Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1590s’ Category

Feast of John Gerard and Mary Ward (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOHN GERARD (OCTOBER 4, 1564-JULY 27, 1637)

English Jesuit Priest

++++++++++++++++

MARY WARD (JANUARY 23, 1586-JUNE 23, 1645)

Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

++++++++++++++++

John Gerard and Mary Ward come to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), where they have separate feast days.

++++++++++++++++

JOHN GERARD, S.J.

John Gerard was a Jesuit priest.  He, born in Derbyshire, England, on October 4, 1564, joined the Society of Jesus in August 1588, at the at the age of 23 years.  The young priest returned to his homeland later that year.  For years, due to his knowledge of hunting and falconry, Gerard passed as a country gentleman.  Meanwhile he worked as an underground priest, saying Masses for Roman Catholic members of the gentry and those who worshiped in their homes.  Our saint did this while evading priest hunters until 1594, when authorities arrested him.  Our saint, treated harshly–even tortured–then became a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1597.  Later that year he escaped from that prison and went on the lam until 1606.

The Gunpowder Plot (1605) backfired on a few guilty and a host of innocent Roman Catholics.  It was a failed conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Gerard was a friend and a priest to some of the conspirators, but none of them told him of the plot.  Nevertheless, there was an arrest warrant with his name on it.  Also, authorities doubled down on the persecution of Roman Catholics.  On orders of his superiors Gerard escaped in 1606.  On May 3 of that year our saint left England when he posed as a retainer of the Spanish Ambassador.

Gerard landed in Flanders, where he became the Jesuit superior.  By 1620 he had become the novice-master at Liege.  He lost that position that year due to his advocacy for Mary Ward.

++++++++++++++++

MARY WARD

Mary Ward was a woman who suffered for her faith at the hands of both the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.  She, born on January 23, 1586, came from Roman Catholic gentry.  Her family hosted underground priests and illegal Masses.  Ward, discerning a vocation to become a nun, rejected all opportunities to marry.  She, smuggled out of England, made her way to Belgium.  There, in 1606, she reluctantly obey a bishop’s order to become a lay sister (servant) to a Poor Clares community instead.

Conventional methods were not for Ward, however.  She discerned a vocation to found a new order of nuns–the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Before Ward could do that, however, she visited England clandestinely.  Our saint assisted priests saying illegal Masses in homes.  She also visited incarcerated priests.  Eventually authorities captured, imprisoned, and sentenced Ward to death, before exiling her instead.

Ward, back in Europe, founded her new order, with papal permission.  The free schools for girls were not controversial, but the lack of episcopal supervision was.  Were women not supposed to be under male supervision?  In 1631 the Church suppressed the order, which had yet to receive papal recognition.  Ward spent a brief term as a prisoner of Holy Mother Church; she was allegedly a heretic and a schismatic.

Ward, her health broken and her vocation destroyed, returned to England, despite the great risks (such as incarceration, torture, and death) of doing so.  She died, aged 59 years, at York on June 23, 1645.

Pope Clement XI confirmed the rule of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1703.

++++++++++++++++

JOHN GERARD, S.J.

Gerard, a confessor at the Jesuit college in Rome, died in the Eternal City on July 27, 1637.  He was 72 years old.

++++++++++++++++

John Gerard and Mary Ward deserve recognition on multiple calendars of saints.  Robert Ellsberg has done a fine job by adding them to his calendar in All Saints.  I follow his example (except by merging the feasts) gladly here.  Hopefully ecclesiastical organizations will formally recognize Gerard and Ward in years to come.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

John Gerard and Mary Ward,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of St. Jose de Anchieta (June 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. José de Anchieta

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT JOSÉ DE ANCHIETA Y DIAZ DE CHAVIGO (MARCH 19, 1534-JUNE 9, 1597)

Apostle of Brazil and Father of Brazilian National Literature

+++++++++++++++++++++

You must come with a bag-full of virtues.

–St. José de Anchieta’s advice to missionary priests

+++++++++++++++++++++

I like the Great Man (and Woman) School of History, for people who did not do anything noteworthy do not interest me.  Those who made a mark, however, deserve attention.

St. José de Anchieta was such a man.  He, born in San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, on March 19, 1534, came from a prominent and wealthy family.  He, educated in Portugal, joined the Society of Jesus at the age of 17 years, in 1551.  The order dispatched our saint to Brazil; he arrived on July 13, 1553.  In that Portuguese colony our saint made many marks.

