the
bishops,
deleted
privileges
dating
back
to
medieval
times,
reduced
fees
payable
to
the
Roman
 Curia.
 These
 reforms,
 based
 on
 the
 principles
 of
 the
 Enlightenment
 of
 that
 period,
 were
 ratified
 in
 a
 concordat
 with
 the
 papacy
in
1741,
whose
application,
however,
went
far
beyond
what
the
Holy
See
had
hoped.
 2 

 "Among
 the
 many
 graduates,
 where
 are
 the
 heads
 formed
 to
 the
 intelligence
 of
 the
 spirit
 of
 the
 law,
 without
 which
 the
 science
of
law
is
nothing
else
but
a
mechanism
badly
applied?"
(St.
Francesco
S.
M.
Bianchi,
L’Apostolo
di
Napoli,
by
Fr.
Felice
 M.
Sala,
Rome
1951,
p.
78).
 3 

 “This
attempt,
painted
with
broad
strokes,
at
a
critique
of
modern
reason
from
within,
has
nothing
to
do
with
putting
the
 clock
 back
 to
 the
 time
 before
 the
 Enlightenment
 and
 rejecting
 the
 insights
 of
 the
 modern
 age.
 The
 positive
 aspects
 of
 modernity
are
to
be
acknowledged
unreservedly:
we
are
all
grateful
for
the
marvelous
possibilities
that
it
has
opened
up
for


The
one
who
does
not
ask
does
not
have
an
answer.
But,
I
would
add,
for
theology
besides
the

 courage
 to
 ask
 what
 is
 needed
 is
 also
 the
 humility
 to
 listen
 to
 the
 answers
 given
 us
 by
 the
 Christian
faith;
the
humility
to
perceive
in
these
answers
their
reasonableness
and
thus
to
make
 them
again
accessible
to
our
time
and
ourselves
.
 
 The
Pope
also
said
in
Caritas
in
Veritate:
 
 A
Christianity
of
charity
without
truth
would
be
more
or
less
interchangeable
with
a
pool
of
good
 sentiments,
 helpful
 for
 social
 cohesion,
 but
 of
 little
 relevance.
 In
 other
 words,
 there
 would
 no
 longer
be
any
real
place
for
God
in
the
world.
Without
truth,
charity
is
confined
to
a
narrow
field
 devoid
 of
 relations.
 It
 is
 excluded
 from
 the
 plans
 and
 processes
 of
 promoting
 human
 development
of
universal
range,
in
dialogue
between
knowledge
and
praxis.
(#
4)
 
 
 Still
in
the
same
encyclical,
he
says:
 
 To
defend
the
truth,
to
articulate
it
with
humility
and
conviction,
and
to
bear
witness
to
it
in
life
 are
therefore
exacting
and
indispensable
forms
of
charity.
(#
1)
 
 As
 in
 the
 context
 of
 the
 Enlightenment,
 so
 in
 our
 relativistic
 context,
 the
 spirit
 that
 drove
 St.
 Francis
Francis
to
the
love
of
culture
and
the
need
for
dialogue,
based
on
a
reason
that
humbly
seeks
the
 truth
and
hence
does
not
bear
confrontation.4

I
think
that
this
element
is
important
for
a
Christian,
but
 especially
during
this
Year
for
Priests,
it
should
be
a
dimension
that
characterizes
the
priestly
ministry
of
 a
Barnabite.
Between
the
absolutization
of
reason
and
distrust
in
reason,
there
is
a
dimension
proper
of
 our
ministry
which
is
that
of
the
humility
of
reason.5
 In
 his
 talk
 Fr.
 Scalese
 quoting
 some
 words
 of
 Francis,
 said
 that
 “Francis
 was
 very
 fond
 of
 his
 studies,
but
not
for
personal
pride,
but
to
serve
his
congregation.”
I
would
explain
this
concept,
adding,
 in
the
light
of
the
last
encyclical
of
Benedict
XVI,
that
Francis,
taken
in
its
context
and
in
his
spirit,
lived
 the
study
and
teaching
ministry
as
an
expression
of
charity.
To
teach
the
humble
use
of
reason
is
a
real
 ministerial
work
that
opens
to
the
meeting
and
the
reception
of
truth.
 
 2.
The
mystical
intimacy
with
Christ.
 
 I
do
not
stop
here
to
transcribe
Francis’s
mystical
experience,
which
certainly
has
been
and
will
 be
 described
 by
 others,
 but
 I
 think
 that
 the
 thirst
 for
 truth
 that
 has
 characterized
 the
 first
 part
 of
 




































































































































































































mankind
and
for
the
progress
in
humanity
that
has
been
granted
to
us.
The
scientific
ethos,
moreover,
is
 ‐
as
you
yourself
 mentioned,
Magnificent
Rector
‐
the
will
to
be
obedient
to
the
truth,
and,
as
such,
it
embodies
an
attitude
which
belongs
to
 the
 essential
 decisions
 of
 the
 Christian
 spirit.
 The
 intention
 here
 is
 not
 one
 of
 retrenchment
 or
 negative
 criticism,
 but
 of
 broadening
our
concept
of
reason
and
its
application.
While
we
rejoice
in
the
new
possibilities
open
to
humanity,
we
also
see
 the
dangers
arising
from
these
possibilities
and
we
must
ask
ourselves
how
we
can
overcome
them.
We
will
succeed
in
doing
 so
 only
 if
 reason
 and
 faith
 come
 together
 in
 a
 new
 way,
 if
 we
 overcome
 the
 self‐imposed
 limitation
 of
 reason
 to
 the
 empirically
falsifiable,
and
if
we
once
more
disclose
its
vast
horizons.
In
this
sense
theology
rightly
belongs
in
the
university
 and
within
the
wide‐ranging
dialogue
of
sciences,
not
merely
as
a
historical
discipline
and
one
of
the
human
sciences,
but
 precisely
as
theology,
as
inquiry
into
the
rationality
of
faith.”
 4 

 "Pilate’s
policy
is
the
image
of
politics
that
toady
regulates
the
life
of
some
Christians.
Christian
politicians
would
like
to
love
 God
and
not
lose
the
friendship
of
the
world...
The
Lord
says:
the
half
will
that
that
you
devote
to
me
causes
me
nausea.
Feel
 free
to
go,
if
you
like,
with
all
your
heart,
for
the
ways
of
passions...
You
cannot
serve
both
God
and
the
world,
you
cannot
 stay
neutral.
Do
you
understand,
you
Christians
with
a
divided
heart?"
(Idem
in
Op.
Cit.,
p.
69).
 5 

 "Not
 every
 skill
 is
 sufficient
 and
 appropriate
 for
 each
 state
 and
 task;
 but
 in
 every
 state
 and
 task
 what
 is
 required
 is
 the
 goodness
of
the
heart
and
a
constant
willingness
to
follow
what
is
true
and
just.
Where
this
is
not
present,
often
the
first
 heads
of
the
world
sway";
again:
"Knowledge,
without
religion,
often
does
more
harm
than
good
in
those
who
possesses
it"
 (ldem,
Op.
Cit.,
p.
79.)


Francis’s
life,
prepared
him
for
the
gift
of
a
most
profound
revelation
of
God,
in
his
mystical
experience,
 like
the
participation
in
the
mystery
of
Christ‘s
love
on
the
Cross
and
in
the
Eucharist.
This
dimension
of
 deep
intimacy
with
the
One
who
is
“the
way,
the
truth,
and
the
life”
is
the
second
aspect
of
Francis’s
 holiness
 and
 ministry,
 where
 we
 search
 for
 a
 message
 for
 us
 today
 and
 especially
 for
 our
 priestly
 and
 Barnabite
life.
 The
 mystical
 experience
 is
 certainly
 a
 special
 gift
 of
 God
 that
 is
 not
 offered
 to
 all,
 an
 intimacy
 that
 Christ
 gives
 only
 to
 someone
 whom,
 as
 he
 did
 with
 Peter,
 James
 and
 John,
 he
 calls
 to
 share
 the
 most
intimate
moments
of
his
life.
What
is
the
most
intimate
moment
if
not
that
of
the
cross?6
 All
of
us
priests
are
able
to
live
the
experience
of
intimacy
with
Christ
in
the
Eucharist;
perhaps
 the
same
intimacy
of
the
three
apostles
just
mentioned,
but
still
of
those
three,
only
one
was
under
the
 Cross
and
shared
the
most
intimate
intimacy
of
Christ.
Francis’s
mystical
experience
is
the
experience
of
 the
apostle
called
to
intimacy,
but,
like
John,
he
did
not
only
share
Mount
Tabor,
he
shared
Calvary
too.
 It
is
in
this
full
empathy
with
Christ
that
the
Pauline
character
of
St.
Francis
Xavier
is
outlined:
“I
 live,
no
longer
I,
but
Christ
lives
in
me”
(Gal
2:20);
“For
I
resolved
to
know
nothing
while
I
was
with
you
 except
Jesus
Christ,
and
him
crucified”
(1Cor
2:2).
 Antonio
Maria
Zaccaria
teaches
us
that
knowledge
which
is
not
self‐denial
and
renunciation,
as
 participation
in
the
mystery
of
the
Cross,
leads
to
presumption,
pride,
distraction
and
relaxation,
and
he
 adds,
“it
would
pull
them
completely
out
of
the
desire
and
life
of
Paul.”7
The
humble
search
for
truth,
 instead,
leads
to
the
mystical
experience
and
empathy
with
Christ.
 In
fact,
John
Paul
II
affirmed
in
Veritatis
Splendor:

