Daily Saints

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) May 25th – Venerable Bede, St. Gregory VII & St. Maria Magdalen

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) May 25th – Venerable Bede, St. Gregory VII & St. Maria Magdalen

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അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) May 25th – St. Venerable Bede, St. Pope Gregory VII & St. Maria magdalen Dei Pazzi

St. Venerable Bede
Bede was born near St. Peter and St. Paul monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow, England. He was sent there when he was three and educated by Abbots Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrid. He became a monk at the monastery, was ordained when thirty, and except for a few brief visits elsewhere, spent all of his life in the monastery, devoting himself to the study of Scripture and to teaching and writing. He is considered one of the most learned men of his time and a major influence on English literature. His writings are a veritable summary of the learning of his time and include commentaries on the Pentateuch and various other books of the Bible, theological and scientific treatises, historical works, and biographies. His best-known work is HISTORIA ECCLESIASTICA, a history of the English Church and people, which he completed in 731. It is an account of Christianity in England up to 729 and is a primary source of early English history. Called “the Venerable” to acknowledge his wisdom and learning, the title was formalized at the Council of Aachen in 853. He was a careful scholar and distinguished stylist, the “father” of English history, the first to date events anno domini (A.D.), and in 1899, was declared the only English doctor of the Church. He died in Wearmouth-Jarrow on May 25. His feast day is May 25th.

St. Pope Gregory VII
Gregory VII Born Hildebrand c. 1020 in Tuscany, Pope/St. Gregory VII was one of the great church reformers. Educated in Rome, Hildebrand was chaplain to Gregory VI, whose exile he shared. When Gregory VI died in 1047, Hildebrand entered a monastery where he remained until Leo IX called him to Rome to serve as treasurer of the church. Elected pope in 1073, Hildebrand took the name Gregory in honor of St. Gregory the Great and began to institute reforms against simony, clerical marriage (and/or unchastity), and lay investiture. The same year, he issued the Dictatus papae, which proclaimed the supremacy of the pope and avowed that the pope inherited the personal sanctity of St. Peter. Gregory’s opposition to lay investiture led to conflict with Emperor Henry IV, who deposed Gregory at the Synod of Worms in 1076. Gregory promptly excommunicated Henry. The two were reconciled in 1077 at Canossa but had another falling out three years later. When Henry captured Rome in 1084, Robert Guiscard rescued the pope, who later fled to Monte Cassino to escape a popular rebellion against Guiscard. Gregory died in Salerno in 1085, and Paul V canonized him in 1606.

St. Maria Magdalen dei Pazzi
It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God gave this saint, rather than on her life. In fact, it would be difficult to do differently, so overwhelming were those gifts from God. The temptation for many modern readers (including the author) would be to see little to identify with in these graces and walk away without seeing more. The other temptation would be to become so fascinated with these stories that one would neglect to dig deeper and learn the real lessons of her life.

But Mary Magdalene de Pazzi is not a saint because she received ecstasies and graces from God. Many have received visions, ecstasies, and miracles without becoming holy. She is a saint because of her response to those gifts — a lifelong struggle to show love and gratitude to the God who gave her those graces.

In fact Mary Magdalene saw her ecstasies as evidence of a great fault in her, not a reward for holiness. She told one fellow sister that God did not give this sister the same graces “because you don’t need them in order to serve him.” In her eyes, God gave these gifts to those who were too weak to become holy otherwise. That Mary Magdalene received these gifts proved, in her mind, how unworthy she was.

Born in Florence on April 2, 1566, Mary Magdalene (baptized Catherine) was taught mental prayer when she was nine years old at the request of her mother. Her introduction at this age to this form of prayer which involves half an hour of meditation did not seem to be unusual. And yet today we often believe children incapable of all but the simplest rote prayers.

At twelve years old she experienced her first ecstasy while looking at a sunset which left her trembling and speechless.

With this foundation in prayer and in mystical experience, it isn’t surprising that she wanted to enter a contemplative monastery of the Carmelite Order. She chose the monastery of St. Mary’s of the Angels because the nuns took daily Communion, unusual at the time.

In 1583 she had her second mystical experience when the other nuns saw her weeping before the crucifix as she said, “O Love, you are neither known nor loved.”

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