St. José’s legacy in Brazil has survived.  He cofounded the city of São Paulo as a mission on the Feast of St. Paul the Apostle in 1554.  Eleven years later he helped to found Rio de Janeiro, in full, São Sebastiãno de Rio de Janeiro, named in honor of St. Sebastian.  The Apostle of Brazil, a man in constant pain for 44 years due to a dislocated Spain, mastered the language of the Tupi people, who lived near São Paulo, and spent 20 years writing a grammar and a dictionary of that tongue.  He became the Father of Brazilian National Literature due to his plays, which he wrote in Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tupi; these were the first Brazilian plays.

Our saint had a fine memory.  For five months he was a hostage of the Tamoyo people.  He, with plenty of time on his hands yet lacking writing tools, wrote a Latin poem in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sand and memorized all 4,172 lines of the text.  After his captivity ended Anchieta wrote the poem on paper.

Anchieta, from 1577 the Jesuit provincial, was a man of zeal, intellect, and many virtues.  He applied all of these in Brazil from 1553 to 1597, when he died, aged 63 years, in Reritgba, now renamed Anchieta.

The Roman Catholic Church has recognized our saint.  Pope Pius VI declared Anchieta a Venerable in 1786.  Pope John Paul II made him a Blessed in 1980.  Finally, in 2014, Pope Francis canonized our saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint José de Anchieta,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Brazil.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. Philip Neri (May 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Philip Neri

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT PHILIP ROMOLO NERI (JULY 22, 1515-MAY 27, 1595)

The Apostle of Rome and the Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory

+++++++++++++++++

No bond but the bond of love.

–St. Philip Neri

+++++++++++++++++

St. Philip Neri was a humble man given to self-deprecating humor and practical jokes.  He came from Italian nobility who had fallen on hard times; Francesco Neri, the father, was a notary at Florence who barely earned a living.  St. Philip was a pious young man who learned the humanities under the tutelage of Dominicans at Florence.  At the age of 16 years our saint went to San Germano, near Monte Cassino, to assist his father’s cousin, a businessman.  St. Philip, who frequently prayed in a Benedictine chapel, was on track to become the cousin’s heir when he left his family behind and went, penniless, to Rome, to pursue a religious calling.

For 17 years St. Philip lived as a layman in the Eternal City.  During much of that time he worked as the tutor to the sons of Galeotto Caccia, late of Florence.  In charge for those services our saint lived in a room and received an allowance of flour.  He also wrote poetry.  Furthermore, St. Philip studied philosophy at the Sapienza and theology with the Augustinians.  Eventually he sold his books and gave the money to the poor.  In 1544 or so St. Philip befriended St. Ignatius Loyola (1491/1495-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  In the middle and late 1540s our saint lived as a hermit and an ascetic.  He reported occasional visions, which affected him profoundly.  One vision, from 1544, was of a globe of fire entering his heart.  This meant to our saint that God had enlarged his heart.  One piece of evidence of that compassion was the founding of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity, to care for convalescents and pilgrims, by St. Philip and his confessor, Persiano Rosa, in 1548.

Then, in 1551, at the urging of Rosa, St. Philip became a priest.  He took an interest in the lives of others, for their benefit.  In the mornings our saint heard confessions at the Church of San Girolamo.  On some mornings he heard 40 confessions before dawn.  In the afternoons St. Philip met informally with men and boys, engaging in leisure with them.  Our saint became the center of a religious community.  At meetings of this community, which consisted mostly of laymen, lay people spoke at length.  This fact led to false allegations of heresy–Protestantism, to be precise–against St. Philip.  Ecclesiastical authorities cleared him of charges.  In 1575 Pope Gregory XIII recognized this community as the Congregation of the Oratory.  Priests of the Congregation devoted themselves to preaching and teaching.

Along the way, while in Rome, other spiritual developments occurred in the life of St. Philip.  In the 1550s he pondered leaving the Eternal City for India.  With help he concluded that God was not calling him to serve as a missionary in the subcontinent.  Also, in 1562-1564 our saint struggled with an invitation to become the Rector of the Church of San Giovanni, Rome, the parish of Florentines there.  A papal compromise in 1564 led to St. Philip finally accepting that invitation while remaining at the Church of San Girolamo and sending five priests to represent him.

Meanwhile, the Church of San Maria, Vallicella, had been part of the holdings of the Congregation of the Oratory since 1575.  St. Philip, obeying a papal command, left the Church of San Girolamo, Rome, for Vallicella in 1583.  Pope Gregory XIV offered St. Philip the status of Cardinal in 1590; our saint politely declined.  St. Philip, aged 79 years, died of natural causes in Vallicella in 1595.