 

 Following
Christ
is
not
an
outward
imitation,
since
it
touches
man
at
the
very
depths
of
his
being.
 Being
 a
 follower
 of
 Christ
 means
 becoming
 conformed
 to
 him
 who
 became
 a
 servant
 even
 to
 giving
himself
on
the
Cross”
(cf
Phil
2:5‐8).
(#
21)
 


 It
is,
therefore,
from
an
intimate
relationship,
which
allows
us
to
be
conformed
to
Him
in
love,
 that
our
Christian
life
finds
its
quality
and
meaning.8
Every
Christian
is
such
not
in
virtue
of
what
he
does,
 but
 because
 it
 operates
 according
 to
 the
 will
 of
 God.
 The
 gift
 of
 the
 intimate
 relationship
 with
 Christ
 does
not
end
in
the
taste
of
ecstasy,
but
in
working
with
him;
but
it
is
also
true
that
to
act
in
his
name
 does
 not
 necessarily
 mean
 working
 according
 to
 his
 will.
 Francis
 himself
 affirmed,
 “The
 Lord
 does
 not
 like
for
me
to
look
for
this
gift
of
contemplation,
but
to
study
the
dying
to
myself
so
as
to
care
only
for
 his
will.”9
 Without
 a
 mystical
 dimension,
 more
 or
 less
 remarkable
 or
 spectacular,
 our
 actions
 have
 no
 shape,
even
if
it
is
done
in
the
name
of
Christ.
We
have
all
been
chosen,
first
of
all,
“to
stand
with
him.”
 
 For
us
priests,
in
particular,
called
to
be,
for
our
brethren,
the
image
of
Christ,
it
is
not
possible
to
 leave
apart
a
profound
mystical
sense
of
an
intimate
friendship
with
Christ.
This
is
affirmed
and
 required
by
the
same
Benedict
XVI
in
his
message
for
the
World
Day
for
Vocations:
fundamental
 and
 recognizable
 element
 of
 every
 vocation
 to
 the
 priesthood
 and
 the
 consecrated
 life
 is
 the
 





























































6



 "My
Jesus,
I
thank
you,
I
want
to
suffer
and
die
for
you.
‐
Lord,
I
bless
you.
‐
Strength,
Lord,
Strength!
‐
Increase,
Lord,
the
 pain,
but
increase
the
fortitude."
Again:
"Pray
and
have
people
pray
that
the
Lord
will
grant
me
my
wish.
I
want
to
suffer
and
 to
suffer
cheerfully.
Yes,
yes,
I
want
to
suffer
and
to
suffer
cheerfully,
because
I
do
not
want
to
have
purgatory."
More:
"This
 way
is
all
right,
because
I
want
to
be
the
Crucifix,
to
love
and
imitate
my
Lord
Jesus"
(St.
Francesco
S.
M.
Bianchi,
in
Op.
Cit.,
 p.
160‐161).
 7 

 Antonio
M.
Zaccaria,
Lettera
IX,
10
June
1539.
 8 

 "This
exaltation
of
the
heart
is
a
gift,
in
me,
of
the
Holy
Spirit;
and
it
was
so
much
that
not
to
show
it
to
others
I
had
to
forbid
 me
to
stay
in
the
churches
where
there
was
the
Sacrament
of
the
Lord,
and
for
me
it
was
a
continuous
miracle
to
live"
(S.
 Francesco
Bianchi
S.M.,
in
Op,
Cit.
p.
148).
 9 

 Fr.

Scalese’s
talk.


friendship
with
Christ.
Jesus
lived
in
constant
union
with
the
Father,
and
that's
what
made
the
 disciples
 desire
 to
 live
 the
 same
 experience,
 learning
 from
 him
 the
 communion
 and
 unceasing
 dialogue
 with
 God.
 If
 the
 priest
 is
 the
 “man
 of
 God,”
 who
 belongs
 to
 God
 and
 helps
 others
 to
 know
and
love
him,
he
cannot
not
cultivate
a
profound
intimacy
with
God,
abiding
in
His
love,
 making
 space
 for
 his
 Word.
 Prayer
 is
 the
 first
 witness
 that
 raises
 vocations.
 Like
 the
 Apostle
 Andrew,
 who
 told
 his
 brother
 to
 have
 known
 the
 Master,
 so
 also
 the
 one
 who
 wants
 to
 be
 a
 disciple
and
witness
to
Christ
must
have
“seen”
him
in
person,
must
have
known
him,
must
have
 learned
to
love
him
and
to
be
with
him.
 
 Faced
with
the
emerging
problems
of
fragility
in
the
priesthood,
the
Church's
proposal
today
is
 exactly
 to
 reaffirm
 that
 to
 be
 witnesses
 of
 Him
 it
 is
 not
 enough
 to
 have
 an
 academic
 education
 or
 a
 cultural
background,
but
we
must
recover
the
mystique
of
the
“be
with
him.”
 Our
priestly
relationship
with
the
Eucharist,
which
characterizes
every
one
of
our
days,
should
 be
our
ultimate
mystical
experience,
like
it
was
for
Francis:
in
the
Eucharistic
adoration
he
received
the
 transverberation
and
to
celebrate
the
Eucharist,
every
day,
for
6
months,
he
miraculously
ovecame
the
 immobility
to
which
he
had
been
reduced.
 Our
 Holy
 Founder
 had
 told
 us:
 it
 is
 from
 distancing
 ourselves
 from
 this
 Sacrament
 that
 every
 corruption
 of
 morals
 comes;
 we
 can
 say,
 therefore,
 that
 we
 must
 start
 from
 a
 revaluation
 of
 the
 Eucharist
 as
 the
 source
 of
 mystical‐vital
 relationship
 with
 Christ
 and
 as
 the
 nourishment
 for
 our
 friendship
 with
 him
 up
 to
 under
 the
 cross
 and
 in
 the
 empty
 tomb,
 for
 a
 reform
 of
 the
 Church
 and
 especially
for
the
reform
of
the
hurt
image
of
a
priest,
today.
 
 3
The
spiritual
fatherhood.
 
 It
 is
 very
 meaningful
 to
 stress
 what
 Fr.
 Scalese
 writes
 in
 the
 text
 of
 his
 talk,
 about
 Francis’s
 mystical
nature.
He
rightly
argues
that
the
mystical
experience
of
our
Saint
should
not
lead
us
to
believe
 that
 his
 vocation
 is
 to
 be
 identified,
 in
 the
 second
 part
 of
 his
 life,
 with
 a
 contemplative
 vocation.
 St.
 Francis
Xavier,
in
fact,
thanks
to
this
mystical
experience
became
an
apostle
and
this
is
evidenced
by
the
 very
title
of
“Apostle
of
Naples”
conferred
to
him
by
Pope
Pius
XII,
just
as
Fr.
Scalese
points
out
in
his
 lecture:
 It
is…
an
apostolate,
a
true
apostolate
that
acts
in
depth
and
transforms
consciences.
 In
a
word,
I
think
I
can
say
that
Francis
became
what
makes
each
of
our
activities,
be
it
parish,
 school,
missionary,
academic
and
others,
not
just
an
activity
but
a
ministry:
it
is
precisely
to
be
“spiritual
 fathers.”
Without
this
fundamental
identity,
what
would
we
be?
 Let
 us
 try
 to
 do
 in
 our
own
 time
what
Jesus
did
with
his
disciples,
asking
 “Who
do
people
 say
 that
 the
 priest
 is
 today?”
 I
 state
 first
 that
 many
 answers
 will
 be
 of
 esteem
 and
 appreciation
 for
 the
 clergy,
 but
 we
 also
 note
 a
 constant
 criticism
 made
 to
 the
 priests,
 that
 is
 not
 about
 clerical
 sexual
 weakness,
but
the
“bureaucratization”
of
the
priestly
functions.
 Here
are
a
few
examples.
 During
 Lent
 this
 year,
 the
 Pope
 has
 insisted
 on
 the
 conversion
 to
 justice
 and,
 in
 one
 of
 his
 general
audiences,
he
spoke
of
the
money
and
power
temptation
as
a
source
of
injustice,
insisting
on
 the
necessity
for
conversion.
The
reactions
of
many
newspapers
and
the
comments
of
ordinary
citizens
 on
many
blogs,
found
on
the
Internet,
have
shown
that
the
first
to
need
conversion
in
this
field
are
the
 members
of
the
church
hierarchy,
busy
more
in
the
management
of
resources
than
in
the
exercise
of
a
 sacred
task.
Therefore,
there
is
the
need
of
more
“spiritual
fathers”
that
priests
involved
in
management
 activities.


