Wednesday, December 14, 2011






VATICAN CITY, 14 DEC 2011 (VIS) - In his general audience this morning, the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to Jesus' prayer in the context of His healing miracles, focusing particularly on the healing of the deaf man as narrated in the Gospel of St. Mark, and the raising of Lazarus.


The healing of the deaf man "demonstrates that the cures worked by Jesus were connected with the intensity of His relationships, both with others and with the Father", the Pope said. "With a gesture the Lord touches the sick man's ears and tongue; that is, the sites of his infirmity. ... But the central point of the episode lies in the fact that Jesus, at the very moment He works the cure, directly seeks His relationship with the Father", by looking up to heaven. "The narrative shows, then, that human involvement with the sick man led Jesus into prayer. His unique relationship with the Father emerges once again, His identity as Only-begotten Son. In Him, through His person, the healing and beneficial action of God is made present among us".

The raising of Lazarus also highlights this aspect of Jesus' dual relationships, His concern for a suffering friend and His filial bond with the Father. "His sincere affection for His friend ... is expressed by the fact that Jesus was deeply moved at the sight of the suffering of Martha and Mary, and of all Lazarus' friends, and in His profoundly human tears as he approaches the grave", the Pope explained. At the same time, Christ interprets His friend's death "in relation to His own identity and mission, and the glorification awaiting Him. When He hears news of Lazarus sickness, He says: 'this illness does not lead to death: rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it'".

"The moment when Jesus prays directly to the Father before the tomb is the natural climax of the entire episode". According to John the Evangelist "Jesus looked upward and said, Father I thank you for having heard me". This phrase, Benedict XVI explained, "shows us that Jesus had not for a moment ceased His prayer for Lazarus' life. That prayer was continuous, indeed it strengthened Jesus' bond with His friend and, at the same time, confirmed His decision to remain in communion with the will of the Father, with His plan of love in which the sickness and death of Lazarus is the place in which the glory of God is made manifest".

Trusting in God's will

These episodes, said the Holy Father, help us to understand "that when we ask the Lord for something in prayer, we must not expect an immediate fulfilment of our requests, of our will; rather, we should entrust outsides to the will of the Father, reading events in the perspective of His glory, of His plan of love which is often a mystery to our eyes. Thus in our prayer, request, praise and thanksgiving should fuse together, even when it seems to us that God does not respond to our expectations. Abandoning ourselves to the love of God, which always precedes and accompanies us, is a fundamental principle in our dialogue with Him. ... Beyond anything that God may give us when we invoke Him, the greatest gift He can give us is His friendship, His presence, His love". The giver is more precious than the gift.

"The concern Jesus, true God and true man, feels for others, especially the needy and suffering, ... causes Him to turn to the Father. ... But the opposite is also true: communion with the Father, constant dialogue with Him, causes Jesus to be attentive to the real-life situations of man, to which He brings the consolation and love of God".

This profound bond between love for God and love for others must, the Pope concluded, also be part of our own prayers, which "open the door to God, teaching us how to abandon our own selves in order to come close to others, especially in moments of trial, bringing them consolation, hope and light".

At the end of his catechesis the Holy Father spoke in various languages to greet the more than 7,000 pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall. He expressed his particular appreciation to the people who had contributed to the restoration of the sculpture of "The Resurrection" by Pericle Fazzini, which adorns the Hall. "Following a period of painstaking efforts", he said, "today we have the joy of being able to admire this work of art and faith in all its original splendour".

Speaking then in Spanish, Benedict XVI addressed a delegation from the Mexican state of Puebla, expressing the hope that, "with God's help, I will soon be able to visit you in your country".

AG/ VIS 20111214 (810)


VATICAN CITY, 14 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Joao Santos Cardoso, coordinator of pastoral care and pastor of the parish of "Nossa Senhora das Gracias" in the archdiocese of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, as bishop of Sao Raimundo Nonato (area 39,316, population 193,000, Catholics 174,000, priests 23, religious 42), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Dario Meira, Brazil in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986. He has worked in pastoral care in parishes in Brazil and Italy and, from 1992 to 1994, was rector of the major seminary of philosophy in the archdiocese of Vitoria da Conquista. He is regional vicar and coordinator of pastoral care for that archdiocese, and teaches philosophy in a number of universities.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, presented by Bishop John Martin Darko, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Archbishop Mathias Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of that diocese.