Pope Paul V beatified St. Philip in 1615.  Pope Gregory XV canonized him seven years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 7, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PHILIP AND DANIEL BERRIGAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF ANNE ROSS COUSIN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD THOMAS NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER; BROTHER OF BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL, ANGLICAN PRIEST, ENGLISH BAPTIST EVANGELIST, AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS NIECE, CAROLINE MARIA NOEL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARIA JOSEPHA ROSSELLO, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF PITY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Philip Neri,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Tommaso Acerbis (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Tommaso Acerbis

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED TOMMASO ACERBIS (1563-MAY 3, 1631)

Capuchin Friar

Also known as Blessed Tommaso of Olera

Blessed Tommaso Acerbis, once an illiterate shepherd, became an influential speaker and writer whose influence has never ceased to exist.  The ranks of those inspired by his writings have included recent Popes.  Blessed Tommaso, born at Olera, Italy, in 1563, came from an impoverished family.  At the age of 17 years he, a shepherd, joined the Capuchin Friars at Verona on September 12, 1580.  Then he learned to read and write.  On July 5, 1584, Acerbis made his final profession.  He remained at the abbey at Verona until 1605, when he departed for Vicenza, where he lived until 1617.  Then our saint served as clerk at Rovereto for about a year before transferring to Padua, where he was porter in 1618-1619.  Acerbis spent the rest of his life at Innsbruck, Austria.  Throughout his life our saint helped the poor, visited the sick, and strengthened people in their faith.  Our saint also extolled the virtues of Roman Catholicism and thereby held off an encroachment of Lutheranism at Innsbruck.

Pope John Paul II declared Acerbis a Venerable in 1987.  Pope Francis made our saint a Blessed in 2013.

The aspect of the life of Acerbis that appeals to me most is his gentleness.  I detect a pastoral spirit and a concern for the most vulnerable people.  Yes, I have some strong theological differences with him, but so what?  I still respect the man.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Tommaso Acerbis,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we may also 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, now and forever.  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), page 723

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of John Donne (March 31)   1 comment

john-donne

Above:  John Donne

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOHN DONNE (JANUARY 21, 1572-MARCH 31, 1631)

Anglican Priest and Poet

John Donne–Anglican priest, popular preacher, and metaphysical poet–was a complicated character who sought after God and struggled with ambition.

Our saint, born in London, England, on January 21, 1572, was a son of John Donne and Elizabeth Heywood.  (Aside:  The English tradition of naming sons after fathers without using suffixes can prove quite confusing.)  John Donne the Elder, a wealthy merchant, died in 1576.  Elizabeth Heywood Donne was a daughter of John Heywood, a playwright.  John Heywood’s wife was a daughter of the sister of St. Thomas More.  Both of our saint’s parents were devout Roman Catholics.  Furthermore, two of his maternal uncles were Jesuits who died in exile and Henry, his younger brother, died of fever in prison at the age of 19 years in 1593.  Henry’s crime was to shelter a Roman Catholic priest.

Our saint, young “Jack” Donne, was also a Roman Catholic.  In 1584 he began his studies at Hart Hall, Oxford.  He never formally graduated because a requirement for doing so was to take the oath of supremacy.  Donne, as a Roman Catholic, could not do that.  Next he studied at Cambridge.  In 1591-1592 he was a law student at Thavies Inn, L0ndon.  From 1592 too 1596 he studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, London.  By the 1590s Donne had begun to compose poetry.  He was also undecided about whether to remain a Roman Catholic or to convert to The Church of England.

Donne nurtured political connections.  In 1596 and 1597 he participated in the Earl of Essex’s expeditions to Cadiz and to the Azore Islands.  By 1597, when our saint had become an Anglican, he was the secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, soon to become Lord Chancellor Ellesmere.  Love interfered with Donne’s career, though.  In December 1601 he married Ann More, the niece of Egerton, without her guardians’ consent.  This led to a term of incarceration, the loss of employment, and the denial of Ann’s dowry.  This reality led Donne to become more spiritual.

The couple struggled for years.  From 1602 to 1615 they had twelve children, seven of whom survived their mother.  Eventually Donne found work writing criticisms of Roman Catholicism; he worked with Thomas Morton (later the Bishop of Durham) in this regard.  In 1607 Morton, the new Dean of Gloucester, encouraged Donne to take Holy Orders.  Our saint declined, citing a sense of worthiness.  Or perhaps he still had secular ambitions.  Eventually Sir George More, his father-in-law, paid Ann’s dowry.  Next Donne became the lawyer of Lucy, Countess of Bedford, through whom he came into contact with influential people.