Here
 is
 the
 position
 of
 a
 parish
 priest
 in
 the
 performance
 of
 his
 duties,
 a
 fellow
 teacher
 of
 Cardinal
Tettamanzi,
who
at
the
time
of
the
appointment
of
the
new
Archbishop
of
Milan
wrote
an
open
 letter
with
this
suggestion:
 
 I
would
rather
look
for
the
cooperation
of
humble
people
but
who
are
rich
with
the
freedom
of
 thought
 (to
 what
 use
 is
 to
 have
 alongside
 some
 simple
 executors?),
 and
 especially
 of
 great
 humanity.
 God’s
 bureaucrats
 are
 the
 worst
 bureaucrats
 of
 this
 world.
 It
 is
 sad
 when,
 behind
 a
 desk
in
the
Curia,
there
is
no
longer
a
priest
or
a
man,
but
only
the
bureaucrat.10
 
 Great
dismay
was
provoked
in
Italy,
in
1995,
with
the
publication
of
a
book
by
Drewman
entitled
 “Officials
of
God,”
where
the
author,
with
a
psychological
analysis
of
the
priests,
affirms
that
today
the
 evil
of
the
priests
is
the
“structure”
which
is
the
cause
of
the
evil
more
than
the
person
only.
 These
considerations
should
make
us
priests
suffer,
even
if
only
some
of
us
were
to
be
seen
by
 anyone
in
this
way;
but
it
is
not
question
of
“someone”!
Are
we
really
facing
a
“functionalist”
decadence
 of
the
priest?
 One
thing
is
certain,
the
priest
and
the
religious
priest
in
particular,
has
first
of
all
the
charisma
 of
the
spiritual
fatherhood,
and
this
paternity
is
not
a
role
or
a
function,
but
first
of
all
a
relationship
in
 which
the
father
transmits
himself
into
his
son.11
 This
 tradition
 of
 a
 father
 to
 his
 son
 charges
 with
 love
 the
 transmitted
 content,
 which
 is
 not
 perceived
as
an
authoritarian
burden
or
requirement,
but
finds
its
authority
in
the
very
fact
of
being
a
 gift.
 This
is
why
Francis
saw
at
his
bedside
people
of
all
ages
and
walks
of
life,
thirsty
for
his
teaching;
 the
 faithful,
 in
 fact,
 perceived
 the
 faith
 handed
 down
 by
 him
 as
 a
 gift
 of
 love,
 and
 among
 them
 there
 were
also
many
fruits
of
holiness.12
Suffering,
then,
determines
the
measure
of
love.
The
more
you
love,
 the
 more
 you
 are
 willing
 to
 accept
 suffering
 for
 the
 other.
 The
 paternity
 exercised
 in
 suffering
 love
 becomes
fertilized
and
tested.13
 The
 same
 exercise
 of
 spiritual
 fatherhood
 was
 considered
 by
 him
 a
 martyrdom
 –
 Father
 Sala
 comments
in
his
biography
‐
in
the
dual
form
of
confessing
God
before
men,
and
also
confessing
men
 before
God.14
 Here
I
would
like
to
propose
an
analogy
with
the
necessary
similarities
and
differences
between
 St.
Francis
and
Pope
John
Paul
II.
Where
are
coming
from
those
millions
of
young
people
taking
part
in
 the
 World
 Youth
 Days,
 if
 not
 from
 having
 lived
 the
 transmission
 of
 faith
 as
 a
 gift
 of
 love,
 inside
 of
 a
 universal
 spiritual
 paternity
 like
 the
 one
 of
 the
 late
 Pontiff?
 Where
 did
 the
 need
 come
 for
 millions
 of
 people
to
come
to
Rome
to
pay
homage
to
the
body
of
John
Paul
II,
if
not
from
a
deep
gratitude
for
a
 loyal,
sincere,
but
especially
painful
and
so
loving
a
paternity?
 





























































10
11



 ozzoni
don
Luigi,
"Al
mio
nuovo
vescovou.
Lettera
operta
di
un
parroco
di
citta,
in
"La
Comunita",
n.
129,
Milano,
settembre
 P

2002
 

“Through
 virginity,
 then,
 or
 celibacy
 observed
 for
 the
 Kingdom
 of
 Heaven,
 priests
 are
 consecrated
 to
 Christ
 by
 a
 new
 and
 exceptional
reason.
They
adhere
to
him
more
easily
with
an
undivided
heart,
they
dedicate
themselves
more
freely
in
him
 and
 through
 him
 to
 the
 service
 of
 God
 and
 men,
 and
 they
 more
 expeditiously
 minister
 to
 his
 Kingdom
 and
 the
 work
 of
 heavenly
regeneration,
and
thus
they
are
apt
to
accept,
in
a
broad
sense,
paternity
in
Christ.”
(Presbiterorum
Ordinis,
16).
 12 
Among
the
Saint’s
sons
we
count
Blessed
Vincenzo
Romano,
the
Ven.
Francesco
Castelli,
the
Ven.
Don
Placido
Baccher,
the
 Ven.
G.
Battista
Iossa,
the
Ven.
Maria
Clotilde
of
Savoy,
the
Servant
of
God
Agnello
Coppola,
the
Ven.
Don
Mariano
Acierro
 and
many
others.
Not
to
forget
the
spiritual
relationship
with
St.
Francesca
of
the
Five
Wounds,
with
whom
Bianchi
had
a
 spiritual
communication
that
made
them
know
each
other
better
than
by
a
confessor.
 13 
"The
Lord
has
been
gracious
to
visit
me
with
pain
and
with
the
ardor
of
these
wounds,
so
that,
with
this
opposing
force,
the
 flame
 of
 my
 heart
 would
 be
 mitigated";
 again:
 "I
 suffer
 pains
 that
 I
 could
 not
 express,
 nor
 the
 doctors
 can
 understand,
 coming
directly
from
God"
(St
Francesco
S.
M.
Bianchi,
in
Op.
Cit.,
p.
148
and
160).
 14 
Sala
P.
Felice,
L’Apostolo
di
Napoli,
Op.
Cit.,
pag
119.


A
 publication
 this
 year
 by
 the
 St.
 Paul
 Press
 deals
 with
 the
 spiritual
 fatherhood
 of
 the
 priest,
 which
 today
 is
 revived
 with
 force;
 but
 this
 spiritual
 paternity
 is
 only
 possible
 if
 we
 have
 lived
 and
 live
 with
the
gratitude
of
love
our
sonship,
sonship
as
a
deep
and
therefore
mystical
experience
of
God.
 The
author
writes:
 
 Paternity
is
the
imitation
of
God.
Jesus
has
revealed
the
final
word
of
history:
God
is
Father
and
 the
material
of
the
very
being
is
the
fatherhood...
Paternity
means
taking
care
of
others,
because
 God
is
the
One
who
creates
and
does
not
abandon...
Paternity
means
above
all
respect
for
the
 spiritual
presence
of
God
in
the
other.15
 
 From
 these
 brief
 highlights
 three
 important
 points
 stand
 out
 which
 qualify
 the
 spiritual
 paternity:
 a.

Each
 father
 takes
 his
 own
 father
 as
 a
 model,
 generating
 a
 transmission
 of
 love.
 God
 is
 the
 Father,
and
so
it
is
the
experience
we
have
of
God
to
form
our
paternity;
 b.

The
father
is
not
only
the
one
who
generates,
but
the
one
who
does
not
abandon.
It
is
not
 enough
 to
 administer
 the
 sacraments
 to
 be
 fathers,
 but
 also
 we
 must
 not
 abandon
 the
 children,
we
must
take
care
of
their
inner
life;
 c.

 The
 other
 is
 divine
 and
 therefore
 the
 spiritual
 paternity
 makes
 its
 moves
 from
 a
 consciousness
based
on
this:
to
be
the
fathers
of
the
children
of
God.
 Each
of
us
is
involved
and
plays
a
role
in
the
community:
parish
priest,
teacher,
dean,
academic,
 provincial,
 general,
 treasurer,
 but
 first
 of
 all
 is
 the
 father
 in
 us
 to
 love
 and
 to
 give
 his
 life
 in
 suffering,
 because
in
the
same
way
he
is
loved
by
God.
 The
world's
response
to
the
great
saints
of
today,
represents
how
it
needs
fathers
and
it
is
only
 this
 awareness
 that
 can
 liberate
 us
 from
 the
 risk
 of
 becoming
 functionaries
 of
 God:
 we
 are
 sons
 and
 fathers!
 This
grace
we
ask
from
St.
Francis
Xavier
M.
Francis.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





























































15


Camisasca
Massimo,
Padre,
Cinisello
Balsamo
2010,
pp.
140‐141.