Caption: Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly is pictured in 2007 at press conference to introduce his successor, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Archbishop Kelly, who led the Louisville Archdiocese for 25 years, died Dec. 14. (CNS file photo/Rick Musacchio)
Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly is pictured in 2007 at press conference to introduce his successor, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Archbishop Kelly, who led the Louisville Archdiocese for 25 years, died Dec. 14. (CNS file photo/Rick Musacchio)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) -- Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, who led the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1982 until his retirement in 2007, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of Dec. 14 at his home on the campus of Holy Trinity Church. He was 80.

Funeral arrangements were not announced immediately.

In a statement released shortly after Archbishop Kelly's death was announced, his successor, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, praised his brother bishop for his service to the archdiocese.

"With the death of Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, the local church of Louisville has lost a friend, a humble servant and a dedicated man of God," Archbishop Kurtz said. "Archbishop Kelly served for more than a quarter century as the archbishop of Louisville and remained active as archbishop emeritus for almost five years.

"In his 80 years of life, he has been thoroughly a priest of Jesus Christ, as a faithful Dominican, as a diplomat and administrator at the nunciature and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as metropolitan of the province of Louisville, as a true archbishop, and in these last days as a faithful parish priest."

Archbishop Kelly, possessed of twinkling Irish eyes and a comforting presence, led the archdiocese through periods of both triumph and tragedy. He was proud of the spiritual growth of the archdiocese, especially the Renew process that began in the 1980s shortly after he came to Louisville. He also took pride in the development of a strategic planning process -- also launched in the 1980s -- something he called "a very significant beginning in my time."

The saddest moment of his 25-year leadership of the archdiocese came, he said, with the eruption of the sexual abuse crisis in 2002. "It was," he noted, "a terrible time ... when victims came forward for healing and made us realize the terrible, terrible damage that had been done to them.

"We continue to seek and ask for their forgiveness," he said in 2007, "to pray that such terrible things may not happen ... again and to take every step conceivable to prevent that from happening."

Brian Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer for the archdiocese, called Archbishop Kelly a "humble servant leader."

"Working with him, that's what you experienced," he said, "his humility and commitment to serve those in need."

The archbishop, Reynolds said, loved three things:

"He loved his cathedral and took pride in seeing it renovated and back as a beacon of life in this city," he said. "He loved planning and not just focusing on the present. And he loved the priesthood."

In fact, the night before he died, Reynolds noted, Archbishop Kelly concelebrated Mass at Holy Trinity Church, and preached. "It's remarkable, but he was preaching just half a day before his life ended," the chancellor said.

Archbishop Kelly "was committed to the poor, to Catholic education and to addressing injustice, whether through outreach to refugees or outreach to prisons," Reynolds noted. "Those are things he loved and that's what he did."

The retired archbishop was born in 1931 in Rochester, N.Y., and entered the Dominican order in 1951 after studying for two years at Providence College. He was ordained a priest in 1958 and received a licentiate in theology degree from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington in 1959. He also received a doctorate in canon law from the University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1962 and studied at the University of Vienna in Austria and at Cambridge University in England.

Joseph Duerr, retired editor of The Record, Louisville archdiocesan newspaper, recalled his 25-year history with Archbishop Kelly -- he covered both his 1982 installation as Archbishop of Louisville and the archbishop's retirement in 2007 -- and said what he most remembers about the archbishop is his scholarly nature.

"I think that his pastorate was marked by renewal and growth," Duerr recalled in a telephone interview Dec. 14. "One of the things that struck me about him personally is that he was very intelligent, a scholar. He was fully aware of having been general secretary of the bishops' conference before he came here. He was in touch with the many issues in the church nationally, and he brought that awareness with him when he came here."

But if asked to describe the late archbishop in one word, Duerr said, that word would be "scholar."