Donne’s fortunes improved in 1610.  That year he published Pseudo-Martyr, a work designed to persuade Roman Catholics to take the oath of allegiance.  For this work he received an honorary M.A. from Oxford as well as favorable notice from King James VI/I.  Additional works in the field of religious controversy flowed from his pen during the next few years.  Also in 1610, Donne found a new patron, Sir Robert Drury, with whom he traveled from November 1611 to August 1612.  Afterward Donne courted Viscount Rochester (later the Earl of Somerset), a favorite of King James.  Our saint won election to the House of Commons in 1614.  The following year royal pressure ended his refusal to take Holy Orders.  His ordination occurred on January 23; he was 43 years old.

Donne became, according to reputation, the greatest preacher in England.  Like other prominent clergymen of the time, he frequently received income from two livings and was resident in only one of them.  In 1621 he became the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Four years later Donne preached the first sermon of the reign of King Charles I.  Our saint would have become a bishop in 1630, except for reasons of health.  He died, aged 59 years, on March 31, 1631.

Donne earned his place in the canon of literature with his metaphysical poetry, which remains in print.  Many of his sermons have also remained in print, for people to read.  His published works expressed, among other things, am awareness of his sins and of God’s mercy.

1.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun

which is my sin, though it were done before?

Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I run,

and do run still, though still I do deplore?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

2.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, by which I won

others to sin, and made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin I did shun

a year or two, but wallowed in a score?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

3.  I have a sin of fear that when I’ve spun

my last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore.

And having done that, thou hast done, I fear no more.

That is a theme worth pondering, is it not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN SCHMOLCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALTO OF ALTOMUNSTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF SAINT PORFIRIO, MARTYR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being:

Open our eyes to see, with your servant John Donne,

that whatever has any being is a mirror in which we may behold you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:24-8:1

Psalm 27:5-11

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

John 5:19-24

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 299

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Ion Costist (March 5)   Leave a comment

northern-romania

Above:  Northern Romania, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED ION COSTIST (JUNE 29, 1556-MARCH 5, 1625)

Franciscan Lay Brother

Blessed Ion Costist entered the world at Zaxo, Moldavia (now Cornu Luncii, near Suceava, Romania), on June 29, 1556.  He also grew up in a pious family.  In 1574, at the age of 18 years, Costist went to Italy because he thought that the greatest Christians resided there.  Five years later he became Jeremiah, a Franciscan lay brother.  Starting in 1585 Costist worked as a medical assistant in Naples.  He cared for the crippled, the poor, and the lame.  Our saint also begged for alms, all of which he used to finance the care of that population.  Costist, who had the spiritual gift of encouragement and a reputation for charity, defined God as merciful love and people as the gift of divine love.  He died at Naples on March 5, 1625, aged 68 years.

Pope John XXIIII declared Costist a Venerable in 1959.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO LOTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENOVEVA TORRES MORALES, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE HOLY ANGELS

THE FEAST OF MARGARET MACKAY, SCOTTISH HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Ion Costist,

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 153 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), page 723

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Luis de Leon (February 27)   Leave a comment

spain-and-portugal-1584

Above:  Map of Spain and Portugal, 1584

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LUIS DE LEON (1527-AUGUST 23, 1591)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Luis de Leon expanded his horizons, much to the disapproval of the Inquisition.  Our saint, born in 1527 at Belmonte, Cuenea, Spain, was an Augustinian priest who taught the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Salamanca.  He chose to move beyond scholastic theology and studied Platonism, Arabic philosophy, Jewish mysticism, et cetera.  De Leon also mastered the Hebrew language so he could study the Hebrew Bible better.  During our saint’s study of the Old Testament he identified certain mistranslations in the Vulgate of St. Jerome.  News of this led to de Leon’s incarceration (without sacraments as well as knowledge of the charges against him) by the Valladolid Inquisition from March 1572 to December 1576.  Eventually the Inquisition cleared de Leon of all charges and released him.  His experience with the Inquisition influenced some of de Leon’s subsequent writings, as when he contrasted the arrogance of certain authority figures with the humility of Christ:

What can we say about kings and princes who not only lower and despise some of their subjects but think that this is the only way they themselves can feel important and try their best so that the groups they have lowered and despised will be held down and despised generation after generation?

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 93

De Leon’s academic and ecclesiastical career advanced post-Inquisition.  In his masterpiece, The Names of God (1583), he meditated on the titles of Christ.  Our saint received academic promotions and, in 1591, shortly before his death, became the provincial for the Augustinian order in Castille.  He died at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain, on August 23, 1591.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you have enlightened your Church by the teachings of your servant Luis de Leon;

enrich it evermore with your heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses, who by their life and teaching

may proclaim to all people the truth of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-10

Psalm 34:11-17 or 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Matthew 5:13-19

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), page 684

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++