Blog Post - May 20th
S. Bernardine of Siena| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Bernardine of Siena
Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.
He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.”
Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.
When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God’s will for him.
At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.
Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine’s holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.
General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.
At Bologna, Bernardine preached mightily against the evils of gambling. As was the custom, a huge bonfire was made in the public square, to be a holocaust consuming all the instruments of vice—playing cards, dice and the like. A manufacturer of playing cards complained that Bernardine was taking away his livelihood The saint told him to start making the symbol IHS, and he made more money than ever before.
Another dynamic saint once said, “...I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours, but you.... I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes” (2 Corinthians 12:14). There is danger that we see only the whirlwind of activity in the Bernardines of faith—taking care of the sick, preaching, studying, administering, always driving—and forget the source of their energy. We should not say that Bernardine could have been a great contemplative if he had had the chance. He had the chance, every day, and he took it.
Patron Saint of:
Gambling, compulsive behavior
Love as God Does:
The marriage-affirmimg mind-set is about completely loving the personhood of your spouse for the simple reason that that is how God loves that person. It is a decision on your part to love your spouse no matter what and to love in an active way.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Be careful, above all, of charity toward God, your neighbor and yourself.
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 140: Being Misunderstood
In your relations with others, do you sometimes feel misunderstood? It could be by a close family member, a friend, a coworker, etc. The problem is that the content of your mind, heart, will, intention, and all of your past experiences are what go into directing your actions. And no one understands all of this except God. We do not even fully understand what we do and why we do it most of the time. As a result, it is easy for others to fail to understand us and what takes place within us. It can also be easy for others to misunderstand us and even judge us. This can be hard to take but we must not let it bother us. Instead, we must direct our concern only to that which our Lord thinks. His Mind and His judgment are all that matters. And the misunderstanding we may experience at times from others must be seen as an act of the permissive Will of our Lord, primarily to test and strengthen our Mercy for others (See Diary #700).
Can you think of a time in which you recently experienced the misunderstanding of another? If so, rather than letting yourself become angry or hurt over this, allow it to test the depths of your own merciful heart. Accept this humiliation with grace and give thanks to God that He has permitted you to share in the same act of misunderstanding and judgment that He took upon Himself. In this, you are blessed to be invited to share in the distribution of His Divine Mercy.
Lord, give me a merciful heart. When I am misunderstood, help me to accept this as an opportunity for grace, forgiveness and Mercy. Thank You for loving me enough to allow me to endure such a test. I give myself to You, dear Lord, so that You can work in and through me to be a witness of all that You endured. Jesus, I trust in You.