Feast of Blessed Henry Suso (March 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Henry Suso

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HENRY SUSO (MARCH 21, 1295-JANUARY 25, 1366)

German Roman Catholic Mystic, Preacher, and Spiritual Writer

Born Heinrich von Berg

Alternative feast days = January 25 and March 2

Also known as Amandus and the Servant of the Eternal Wisdom

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Ah, gentle God, if Thou art so lovely in Thy creatures, how exceedingly beautiful and ravishing Thou must be in Thyself.

–Blessed Henry Suso, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 101

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Blessed Henry Suso comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), in which March 4 is his feast day.

Heinrich von Berg, born in Uberlingen, near Contance, on March 21, 1295, changed his life then preached the love of God.  Our saint, from German nobility, joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) at the age of 13 years.  Young Suso was obsessed with his salvation or damnation.  He mortified his flesh and reported terrifying visions of Hell.  Then our saint sought and received spiritual counsel from another Dominican, Meister Eckhart (1260-1329).  Under Eckhart’s guidance Suso stopped being self-centered spiritually, abandoned physical mortification, and focused on the salvation of other people.

The Dominican prior became an itinerant preacher in service to Christ, whom he called “Eternal Wisdom,” “a gentle loving mistress.”  Suso sought to bring people to God and to deepen their faith by focusing on divine love, not by scaring them.  He also wrote under the pseudonym “Amandus” and worked mainly in Switzerland and the Upper Rhine valley.

Suso was a good man, objectively.  He was also gentle and kind.  Nevertheless, he had to contend with false allegations, including poisoning someone, fathering the child of a woman he was counseling, and stealing.  Our saint spent time in prison on false charges.  Authorities ultimately exonerated him with each other, however.

The self-identified “Servant of Divine Wisdom,” aged 70 years, died in Ulm on January 25, 1366.

Pope Gregory XVI beatified Suso in 1831.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCINA THE ELDER, HER FAMILY, AND SAINT GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS THE YOUNGER

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAESARIUS OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND HIS SISTER, SAINT CAESARIA OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF EIVIND JOSEF BERGGRAV, LUTHERAN BISHOP OF OSLO, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND LEADER OF THE NORWEGIAN RESISTANCE DURING WORLD WAR II

THE FEAST OF KRISTEN KVAMME, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT SAVA I, FOUNDER OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF SERBS

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Henry Suso,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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