ST.
FRANCIS
XAVIER
M.
BIANCHI:
 LIVING
IMAGE
OF
CHRIST
“Sacerdos
et
Victim”
 
 Speaker:
Bishop
Filippo
Iannone,
O.
C.,
Bishop
of
Sora
‐
Aquino
–
Pontecorvo
 
 We
are
in
the
“Year
of
Priests,”
called
by
Benedict
XVI
on
the
occasion
of
15th
anniversary
of
the
 death
 of
 the
 Curé
 of
 Ars.
 At
 this
 time,
 the
 Pope
 invites
 not
 only
 priests
 but
 the
 all
 people
 of
 God
 to
 reflect
on
the
lives
of
those
priests
who
have
left,
with
the
simplicity
and
fruitfulness
of
their
ministry,
 an
indelible
mark
in
the
spiritual
journey
of
the
Christian
community
and
whose
example
is
still
very
up
 to
date
for
the
sacred
ministers.

 It
 is
 set
 in
 this
 context
 the
 conference
 sponsored
 by
 the
 Barnabites
 about
 St.
 Francis
 Xavier
 Maria
Bianchi,
who
with
his
truly
priestly
and
religious
life,
with
his
apostolate
has
been
in
the
eyes
of
 his
contemporaries,
and
not
just
them,
“a
living
image
of
Christ,
Priest
and
Victim.”
 As
we
all
well
known
his
biography,
my
talk
wants
to
dwell
on
one
aspect
of
his
figure,
Francis
 Saverio
Maria,
pastor
and
teacher
of
prayer.
John
Paul
II
wrote
in
Novo
Millennio
Ineunte:
 
 This
training
in
holiness
calls
for
a
Christian
life
distinguished
above
all
in
the
art
of
prayer…
Our
 Christian
communities
must
become
genuine
"schools"
of
prayer,
where
the
meeting
with
Christ
 is
expressed
not
just
in
imploring
help
but
also
in
thanksgiving,
praise,
adoration,
contemplation,
 listening
and
ardent
devotion,
until
the
heart
truly
"falls
in
love"…
Christians
who
have
received
 the
 gift
 of
 a
 vocation
 to
 the
 specially
 consecrated
 life
 are
 of
 course
 called
 to
 prayer
 in
 a
 particular
 way:
 of
 its
 nature,
 their
 consecration
 makes
 them
 more
 open
 to
 the
 experience
 of
 contemplation,
and
it
is
important
that
they
should
cultivate
it
with
special
care…
It
is
therefore
 essential
 that
 education
 in
 prayer
 should
 become
 in
 some
 way
 a
 key‐point
 of
 all
 pastoral
 planning.
(32‐34)
 
 Prayer
is
the
universal
and
indispensable
means
for
progress
on
all
fronts
in
the
path
of
holiness.
 The
Blessed
Angela
of
Foligno
says:
“If
you
want
to
start
to
have
the
light
of
God,
pray;
if
you
are
already
 involved
in
the
ascent
of
perfection
and
want
this
light
to
increases
in
you,
pray;
if
you
want
faith,
pray;
 if
 you
 want
 hope,
 pray;
 if
 you
 want
 charity,
 pray;
 if
 you
 want
 poverty,
 pray;
 if
 you
 want
 obedience,
 chastity,
 humility,
 meekness,
 fortitude,
 pray.
 Whatever
 virtues
 you'd
 like,
 pray...
 The
 more
 you
 are
 tempted,
 the
 more
 persevere
 in
 prayer...
 In
 fact,
 prayer
 gives
 you
 light,
 it
 frees
 you
 from
 temptation,
 makes
you
pure,
it
unites
you
with
God.”
Augustine
says:
“Love
and
do
what
you
want
,”
we
can
say
with
 equal
truth:
“Pray
and
do
what
you
want.”
 
 THE
SPIRIT
COMES
TO
OUR
HELP
 
 In
the
eighth
chapter
of
Romans
the
Apostle
Paul
emphasizes
the
most
important
operations
of
 the
Holy
Spirit
in
Christian
life
and
between
them
outstanding
is
prayer.
The
Holy
Spirit,
source
of
new
 life,
 is
 also,
 therefore,
 the
 principle
 of
 new
 prayer.
 Let's
 start
 with
 two
 verses
 more
 related
 to
 our
 theme:
 “The
Spirit
too
comes
to
the
aid
of
our
weakness;
for
we
do
not
know
how
to
pray
as
we
ought,
 but
 the
 Spirit
 itself
 intercedes
 with
 inexpressible
 groanings.
 And
 the
 one
 who
 searches
 hearts
 knows
 what
is
the
intention
of
the
Spirit,
because
it
intercedes
for
the
holy
ones
according
to
God's
will.”
(Rom
 8,
26‐27).
St.
Paul
says
that
the
Spirit
intercedes
for
us
“with
inexpressible
groanings.”
If
we
could
find
 for
what
and
how
the
Spirit
prays
in
the
heart
of
the
believer,
we
would
have
discovered
the
secret
of
 prayer
itself.
Now,
this
seems
possible.
The
Spirit
who
prays
in
us
secretly
and
without
noise
of
words
is
 the
very
same
Spirit
who
prayed
very
clearly
in
Scripture.
He
has
inspired
the
pages
of
Scripture,
he
also
 inspired
the
prayers
that
we
read
in
Scripture.
If
it
is
true
that
the
Holy
Spirit
continues
to
speak
today
in


the
 Church
 and
 in
 the
 souls,
 saying,
 always
 in
 a
 new
 way,
 the
 same
 things
 that
 he
 said
 “through
 the
 prophets”
 in
 the
 Holy
 Scriptures,
 it
 is
 also
 true
 that
 he
 prays
 today
 in
 the
 Church
 and
 in
 the
 souls,
 as
 taught
 to
 pray
 in
 the
 Scriptures.
 The
 Holy
 Spirit
 does
 not
 have
 two
 different
 prayers.
 We
 must,
 therefore,
must
go
to
the
Bible
to
learn
prayer,
to
learn
to
“agree”
with
the
Spirit
and
pray
as
he
prays.
 What
are
the
feelings
of
the
man
of
prayer
in
the
Bible?
Let
us
try
to
find
it
out
through
the
prayer
of
the
 great
friends
of
God:
Abraham,
Moses,
Jeremiah,
the
psalmists.
 The
 first
 thing
 that
 strikes
 you
 in
 these
 “inspired”
 praying
 people
 is
 their
 great
 trust
 and
 incredible
courage
to
talk
with
God.
Nothing
of
that
servilism
that
men
are
accustomed
to
associate
with
 the
 word
 prayer.
 We
 know
 well
 Abraham’s
 prayer
 for
 Sodom
 and
 Gomorrah
 (see
 Genesis
 18:22
 ff.).
 Abraham
 starts
 by
 saying:
 “Will
 you
 sweep
 away
 the
 innocent
 with
 the
 guilty?”
 as
 if
 to
 say:
 I
 cannot
 believe
 you'll
 want
 to
 do
 such
 a
 thing!
 In
 each
 subsequent
 request
 for
 forgiveness,
 Abraham
 repeats:
 “See
how
I
am
presuming
to
speak
to
my
Lord!”
His
plea
is
“daring”
and
he
realizes
it.
But
Abraham
is
the
 friend
of
God
(Is
41:
8)
and
between
friends
one
knows
how
far
he
can
push.
 Moses
 goes
 even
 farther
 in
 its
 boldness,
 after
 the
 people
 had
 built
 the
 golden
 calf.
 God
 tells
 Moses
who
is
on
top
of
the
mountain
to
pray:
“Go
down
from
here
now,
quickly,
for
your
people
whom
 you
have
brought
out
of
Egypt
have
become
depraved.”
Moses
responds
by
saying:
“They
are,
after
all,
 your
 people
 and
 your
 heritage,
 whom
 you
 have
 brought
 out
 by
 your
 great
 power
 and
 with
 your
 outstretched
 arm.”
 (Dt
 9:12,
 29,
 cf.
 Ex
 32:7,11).
 The
 Rabbinic
 tradition
 has
 clearly
 understood
 the
 implication
that
there
is
in
Moses’
words:
“When
this
people
is
faithful,
then
it
is
“your”
people
which
 “you”
 have
 brought
 out
 of
 Egypt;
 when
 he
 is
 unfaithful,
 then
 it
 becomes
 “my”
 people
 which
 “I”
 have
 brought
 out
 of
 Egypt?”
 Now
 God
 uses
 the
 weapon
 of
 seduction;
 he
 flashes
 in
 front
 of
 his
 servant
 the
 idea
that
once
the
rebellious
people
has
been
destroyed,
he
will
make
of
him
a
“great
nation”
(Exodus
 32:10).
Moses
replied
resorting
to
a
little
blackmail;
he
says
to
God:
Be
careful,
because
if
you
destroy
 this
people
the
voice
will
go
around:
“The
LORD
was
not
able
to
bring
them
into
the
land
he
promised
 them!”
(Deut
9:28),
“So
the
LORD
relented
in
the
punishment
he
had
threatened
to
inflict
on
his
people.”
 (Ex
32:14).
 Jeremiah,
on
its
part,
reaches
even
to
express
a
protest
and
cries
out
to
God:
“You
duped
me,
O
 LORD,”
and:
“I
will
not
mention
him,
I
will
speak
in
his
name
no
more.”
(Jer
20:7,9).
 If
we,
then,
look
at
the
Psalms,
it
seems
that
God
does
nothing
but
to
put
the
most
efficacious
 words
 on
 the
 lips
 of
 men
 to
 complain
 with
 him.
 The
 Psalter
 is
 in
 fact
 a
 unique
 pattern
 of
 the
 most
 sublime
praise
and
the
most
heartfelt
lament.
God
is
often
openly
called
into
question:
“Awake!
Why
do
 you
sleep,
O
Lord?
Rise
up!
Do
not
reject
us
forever!”
(Ps
44:24);
“Where
are
your
promises
of
old,
Lord,
 the
 loyalty
 sworn
 to
 David?”
 (Ps
 89:50);
 “Why,
 LORD,
 do
 you
 stand
 at
 a
 distance
 and
 pay
 no
 heed
 to
 these
troubled
times?”
(Ps
10:1);
“You
hand
us
over
like
sheep
to
be
slaughtered,
scatter
us
among
the
 nations”
(PS
44:12);
“Do
not
be
deaf
to
me”
(Ps
28:1);
“Lord,
how
long
will
you
look
on?”
(Ps
35:17).
How
 do
we
explain
this?
Is
God,
perhaps,
pushing
man
to
be
irreverent
towards
him,
because,
ultimately,
he
 is
the
one
to
inspire
and
approve
this
kind
of
prayer?
The
answer
is:
all
this
is
possible
because
the
man
 of
the
Bible
is
safe
in
his
creaturely
relationship
with
God
The
praying
man
of
the
Bible
is
so
intimately
 pervaded
by
 a
sense
 of
 majesty
 and
 holiness
of
God,
so
entirely
submissive
to
 him,
God
and
 so
much
 “God”
 for
 him,
 that
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 this
 pacific
 data,
 everything
 rests
 assured.
 His
 favorite
 prayer,
 in
 times
of
trial,
is
always
the
same:
“For
you
are
just
in
all
you
have
done;


