Blog Post - June 25th
S. William of Vercelli| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Today in the Latin Calendar we celebrate the Feast Day of S. William of Vercelli, Abbot. A story about this Feast Day can be found by Clicking Here.
St. William of Vercelli is honored as a saint who was a leader in monastic life — both because he established a number of monasteries and because his rigorous discipline, prayer, and fasting were an example for many monks.
He was born in 1085 in northern Italy. When he was an infant, both of his parents died and he was raised by extended family. He must have had an uncommon connection to the divine because at the age of 14 he left his home and family and set out on pilgrimage to the Santiago de Compostela in Spain — he even fastened two iron bands around his body as extra mortification.
Not much else of his youth is known. As an adult, he returned to Italy and lived as a hermit on a mountainside, and became locally famous for healing a blind man. To escape the acclaim, he left the area and went to stay with another hermit, St. John of Matera, and the two became close friends.
William intended to continue on to Jerusalem as a poor pilgrim, but John had a sense that God was calling William to something else. William departed, but was mugged by robbers, and took that event as a sign that his friend was right.
He went to live on a mountain named after the ancient poet Virgil, and a number of priests and lay men joined him. He formed them into a community and built a church there, naming it after Mary in 1124. The mountain became known as Monte Vergine after that — and still is called that today. The monastery is still there as well, part of the Benedictine congregation.
A colorful legend tells of William building the church on Monte Vergine himself with only a donkey to help him. One night a wolf killed and ate the donkey. William scolded the wolf, and ordered it to take the donkey’s place. Sensing it had interfered with a divine plan, the wolf obeyed and began hauling loads of stone for the saint.
After forming the community on Monte Vergine, William appointed an abbot and left with a few followers and his friend, John. He established another monastery in a nearby region. Again, after it had taken root, he appointed an abbot and went on to found other communities.
The king of Naples asked William to join his court because he wanted William’s advice. Some of the king’s courtiers distrusted and disliked William, and they set a trap for him. They sent to his room a prostitute to lure him into sin. When she entered the room, William is said to have walked to the fireplace, laid down in the coals, and invited her to lay with him there.
The woman was horrified, but was amazed when William rose from the hearth unharmed. The story goes that she converted on the spot and entered a convent.
St. William died on this date in 1142, and his relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica.
St. William of Vercelli, you traveled through Spain as a 14-year-old pilgrim, and grew up to lead monasteries -- pray for us!
A Battle of Wills:
We sometimes fight God's plan when it challenges our own. Emotional attachment to our plans--or emotional resistance to God's-- can obscure the wisdom of His ways.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
The fears that arise, as to whether you spent your time in the presence of God well or otherwise, are without foundation. And dwelling on this is a true waste of time that could be used for holier and more fruitful matters.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Two: 112-188
We now enter into Notebook Two of the six notebooks that make up the Diary of Saint Faustina. The reason for having more than one notebook is simply that when one notebook was filled by Saint Faustina she began with a new one. Therefore, there is nothing particularly different from one notebook to the other. However, for the purpose of this current book of daily reflections, each reflection will begin to be lengthened, starting here with Notebook Two, so as to help you, the reader, enter more deeply into the beautiful mysteries of faith and our shared spiritual life that have been revealed in these writings of Saint Faustina.
You are invited once again to take one reflection each day and to ponder it throughout the day. Try to pray the prayer for each reflection each morning, noon and evening. Allow each mystery reflected upon to become a source of wisdom and understanding for you.
Reflection 176: Combating the Sin of the World
When God looks at the world, what does He see? Most certainly He sees the beauty of His creation, the perfect order of His design and the presence of His sons and daughters. But He also sees the horror of the multitude of sins. Even the slightest sin or imperfection cannot escape His sight. Imagine trying to take in the sins of the world with one glance. But in His perfect Mercy He allows Himself to be consoled by those humble and holy souls who are specially chosen by Him. Yes, all people are chosen, but certain souls respond to the heights of holiness more than others, and in so doing, combat the evils of our world in a powerful way. This is one of the unique callings of those living in the cloistered religious life, hidden from the world with a single focus on interior conversion. We may not see the benefit to such holy souls, but God does and His wrath is turned into Mercy, especially on account of these and all holy souls (See Diary #926).
Reflect upon the fact that you are one of these chosen souls. You may not be called to the hidden life of a cloister, but you are called to achieve great sanctity. As God sees the holiness of your life, His justice is satisfied and His Mercy flows forth. Though the things you say, the thoughts you have and the prayers you pray may never be known by another, God who sees all things sees your heart and the holiness that you achieve in life. This holiness will do more than all the words and actions you could ever accomplish on your own. You are a chosen soul. Fulfill that mission and you will become a powerful instrument of the Mercy of God.
Lord, I thank You for choosing me for holiness. I accept this calling and seek to serve You with my whole heart. My life is Yours, dear Lord, do with me what You Will. Jesus, I trust in You.