"That had a lot to do with his education in the Dominican community, and he brought that scholarly view of the church with him to Louisville," the retired editor said. "At the same time, he was very pastoral, too. He was never aloof from people, he very much identified with individuals and was open to them."

At the time of his installation as archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Kelly told about 5,000 people who were gathered that February day in 1982 that "I am to be the servant of your faith."

In his homily at the installation Mass, he told his church that he was thinking "of the unborn and the incessant destruction of human life."

"Too many members of the human family ... are subject to conditions that are offensive to their life, to their dignity and to the aspirations that are rightfully theirs," he said in his homily.

Respect for life "embraces many issues," he said in a 1999 article in The Record. "Poverty, malnutrition, hunger, war, sexual exploitation, the arms trade, abortion, racism, unchecked individualism and materialism, capital punishment and euthanasia all contribute to a 'throw-away' society and to tremendous suffering."

Archbishop Kelly also stressed lay ministry and he "reinvigorated the Catholic Conference of Kentucky in his years as archbishop," Duerr noted. "Education was another thing he stressed, as was life-long formation. Then you had the restoration of the cathedral during his time ... but the notion of renewal and growth touched all aspects of his pastorate."


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Mahmoud
Shop owners Adnan Elia Jakmakji and Raghad al Tawil were gunned down last night. Their two children are wounded but survived. They were in their car when it was ambushed. Source tells AsiaNews that Christians are concerned ahead of Christmas.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – The Christian community in Mosul has been the victim of another targeted murder. The city in northern Iraq has seen a long series of bloody attacks against minority Christians. A local source, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews that last night “a Christian man and his wife were gunned down” but their two children who were with them survived. A few days ago, Muslim extremist groups, egged on by a local imam, attacked Christian shops in Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan. Beginning on 2 December and for several days, dozens of shops were torched and at least 30 people wounded in Dohok.

In yesterday’s ambush, Adnan Elia Jakmakji, 34, and his wife Raghad al Tawil, 25, were killed in their car in the 17 July neighbourhood, east of the city. Their two children were with them. The two died instantly whilst the children were wounded. The latter’s life is not in danger.

According to early reports, the armed group ambushed the family, firing many bullets at the car. The attackers then fled the scene, undisturbed, without leaving any traces.

The family owns a small shop but it is unclear whether the murder was linked somehow to their business. Funerals will be held tonight in the Immaculate Chaldean Church in Mosul.

“Right now, security is getting worse,” the source said, “and Christians are concerned in view of the upcoming Christmas celebrations.”

The Christian community in northern Iraq has been the victim of a war between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds for control over the region’s huge oil reserves.

The US pullout, to be completed by the end of the year, could cause further instability and violence.


ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH REPORT: Article: by B Spinks, Photos: Supplied

The first Redemptorist to be ordained in Perth in 24 years took place on 3 December at North Perth monastery when Archbishop Barry Hickey ordained Fr Joseph Anh Do CSsR, 36, to the priesthood.

It was marked by a joyous gathering of Redemptorists, their lay partners in mission and their friends from all over Australia, but also from Vietnam, New Zealand and Indonesia.

Arriving in Australia in 2006, the then-seminarian Joseph Anh Do was one of the first young students to come to Australia from Vietnam at the request of the Australian province of the Redemptorist congregation.

Fr Joseph was born in Bien Hoa, 40 km away from Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, the same year the Vietnam War ended between communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam.

He grew up the sixth child in a family of nine and is the fifth child in the family to receive a religious vocation.

His eldest brother is married with three children; two of his younger siblings are married and one more is engaged.

Three of his sisters have joined the Dominican order and are based in Vietnam with their congregation.

But only his older brother who is also a Dominican, Fr Do Tuan Linh OP, and father, Do Cong Sing were able to come to his ordination.

His mother could not make the ordination for health reasons.

Fr Joseph was looking forward to the priesthood. He said he was looking forward to embarking on the next part of his faith journey and mission journey, and serving God through the people in spiritual direction and in administering the sacraments.