all
your
deeds
are
faultless,
all
 your
ways
right,
and
your
judgments
proper…
because
of
our
sins”
(Dn
3:27f;
cf
Deut
32:4ff);
“For
you
 are
 just,
 O
 Lord!”:
 after
 these
 three
 or
 four
 words
 ‐
 God
 says
 ‐
 men
 can
 say
 what
 they
 want:
 I'm
 unarmed!
 The
 explanation,
 in
 short,
 is
 in
 the
 heart
 with
 which
 these
 men
 pray.
 In
 the
 midst
 of
 his
 tempestuous
prayers,
Jeremiah
reveals
the
secret
that
puts
everything
in
place:
“You,
O
Lord,
know
me,
 you
see
me,
you
have
found
that
at
heart
I
am
with
you”
(Jer
12:3).
Even
the
psalmists
insert
with
their
 cries
expressions
of
absolute
fidelity:
“God
is
the
rock
of
my
heart”
(Ps
73.26).
The
quality
of
the
biblical


prayer
is
also
apparent
from
the
contrast
with
the
hypocrites.
These,
the
prophets
say,
have
the
whole
 mouth
for
God,
but
their
heart
far
away
from
him;
true
friends,
on
the
contrary,
the
whole
heart
and
 mouth
for
God,
at
times,
against
God,
in
the
sense
that
they
do
not
hide
the
disconcert
in
front
of
the
 mystery
of
his
actions
(cf
Jer
12:2;
29:13).
 
 JESUS’
PRAYER
 
 But
if
it
is
important
to
know
how
the
Spirit
has
prayed
in
Abraham,
Moses,
Jeremiah
and
the
 Psalmists,
 it
 is
 immensely
 more
 important
 to
 know
 how
 he
 prayed
 in
 Jesus,
 because
 it
 is
 the
 Spirit
 of
 Jesus
 to
 pray
 now
 in
 us
 with
 inexpressible
 groanings.
 In
 Christ
 is
 brought
 perfectly
 that
 additional
 adhesion
 of
 the
 heart
 and
 of
 the
 whole
 being
 to
 God
 which
 is,
 as
 we
 have
 seen,
 the
 biblical
secret
 of
 prayer.
The
Father
always
heard
him,
because
he
always
did
what
was
pleasing
to
him
(cf
Jn
4:34;
11:
 42);
heard
him
because
of
his
“compassion,”
that
is,
for
his
filial
obedience
and
submission
(cf
Heb
5:7).
 The
 word
 of
 God,
 culminating
 in
 the
 life
 of
 Jesus,
 teaches
 us,
 then,
 that
 the
 most
 important
 thing
 for
 prayer
is
not
what
is
“said,”
but
what
we
are;
not
that
is
on
the
lips,
but
what
we
have
in
the
heart.
It
is
 not
so
much
about
the
object
but
the
subject.
For
Augustine,
the
fundamental
problem
is
not
to
know
 “What
to
say
in
prayer,”
quid
ores,
but
“How
we
are
in
prayer,”
qualis
ores.
Prayer,
as
the
act,
“follows
 being.”
 The
 novelty
 introduced
 by
 the
 Holy
 Spirit
 in
 the
 life
 of
 prayer,
 is
 that
 he
 actually
 reforms
 the
 “'being”
of
the
person,
raises
the
new
man,
the
man
friend
of
God;
he
takes
away
a
heart
full
of
fears
 and
interested
as
a
slave,
and
gives
him
the
heart
as
a
son.
Coming
into
us,
the
Spirit
does
not
just
teach
 us
how
we
must
pray,
but
prays
in
us,
such
as
‐
about
the
law
‐
he
does
not
just
tells
us
what
to
do,
but
 does
 it
 with
 us.
 The
 Spirit
 does
 not
 give
 a
 law
 of
 prayer,
 but
 a
 grace
 of
 prayer.
 The
 biblical
 prayer
 is
 therefore
does
not
come
to
us,
primarily,
for
an
external
and
analytical
learning,
that
is,
in
so
far
as
we
 try
to
imitate
the
attitudes
that
we
found
in
Abraham,
Moses,
Job
and
in
Jesus
himself,
but
comes
to
us
 by
infusion
as
a
gift.
This
is
the
incredible
“good
news”
about
Christian
prayer!
The
very
principle
of
this
 new
prayer
comes
to
us
and
this
principle
is
that
“God
sent
the
spirit
of
his
Son
into
our
hearts,
crying
 out,
"Abba,
Father!”
(Gal
4:
6).
It
means
“to
pray
in
the
Spirit,”
or
“through
the
Spirit.”
(Cf
Eph
6:18).

 Even
in
prayer,
as
in
everything
else,
the
Spirit
“does
not
speak
for
itself,”
does
not
say
anything
 new
and
different,
simply,
he
resurrects
and
updates
in
the
heart
of
believers
the
prayer
of
Jesus.
“He
 will
take
from
what
is
mine
and
declare
it
to
you”
Jesus
says
of
the
Paraclete
(Jn
16:14):
he
will
take
my
 prayer
and
give
it
to
you.
By
virtue
of
this,
we
can
say
with
all
truth:
“It
is
not
I
who
is
praying
in
me,
but
 Christ
who
prays
in
me!”

 “Our
Lord
Jesus
Christ,
the
Son
of
God
‐
Augustine
writes
–
is
the
one
who
prays
for
us,
prays
in
 us
and
is
prayed
to
by
us.
He
prays
for
us
as
our
priest,
prays
in
us
as
our
head,
and
prays
with
us
as
our
 God.
Then,
we
recognize
in
him
our
voices,
and
in
us
his
voice.”
The
same
cry
“Abba”
shows
that
the
one
 who
prays
in
us
through
the
Spirit,
is
Jesus,
the
only
Son
of
God
himself.
In
fact,
the
Holy
Spirit
could
not
 turn
to
God,
calling
him
Father,
for
he
is
not
“generated”
but
only
“proceeds”
from
the
Father.
 
