Feast of Blessed Ivan Merz (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ivan Merz

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED IVAN MERZ (OCTOBER 16, 1896-MAY 10, 1928)

Croatian Roman Catholic Intellectual

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Catholic faith is my life vocation.

–Blessed Ivan Merz

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Blessed Ivan Merz was a man who, according to people who knew him well, was in nearly perpetual union with God–in a state of prayer, simply put.  He, born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary, on October 16, 1896, became an academic.  Our saint began his studies at Banja Luka before he attended the military academy at Wiener Neustadt.  Then, in 1915, Merz matriculated at the University of Vienna.  In March 1916, however, our saint enlisted in the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  While fighting in Italy, Merz placed his future in God’s hands.  He made a vow of perpetual chastity in February 1918.  At that time he wrote in his diary:

Never forget God!  Always desire to be united with Him.  Begin each day in the first place with meditation and prayer, possibly close to the Blessed Sacrament or during Mass.  During this time, plans for the day are made, one’s defects are put under examination and grace is implored for the strength to overcome all weakness.  It would be something terrible if this war had no meaning for me!…I must begin a life regenerated in the spirit of this new understanding of Catholicism.  The Lord alone can help me, as man can do nothing on his own.

–February 5, 1918

Merz resumed his studies after World War I.  He studied at Vienna (1919-1920), Paris (1920-1922), and Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia (1922-1923), earning his doctorate in philosophy.  The title of his dissertation was “The Influence of the Liturgy on French Authors.”  Our saint went on to become Professor of Language and French Literature at the University of Zagreb.  In his spare time he studied philosophy as well as documents of the Catholic Magisterium.

Merz also had an active interest in the Christian formation of the young.  He founded the League of Young Croatian Catholics and, within the Catholic Action movement in Croatia, the Croatian League of Eagles.

Merz died of natural causes at Zabreb on May 10, 1928.  He was 31 years old.  Our saint had offered his suffering to God.

Pope John Paul II declared Merz a Venerable in 2002 then a Blessed the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Blessed Ivan Merz and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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