St. Lawrence of Brindisi
At first glance perhaps the most remarkable quality of Lawrence of Brindisi is his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish and French.
He was born on July 22, 1559, and died exactly 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. His parents William and Elizabeth Russo gave him the name of Julius Caesar, Caesare in Italian. After the early death of his parents, he was educated by his uncle at the College of St. Mark in Venice.
When he was just 16 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name of Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest at 23.
With his facility for languages he was able to study the Bible in its original texts. At the request of Pope Clement VIII, he spent much time preaching to the Jews in Italy. So excellent was his knowledge of Hebrew, the rabbis felt sure he was a Jew who had become a Christian.
In 1956 the Capuchins completed a 15-volume edition of his writings. Eleven of these 15 contain his sermons, each of which relies chiefly on scriptural quotations to illustrate his teaching.
Lawrence’s sensitivity to the needs of people—a character trait perhaps unexpected in such a talented scholar—began to surface. He was elected major superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at the age of 31. He had the combination of brilliance, human compassion and administrative skill needed to carry out his duties. In rapid succession he was promoted by his fellow Capuchins and was elected minister general of the Capuchins in 1602. In this position he was responsible for great growth and geographical expansion of the Order.
Lawrence was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker, a job which took him to a number of foreign countries. An effort to achieve peace in his native kingdom of Naples took him on a journey to Lisbon to visit the king of Spain. Serious illness in Lisbon took his life in 1619.
His constant devotion to Scripture, coupled with great sensitivity to the needs of people, present a lifestyle which appeals to Christians today. Lawrence had a balance in his life that blended self-discipline with a keen appreciation for the needs of those whom he was called to serve.
“God is love, and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing his love outside himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of his goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for his own sake. For him all things were created and to him all things must be subject, and God loves all creatures in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature, and the whole of humanity as well as the created world finds its foundation and meaning in him. Moreover, this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned” (St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Universal Church, Capuchin Educational Conference, Washington, D.C.).
Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate S. Praxedes, Virgin.
SAINT PRAXEDES, VIRGIN, MARTYR
Saint Praxedes is a martyr, born in the second century. Very little is known of her. The seventh-century itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs mention in the catacomb of Priscilla two female martyrs called Potentiana (Potenciana) and Praxedes (Praxidis). They occupied adjoining graves in this catacomb (De Rossi, “Roma sott.”, 1, 176-7). Of the various manuscripts of the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” only the Echternach Codex (Cod. Eptern.) gives the name of St. Praxedes on 21 July (“Martyrol. Hieronym.”, ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 94), but it looks like a later addition, and not as if it came from the fourth-century Roman Martyrology. Praxedes and Pudentiana were venerated as martyrs at Rome. Later legends connect them with the founder of the old title-church of Rome, “titulus Pudentis“, called also the “ecclesia Pudentiana“.
Legend makes Pudens a pupil of St. Peter, and Praxedes and Potentiana, his daughters. Later Potentiana became customarily known as “Pudentiana”, probably because the “ecclesia Pudentiana” was designated as “eccl. sanctae Pudentianae” and Pudentiana was identified with Potentiana. The two female figures offering their crowns to Christ in the mosaic of the apse in St. Pudentiana are probably Potentiana and Praxedes. The veneration of these martyrs therefore was in the fourth century connected in a particular manner with the “Titulus Pudentis”. About that time a new church, “titulus Praxedis“, was built near Santa Maria Maggiore, and the veneration of St. Praxedes was now especially connected with it. When Paschal I (817-824) rebuilt the church in its present form he translated to it the bones of Sts. Praxedes, Potentiana, and other martyrs.
Saint Praxedes and Saint Potentiana lived in those early years of the Church, at a time of extreme Christian persecution. They hid Christians in their homes and visited the imprisioned. They even gathered the bodies of the dead after they were brutalized in the Coliesuum, and hid them in a well until they could be properly buried. St. Praxedes is often depicted in art with a sponge soaked in blood; recalling how they cared for the precious blood of the martyrs after their awful executions.
As we go about in our world, let us follow St. Clare's advice to bless God for every tree, every flower, every creature, every neighbor, and, yes, God's very presence within our own souls.-- S. Clare of Assisi
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Your will is molested, agitated by its own affections and passions, but you ... do not consent to them, except very rarely, and even then you are not aware of it.
You will recognise that you have love if
(Jesus speaks to St. Faustina)
"Have great love for those who cause you suffering. Do good to those who hate you". I answered, 'O my Master, You see very well that I feel no love for them, and that troubles me'.
Jesus answered, "It is not always within your power to control your feelings. You will recognise that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well". - (Diary No. 1628)