 Trinitarian
Christian
prayer
 
 It
is
the
Holy
Spirit
to
inspire,
then,
in
my
heart
the
feeling
of
the
divine,
that
makes
us
feel
(not
 just
 know!)
 as
 children
 of
 God:
 “The
 Spirit
 itself
 bears
 witness
 with
 our
 spirit
 that
 we
 are
 children
 of
 God"
(Rom
8:I6).
Sometimes
this
fundamental
operation
of
the
Spirit
‐
the
mystics
teach
us
‐
is
realized
 in
the
life
of
a
person
suddenly
and
intensely
and
then
one
can
contemplate
its
full
splendor.
The
soul
is
 bathed
in
a
new
light
in
which
God
is
revealed
in
a
new
way,
as
Father.
One
experiences
what
it
really
 means
 God’s
 paternity;
 the
 heart
 melts
 and
 the
 person
 has
 the
 feeling
 of
 being
 reborn
 by
 the
 experience.
It
feels
a
great
confidence
and
a
sense
of
God's
compassion
never
experienced
before
that,
 sometimes,
is
alternated
by
the
vivid
feeling
of
his
infinite
greatness,
transcendence
and
holiness.
God


really
appears
as
"the
tremendous
and
fascinating
mystery"
that,
at
the
same
time,
inspires
total
trust
 and
awe.
The
prayer
of
the
Christian,
in
these
moments,
turns
to
be
an
overwhelming
gratitude.
When
 St.
Paul
speaks
of
the
moment
when
the
Spirit
breaks
into
the
heart
of
the
believer
and
makes
him
cry
 out,
"Abba
Father!",
alludes
to
this
way
of
shouting
it
out,
this
repercussion
of
the
whole
being,
of
the
 highest
degree.
Thus
was
the
case
for
Jesus
when,
in
an
outburst
of
joy
in
the
Holy
Spirit,
exclaimed:
"I
 give
 you
 praise,
 Father,
 Lord
 of
 heaven
 and
 earth"
 (Lk
 10:21).
 But
 we
 must
 not
 delude
 ourselves.
 This
 vivid
 way
 of
 knowing
 the
 Father
 usually
 does
 not
 last
 long;
 soon
 the
 believer
 is
 back
 to
 when
 he
 says
 Abba,
not
"feel"
anything,
and
just
keeps
repeating
the
word
of
Jesus.
it's
time,
then,
to
remember
that
 at
least
that
cry
makes
me
happy
those
who
pronounce
it,
all
the
more
pleasing
the
Father
who
listens
 to
it,
because
it
is
made
of
pure
faith
and
abandonment.

 A
 spiritual
 writer
 uses
 the
 following
 example.
 Beethoven
 became
 deaf,
 he
 continued
 to
 compose
 great
 symphonies
 without
 being
 able
 to
 enjoy
 the
 sound
 of
 any
 note.
 When
 his
 Ninth
 Symphony
was
performed
for
the
first
time,
as
the
hymn
to
joy
came
to
the
end,
the
audience
erupted
 in
a
storm
of
applause
and
someone
of
the
orchestra
had
to
pull
the
flap
of
the
master’s
jacket
so
that
 he
would
turn
around
to
thank.
He
had
not
tasted
any
of
his
music,
but
the
public
went
wild.
Deafness,
 rather
than
turn
off
his
music,
made
it
more
pure,
and
so
does
too
the
dryness
with
our
prayers.
It
is
 precisely
in
this
time
of
"absence"
of
God
and
of
spiritual
dryness
that
we
discover
the
importance
of
 the
 Holy
 Spirit
 in
 our
 prayer
 life.
 He,
 whom
 we
 have
 not
 seen
 and
 not
 heard,
 fills
 our
 words
 and
 our
 groans,
the
desire
for
God,
humility,
love,
“the
one
who
searches
the
hearts
knows
what
is
the
intention
 of
the
Spirit.”
We
do
not
know,
but
he
does!
The
Spirit
thus
becomes
the
strength
of
our
weak
prayers,
 the
light
of
our
turned
off
prayer,
in
a
word,
the
soul
of
our
prayer.
Really,
he
"waters
what
is
dry,”
as
we
 say
 in
 the
 sequence
 in
 his
 honor.
 All
 of
 this
 takes
 place
 by
 faith.
 It
 is
 enough
 for
 me
 to
 say
 or
 think:
 “Father,
you
have
given
me
the
Spirit
of
Jesus,
and
so
forming
one
spirit
with
Jesus,
I
recite
this
Psalm,
I
 celebrate
this
Mass,
or
I
am
just
silently
before
you.
I
want
to
give
this
glory
and
joy
that
Jesus
would
 give
you,
if
he
were
the
one
to
ask
you
in
person
from
this
earth.”

 From
all
this
emerges
the
unique
characteristic
of
Christian
prayer
which
distinguishes
it
from
all
 other
forms
of
prayer.
In
prayer,
thus,
the
two
movements
of
the
human
spirit
implemented,
which
are
 to
enter
into
our
own
self
and
to
come
out
of
our
own
self.
At
the
center
of
every
human
being
there
is
 a
point
of
unity
and
truth
which
we
call
heart,
conscience,
inner
self,
the
center
of
personality
and
other
 names.
It
is
easier
to
learn
and
get
in
touch
with
the
world
outside
of
us
that
to
reach
this
center
of
our
 own
self.
Prayer,
when
it
is
authentic,
allows
even
the
most
simple
person
to
reach
this
goal:
it
gathers
 us
 in
 unity,
 it
 puts
 us
 in
 touch
 with
 our
 deeper
 self.
 The
 person
 is
 never
 so
 much
 himself
 as
 when
 he
 prays.
But
as
soon
as
the
human
being
recollects
himself,
he
realizes
that
he
is
not
enough
to
himself,
 experiences
 the
 limit
 and
 the
 need
 to
 overcome
 it,
 to
 escape
 to
 less
 cramped
 spaces.
 Sometimes
 becomes
aware
of
what
he
is
and
this
can
even
inspire
fear...
 Prayer
is
the
only
thing
to
offer
to
the
human
being
the
possibility
to
exceed
his
limits.
It
allows
 him
to
"plunge
his
soul
in
the
infinite
that
is
God."
The
person
who
has
lived
even
a
single
moment
of
 true
 prayer,
 feels
 of
 being
 able
 to
 make
 his
 own
 the
 words
 of
 Leopardi
 (an
 Italian
 poet)
 about
 the
 Infinite:
 “The
 shipwreck
 in
 this
 sea
 is
 sweet
 for
 me."
 This
 shows
 the
 difference
 between
 the
 Christian
 prayer
 and
 the
 forms
 of
 prayer
 and
 meditation
 coming
 from
 other
 sources:
 yoga,
 transcendental
 meditation.
These
techniques
of
concentration
can
help
to
achieve
the
first
two
movements
of
prayer
‐
 the
one
toward
the
center
of
our
own
self
‐
but
they
are
powerless
to
carry
out
the
second
movement,
 from
the
ego
to
God.
For
this
contact
with
a
personal
God,
"totally
Other"
from
the
world,
we
Christians
 believe
 that
 there
 is
 no
 other
 way
 than
 the
 Spirit
 of
 Him
 who
 said:
 “No
 comes
 to
 the
 Father
 except
 through
me.”
 
 
 


"Give
me
what
you
commend"
 
 There
 is
 in
 us,
 because
 of
 all
 this,
 like
 a
 secret
 vein
 of
 prayer.
 Speaking
 of
 it,
 the
 martyr
 St.
 Ignatius
of
Antioch,
wrote:
“I
hear
inside
me
a
living
water
that
whispering
says:
Come
to
the
Father!”
 What
 is
 not
 done,
 in
 some
 countries
 afflicted
 by
 drought,
 when
 there
 is
 some
 evidence
 that
 there
 is
 water
in
the
underground,
a
vein
of
water;
they
do
not
stop
digging
until
the
vein
has
not
been
reached
 and
brought
to
the
surface.
There
are
Christians
who
go
to
the
Far
East
to
learn
how
to
pray;
they
have
 not
yet
discovered
that
through
Baptism
they
have
in
themselves
the
very
source
of
prayer.
This
interior
 vein
of
prayer,
established
by
the
presence
of
the
Spirit
of
Christ
in
us,
not
only
enlivens
the
prayer
of
 petition,
but
it
makes
it
alive
and
true
any
other
form
of
prayer:
the
prayer
of
praise,
the
spontaneous
 prayer,
 the
 Iiturgical
 prayer.
 Above
 all,
 I
 would
 say
 the
 liturgical
 one.
 In
 fact,
 when
 we
 pray
 spontaneously,
with
our
own
words,
it
is
the
spirit
that
makes
his
our
prayer;
but
when
we
pray
in
the
 words
of
the
Bible
or
of
the
liturgy,
we
make
our
own
the
prayer
of
the
Spirit,
and
it
is
a
more
secure
 thing.
The
silent
prayer
of
contemplation
and
worship
finds
an
incalculable
benefit
in
making
it
"in
the
 Spirit."
This
is
what
Jesus
called
"to
worship
the
Father
in
Spirit
and
truth"
(Jn
4:23).
The
ability
to
pray
in
 the
 Spirit
 "and
 our
 greatest
 resource.
 Many
 Christians,
 including
 those
 truly
 committed
 in
 their
 work,
 experience
 their
 powerlessness
 in
 the
 face
 of
 temptations
 and
 inability
 to
 adapt
 to
 the
 high
 needs
 of
 evangelical
 morality
 and
 conclude,
 sometimes,
 that
 is
 impossible
 to
 fully
 live
 the
 Christian
 life.
 In
 a
 sense,
they
are
right.
It
is
impossible,
in
fact,
alone,
to
avoid
sin;
we
need
grace;
but
grace
too
–
we
are
 taught
 ‐
 is
 free
 and
 we
 cannot
 earn
 it.
 What
 to
 do
 then:
 despair,
 surrender?
 The
 Council
 of
 Trent
 answers:
"God,
giving
you
the
grace,
commands
you
to
do
what
you
can
and
to
ask
what
you
cannot."
 When
one
has
done
what
he
can
and
has
not
been
successful,
still
has
a
possibility:
to
pray,
and
if
you
 have
already
prayed,
pray
again!
 The
 difference
 between
 the
 old
 and
 the
 new
 alliance
 is
 precisely
 this:
 in
 the
 law,
 God
 commands,
telling
the
man:
“Do
what
I
command
you!”
In
the
grace,
the
man
asks,
saying
to
God:
“Give
 me
what
you
command
me.”
Once
you
discovered
this
secret,
St.
Augustine,
who
until
then
had
fought
 in
vain
to
be
chaste,
changed
his
method
and
instead
of
fighting
with
his
body,
he
began
to
struggle
with
 God,
 saying:
 "O
 God,
 you
 command
 me
 to
 be
 chaste,
 well,
 give
 me
 what
 you
 command
 and
 then
 command
me
what
you
want."
He
obtained
chastity!
 
