Blog Post - July 18th
S. Camillus de Lellis| S. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)
Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excesive love for gambling. At 17 he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years. Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, he gambled away everything he had–savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He entered the Capuchin movitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.
Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, and has been named, along with St. John of God, patron of hospitals, nurses and the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, he left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.
Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. He insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.
He himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.
A doctor in Philadelphia is a modern-day Camillus. An AP news story reports that the 31-year-old bachelor does not have an office, and gave up a lucrative health center job to treat the chronically ill in the inner city who cannot get to a clinic. He limits his practice to house calls in that inner city neighborhood.
Saints are created by God. Parents must indeed nurture the faith in their children; husbands and wives must cooperate to deepen their baptismal grace; friends must support each other. But all human effort is only the dispensing of divine power. We must all "try" as if everything depended on us. But only the power of God can fulfill the plan of God–to make us like himself.
Patron Saint of:
Also today, in the Latin Calendar we commemorate S. Symphorosa and her Seven Sons, Martyrs.
St. Symphorosa, Martyr, at Tivoli, along with Her Sons Commemorated on July 18
St. Symphorosa lived in the second century and was the widow of St. Getulius. She is commemorated together with their sons, Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justin, Stracteus and Eugene.
Her husband, St. Getulius, was a native of Gabii in Sabina. He was an officer in the Roman army, but resigned upon being baptized a Christian, ultimately retiring to his estate near Tivoli. Caerealis, an imperial legate, was sent to arrest him, but was converted to Christianity by St. Getulius. Another officer, Primitivus, was sent to arrest Getulius, but he was also converted.
Upon the orders of Emperor Hadrian, the men were tied to a stake and set alight. The fire did not harm them, so they were brutally clubbed and then beheaded. St. Symphorosa buried their remains in an arenarium on their estate.
Shortly after her husband’s martyrdom, St. Symphorosa and her seven sons were brought before Emperor Hadrian who demanded that they worship the pagan gods. Refusing, St. Symphorosa received a martyr’s crown when, after various tortures, she was thrown into the Anio River with a heavy rock fastened to her neck. Her brother took her remains and buried them alongside her martyred husband.
Each of her sons suffered a different kind of martyrdom: Crescens was pierced through the throat, Julian through the breast, Nemesius through the heart, Primitivus was wounded at the navel, Justinus was pierced through the back, Stracteus was wounded in the side, and Eugenius was cleft in two from top to bottom. Their bodies were thrown into a deep ditch from which they were ultimately recovered by the Christian community.
Getulius’ relics were ultimately moved to Rome, and are in the principal altar of the Church of St. Angelo.
In 752, the relics of St. Symphorosa and her seven sons were also transferred to the Church of St. Angelo in Rome. In 1587, the relics were enclosed in a marble sarcophagus.
Reflection of Christ:
One of the most effective ways to show people how faith brings true freedom is through the witness-value of devoting one's life to the lonely, marginalized or rejected, precisely because the face of Christ is reflected in these people.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
If our staying firmly on our feet depended on us, undoubtedly we would fall into the hands of the enemy of our salvation at the slightest breeze.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236
We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!
Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.
The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!
Reflection 199: Unity with Jesus is Unity with Others
The Church is glorious for many reasons. One glorious aspect of the Church is the unity found within it. It’s true that there is, at times, much internal disunity, hurt and disorder of every kind. But these are not qualities of the Church. These are the effects of the sins of Her members. The Church Herself is the Spotless Bride of Christ. And the more we enter into union with Christ Jesus, the more fully we are a member of this glorious Church. By uniting ourselves to Christ we unite ourselves to the Holy Father. And by uniting ourselves to the Holy Father, we unite ourselves to St. Peter, all the Apostles and all the saints who are living and in Heaven. We become mystically united with Christians throughout the world and our prayer and adoration of God becomes one song of praise rising to the glory of Heaven. And as we unite ourselves, through our unity with Christ, we receive the overabundance of Mercy from God making us one (See Diary #1044).
Do you see yourself as a member of the one Body of Christ? Do you understand that you are called to share in the unity that comes from your union with Him? Loving Jesus with your whole mind, heart, soul and strength brings about a profound love for others. If it does not, then it is not authentic love of God. Reflect upon the effect that your love of God has on your relationship with others. Let your love of God affect you in such a way that you discover an outpouring of love for all people, especially those within the Church. And let that love reveal the deep bond of unity that is established as a result. Unity is glorious. It is a central blessing flowing from the Church and a sign of the Mercy of God.
Lord, help me to always live in union with You and with others. May my love for You overflow into my love for others, especially those who are members of Your Church. I love You, dear Lord, and I trust in You.