 PRIEST
THE
TEACHER
OF
PRAYER
 
 In
Novo
Millennium
Ineunte
the
pope
says
that
holiness
is
a
"gift"
which
translates
in
a
"task."
 The
 same
 can
 be
 said
 of
 prayer:
 it
 is
 a
 gift
 of
 grace,
 but
 it
 creates
 in
 those
 who
 receive
 it
 a
 duty
 to
 respond
 to
 it,
 to
 cultivate
 it.
 I
 would
 like
 to
 deal
 with
 this
 in
 the
 second
 part
 of
 this
 meditation:
prayer
as
the
primary
task
of
the
priest.

 If
 the
 Christian
 communities
 must
 be
 schools
 of
 prayer,
 the
 priests
 who
 lead
 them
 must,
 therefore,
be
teachers
of
prayer.
I
cannot,
in
this
regard,
withhold
a
lament.
One
day
the
apostles
said
to
 Jesus:
“Teach
us
to
pray."
Today
many
Christians
are
quietly
presenting
to
the
priest
and
to
the
Church
 the
same
request:
“Teach
us
to
pray."
Unfortunately,
in
many
parishes
around
us,
there
are
initiatives
of
 all
 kinds,
 for
 young
 people,
 senior
 citizens,
 sports
 groups,
 field
 trips,
 free
 time...
 but
 nothing
 that
 encourages
and
helps
people
to
pray.
Often
those
who
feel
this
need
for
spirituality
are
induced
to
look
 outside
 of
 Christ,
 in
 oriental
 and
 esoteric
 forms
 of
 spirituality
 of
 which
 above
 
 I
 have
 emphasized
 the
 intrinsic
limits
for
a
Christian.
"Is
it
not
the
sign
of
the
times
‐
continues
the
pope
in
his
apostolic
letter
‐
 “that
in
today's
world,
despite
widespread
secularization,
there
is
a
widespread
demand
for
spirituality,
 a
demand
which
expresses
itself
in
large
part
as
a
renewed
need
for
prayer?
Other
religions,
which
are
 now
 widely
 present
 in
 ancient
 Christian
 lands,
 offer
 their
 own
 responses
 to
 this
 need,
 and
 sometimes
 they
do
so
in
appealing
ways.
But
we
who
have
received
the
grace
of
believing
in
Christ,
the
revealer
of


the
Father
and
the
Saviour
of
the
world,
have
a
duty
to
show
to
what
depths
the
relationship
with
Christ
 can
lead.”
(#
33)
 Nobody
can
teach
others
to
pray
if
he
is
not
a
man
of
prayer
and
here
we
touch
the
focal
point.
 We
remember
what
Peter
says
at
the
first
allocation
of
ministries
made
within
the
Christian
community:
 “It
is
not
right
for
us
to
neglect
the
word
of
God
to
serve
at
table.
Brothers,
select
from
among
you
seven
 reputable
men,
filled
with
the
Spirit
and
wisdom,
whom
we
shall
appoint
to
this
task,
whereas
we
shall
 devote
ourselves
to
prayer
and
to
the
ministry
of
the
word."
(Acts
6:2‐4).
This
suggests
that
the
parish
 priest
can
delegate
to
others
all
or
nearly
all
activities,
in
leading
the
community,
except
prayer.
It
can
 be
of
great
help
to
a
parish
priest
in
this
area,
to
be
surrounded
by
what
St.
Catherine
of
Siena
called
a
 "wall
of
prayer
"
formed
by
souls
longing
for
the
good
of
the
Church.
We
have
an
example
in
the
Acts
of
 the
Apostles:
Peter
and
John
are
released
by
the
Sanhedrin
with
the
injunction
not
to
speak
in
the
name
 of
 Christ.
 If
 they
 ignore
 the
 command
 expose
 the
 entire
 community
 to
 retaliation,
 if
 they
 obey
 the
 mandate
they
betray
Christ’s
mandate.
They
do
not
know
what
to
do.
It
is
the
prayer
of
the
community
 that
will
overcome
the
 crisis.
The
community
gathers
in
prayer;
it
results
in
a
climate
of
intense
faith;
 there
is
almost
a
replica
of
Pentecost,
and
the
apostles,
filled
with
the
Holy
Spirit,
return
to
proclaim
the
 message
of
salvation
(cf
Acts
4:23‐31).
 
 PASTORAL
PRAYER
AND
ACTION
 
 One
 thing
 above
 all
 is
 necessary
 to
 renew
 in
 the
 life
 of
 the
 priest,
 that
 is,
 the
 relationship
 between
prayer
and
action.

 We
 must
 move
 from
 a
 relationship
 of
 juxtaposition
 to
 one
 of
 subordination.
 Juxtaposition
 is
 when
we
first
pray
and
then
we
plunge
into
the
pastoral
activities;
subordination
is
when
we
first
pray
 and
then
do
what
the
Lord
has
shown
in
prayer!
The
apostles
and
saints
did
not
just
pray
before
doing
 something,
they
prayed
to
know
what
to
do!
Prayer
and
action
for
Jesus
were
not
two
separate
things,
 or
juxtaposed;
at
night
he
prayed
and
then
during
the
day
he
performed
what
he
understood
to
be
the
 will
 of
 the
 Father:
 “In
 Those
 Days
 Jesus
 departed
 to
 the
 mountain
 to
 pray,
 and
 he
 Spent
 the
 night
 in
 prayer
to
God.
When
Day
Came,
He
Called
Himself
to
His
disciples,
and
he
chose
Twelve
from
Them,
Also
 Whom
he
named
apostles"
(Lk
6:12‐13).
If
we
really
believe
that
God
governs
the
Church
with
his
Spirit
 and
 answers
 our
 prayers,
 we
 should
 take
 very
 seriously
 the
 prayer
 before
 a
 pastoral
 meeting,
 an
 important
decision;
do
not
be
content
to
act
in
haste
with
a
Hail
Mary
and
a
sign
of
the
cross
and
then
 move
to
the
order
to
the
day,
as
if
this
was
the
real
serious
thing.
Sometimes
it
seems
that
everything
 continues
 as
 before
 and
 that
 no
 answer
 has
 emerged
 from
 prayer,
 but
 it
 is
 not
 so.
 Praying
 we
 have
 "presented
 the
 matter
 to
 God"
 (cf
 Ex
 18:19),
 we
 have
 stripped
 ourselves
 of
 any
 personal
 interest
 and
 claim
to
decide
for
ourselves,
we
have
given
to
God
the
opportunity
to
speak,
to
make
us
understand
 what
his
will
is.
Whatever
decision
you
will
take
later
will
be
right
before
God.
 Often
we
experience
that
the
more
time
we
devote
to
prayer
on
an
issue,
much
less
then
is
the
 time
it
takes
to
solve
it.
Many
priests
can
testify
that
their
lives
and
their
ministry
have
changed
from
 the
moment
they
decided
to
put
an
hour
of
personal
prayer
in
their
daily
schedule,
fencing
with
barbed
 wire,
 so
 to
 say,
 this
 time
 on
 their
 agenda
 to
 protect
 it
 from
 everyone
 and
 everything.
 The
 prayer
 of
 intercession
 must
 occupy
 a
 special
 place
 in
 the
 life
 of
 the
 priest.
 Jesus
 gives
 the
 example
 with
 his
 "priestly
prayer":
“I
pray
for
them,
for
those
who
have
given
me
...

I
pray
for
the
ones
You
have
given
 me...
Keep
them
in
your
name...
I
do
not
ask
that
you
take
them
out
of
the
world
but
that
You
keep
them
 from
the
evil
one...
consecrate
them
in
the
truth.
Your
word
is
truth...
I
pray
not
only
for
them,
but
also
 for
those
who
will
believe
in
me
through
their
word
"(cf.
Jn
17:9
ff).
 Jesus
 devotes
 relatively
 little
 space
 to
 pray
 for
 himself
 ("Father,
 glorify
 your
 son!")
 and
 much
 more
to
pray
for
others,
that
is,
to
intercede.
God
is
merciful
as
a
father
who
has
the
duty
to
punish,
but
 looks
for
all
possible
excuses
not
to
do
it,
and
is
happy
in
his
heart,
when
the
brothers
of
the
guilty
hold


him
 back
 from
 do
 it.
 If
 you
 lack
 these
 brotherly
 arms
 raised
 toward
 him,
 he
 complains
 about
 it
 in
 Scripture:
"He
saw
that
there
was
no
one,
and
was
appalled
that
there
was
none
to
intervene"
(Is
59:16).
 Ezekiel
gives
us
this
complain
by
God:
“I
have
searched
among
them
for
someone
who
could
build
a
wall
 or
stand
in
the
breach
before
me
to
keep
me
from
destroying
the
land;
but
I
found
no
one”
(Ez
22:30).
A
 spiritual
author
writes:
When,
in
prayer,
we
priests
feel
that
God
is
in
mad
with
the
people
entrusted
to
 him,
we
should
not
side
with
God,
but
with
the
people!
So
did
Moses,
even
protesting
that
he
wanted
 himself
to
be
struck
with
them
from
the
book
of
life
(cf.
Ex
32:32),
and
the
Bible
makes
it
clear
that
this
 was
exactly
what
God
wanted,
for
he
“abandoned
the
idea
to
harm
the
people.”
 When
we
are
before
the
people,
then
we
must,
with
all
power,
defend
the
rights
of
God.
Only
 those
who
have
defended
the
people
before
God
and
bore
the
weight
of
his
sin,
has
the
right
‐
and
will
 have
 the
 courage
 ‐
 after,
 of
 yell
 at
 them
 in
 defense
 of
 God.
 When,
 coming
 down
 from
 the
 mountain,
 Moses
found
himself
in
front
the
people
he
had
defended
on
the
mountain,
then
he
was
inflamed
by
his
 wrath:
 he
 destroyed
 the
 golden
 calf,
 he
 scattered
 the
 powder
 into
 the
 water
 and
 made
 the
 people
 swallow
the
water,
crying
out:
“Is
the
LORD
to
be
thus
repaid
by
you,
O
stupid
and
foolish
people?”
(cf.
 Ex
32:19ss.;
Dt
32:6).
 I
 have
 mentioned
 some
 "duties"
 of
 the
 priest
 about
 prayer,
 but
 I
 would
 not
 want
 the
 idea
 of
 duty
to
be
the
one
to
remain
as
the
dominant
note
at
the
end
of
this
reflection,
making
us
forget
that
it
 is
 above
 all
 a
 gift.
 If
 we
 feel
 to
 be
 way
 below
 this
 model
 of
 the
 priest
 "a
 man
 of
 prayer,"
 let
 us
 never
 forget
a
St.
Paul’s
assurance:
“The
Holy
Spirit
comes
to
the
help
of
our
weakness."
Armed
with
this
word,
 we
can
begin
our
prayer
every
morning
saying:
“Holy
Spirit
come
to
the
aid
of
my
weakness.
Make
me
 pray.
You
pray
in
me,
with
inexpressible
groanings.
I
say
Amen,
yes
to
everything
that
you
ask
for
me
to
 the
Father
in
the
name
of
Jesus."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


FR.
GENERAL’S
HOMILY
(April
23,
2010)


Dear
brother,
dear
devotees
of
St.
Francis
Xavier
M.
Bianchi,
the
prayer
that
the
liturgy
 of
the
Church
uttered
to
the
Lord
in
remembrance
of
St.
Francis
Xavier
M.
Bianchi,
highlights
a
 central
 and
 significant
 aspect
 of
 his
 holiness,
 kindness
 and
 friendship
 and
 amiability:
 these
 qualities
were
in
fact
the
most
powerful
weapons
to
attract
souls
to
God
in
his
activities
as
a
 priest
 and
 apostle;
 in
 him
 the
 sweetness
 of
 God’s
 love
 had
 become
 a
 habit,
 the
 style
 of
 his
 behavior
that
helped
him
to
attract
people
to
the
Lord.

 This
 trait
 of
 his
 personality
 is
 well
 documented
 in
 the
 biography
 of
 the
 saint:
 the
 reception
of
sinners,
in
the
exercise
of
the
Sacrament
of
Penance,
in
the
spiritual
direction,
in
 responding
to
the
needs,
also
material,
of
those
coming
to
him.
 An
 amiability
 we
 see
 very
 well
 exercised
 in
 his
 religious
 life
 in
 contact
 with
 the
 confreres,
especially
in
carrying
on
his
duties
as
a
superior,
when
he
was
called
to
this
task
in
 some
of
the
communities.
 We
are
told
that
St.
Francis
Mary
was
certainly
helped
by
what
we
call
a
good
character:
 good,
 generous,
 patient,
 but
 this
 does
 not
 diminish
 the
 contribution
 of
 his
 conscious
 cooperation
with
the
grace
of
God
and
the
awareness
of
how
important
it
was
for
a
priest,
but
 not
only
for
a
priest,
that
amiability
in
the
relationship
with
people
immediately
communicates
 trust,
confidence
and
a
generous
correspondence.
 St.
Francis
Bianchi
invites
us
to
emphasize
this
first
point
in
the
life
of
our
communities,
 already
 made
 difficult
 and
 heavy,
 at
 times,
 by
 the
 problems
 of
 age,
 health
 and
 various
 annoyances;
but
the
same
goes
for
any
other
type
of
cohabitation:
the
family,
the
workplace,
 and
society.
Amiability,
we
know,
sometime,
humanly
speaking,
does
not
pay,
but
it
is
not
less
 important
and
decisive
in
our
choice
of
life
as
a
testimony
of
the
Lord's
love
who
reaches
out
to
 others
through
us.
Let
us
remember
this,
and
let
us
not
fail
to
invoke
our
saint.
 A
 second
 message
 of
 St.
 Francis
 Maria
 comes
 to
 us
 from
 his
 long
 experience
 with
 suffering
and
pain,
including
physical,
who
accompanied
him
for
so
many
years
of
its
existence.
 Comes
 natural
 here
 an
 immediate
 reference
 to
 many
 of
 our
 families
 or
 religious
 communities:
family
members
or
confreres
who
are
sick
and
in
pain,
who
live
their
condition
 not
only
with
great
dignity,
but
also
with
a
great
spirit
of
faith
and
union
with
the
Lord.
On
one
 hand,
they
are
a
great
example
for
us
all,
and
on
the
other,
they
tell
us
what
respect,
what
love,
 what
welcome
we
must
give
them
in
the
name
of
Christ.
Truly
the
crucified
Lord
is
present
than
 in
these
suffering
brothers
and
on
our
part
we
must
welcome
them
as
we
would
Jesus
himself.
 Once
again
we
want
look
up
to
our
Saint,
a
champion
of
suffering
who
comes
close
to
the
Lord,
 of
 a
 suffering
 that
 sanctifies
 because
 introduces
 into
 the
 mystery
 of
 the
 suffering
 Christ
 and
 Savior,
who
out
of
love
did
not
pull
back
from
the
most
difficult
and
painful
experiences.
 Finally,
I
appeal
especially
to
you,
dear
brother
priests,
to
reflect
on
another
aspect
of
 the
 sanctity
 of
 St.
 Francis
 Bianchi:
 his
 experience
 as
 a
 spiritual
 director
 and
 confessor,
 tasks
 exercised
 with
 great
 availability
 for
 of
 all
 classes
 of
 people:
 souls
 spiritual
 elected
 and
 of
 exemplary
holiness,
politicians,
ordinary
people,
etc..

 His
 concern
 was
 to
 form
 people,
 help
 them
 to
 grow
 in
 their
 vocation,
 and
 to
 walk
 in
 holiness
lived
out
in
the
environment
and
activities
specific
to
each.
We
have
to
admit,
by
our
 own
experience,
that
today
these
ministries
are
in
crisis
and
need
to
find
meaning
and
revival
in
 our
Christian
communities.
We
entrust
our
Saint
the
resolutions,
the
initiatives
that
can
help
in


the
performance
of
these
difficult
but
fruitful
ministry,
especially
among
the
young
people,
in
 the
parishes,
the
schools,
with
groups
and
movements
entrusted
to
us.
 In
 conclusion,
 we
 are
 amazed
 and
 pleased
 that
 St.
 Francis
 Bianchi
 has
 accepted
 as
 a
 priest
 and
 consecrated
 person,
 so
 many
 invitations
 by
 the
 Lord
 in
 his
 time,
 and
 did
 corresponded
with
the
entire
charge
of
his
personality,
his
character
and
his
faith.
Even
for
us
 today,
 in
 our
 vocation
 and
 our
 life
 choices,
 challenges
 and
 similar
 proposals
 emerge;
 may
 please
the
Lord,
with
the
help
of
our
Saint,
to
enlighten
our
minds
and
warm
our
hearts
as
we
 follow
Him
generously.