Fr Anh Do’s first appointment is to the North Perth Redemptorist monastery.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – On Saturday, December 17, the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood of the Archdiocese of Czestochowa has promoted a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Myszków Mrzyglód where the material prepared for the animation of this missionary period will be presented, especially the missionary catechesis on the Church in Sudan, and the missionary sending of children and young people will be celebrated. The initiative will include all the leaders of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of the Archdiocese, along with the Archdiocesan Director, don Jacek Gancarek. The different missionary groups of children and young people have been invited: the voluntary missionary, animators, groups of the Rosary, the Militia Immaculatae, groups of POM of different parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Czestochowa. The Mass will be presided by His Exc. Mgr. Stanislaw Nowak, Archbishop of Czestochowa. "We want children and young people to give new spiritual strength to the Missionary Societies of our archdiocese", said don Jacek Gancarek Fides, PMS Diocesan Director of Czestochowa. (MF/SL) (Agenzia Fides 14/12/2011)


CISA REPORT: ABUJA, December 13, 2011 (CISA) –A bomb exploded over the weekend killing one person and injuring several others in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in Nigeria.

According to Fides Mgr Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos said, “We have no specific information on the identity of the bombers and we cannot say that they are members of the Boko Haram sect.”

“What we do know is that these attacks were perpetrated by a group of young people, and there are fears that they are part of a strategy to create tension before Christmas. It is clearly the design of instilling fear before the holidays” said the Archbishop.

Archbishop Kaigama however said that these attacks took place in a small area of Jos, it did not affect the entire city.

“When the press reports of attacks in Jos in the Plateau State, the descriptions are often exaggerated. It seems that the entire city is involved, or the entire State, but it is not like that, because the attacks involve only a few areas,” he said.

He further said, “Indeed I am happy to be able to say that the security forces are quite efficient and are able to act quickly to regain control of the situation. I hope that the attacks do not happen anymore, but this is why one needs to be more pro-active.”

“…The problem of violence in Jos and the surrounding areas cannot be blamed only because of the tension between Christians and Muslims that exist and need to be overcome, but we must also consider the political and economic aspects, and especially if there is a threat to destroy the examples of the Nigerian people to live in peace and harmony”, the of Jos Archbishop said.

There are suspicions that the attacks were committed by the Boko Haram sect which are very active in the northern States of the Federation.



Luke 7: 18 - 23
18The disciples of John told him of all these things.
19And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
20And when the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, `Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?'"
21In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
22And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.
23And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."


St. John of the Cross


Feast: December 14


Feast Day:December 14

24 June 1542, Fontiveros, Spain

Died:December 14, 1591, Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain
Canonized:27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Major Shrine:Tomb of Saint John of the Cross, Segovia, Spain
Patron of:contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets

St John, by his family name called Yepes, was youngest child of Gonzales of Yepes, and born at Fontibere near Avila, in Old Castile, in 1542. With his mother's milk he sucked in the most tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and was preserved from many dangers by the visible protection of her intercession The death of his father left his mother destitute of all succours with three little children, with whom she settled at Medina. John learned the first elements of letters at a college. The administrator of the hospital, delighted with his extraordinary piety, employed him in serving the sick; an office which was very agreeable to the devotion of the youth, who acquitted himself with the feeling of charity much above his years, especially when he exhorted the sick to acts of virtue. He practiced, at the same time, excessive austerities, and continued his studies in the college of the Jesuits. At twenty-one years of age, to satisfy his devotion to the mother of God, he took the religious habit among the Carmelite friars at Medina in 1563. Never did any novice give greater proofs of obedience, humility, fervour, and love of the cross. His zeal, far from abating after his novitiate, was continually upon the increase. When he arrived at Salamanca, in order to commence his higher studies, the austerities which he practiced were excessive. He chose for his cell a little dark hole at the bottom of the dormitory. A hollow board, something like a grave, was his bed. He platted himself so rough a hair shirt that, at the least motion, it pricked his body to blood. His fasts and other mortifications were incredible. By these means he studied to die to the world and to himself; but by assiduous prayer and contemplation, in silence and retirement, he gave wings to his soul. It was his desire to be a lay-brother, but this was refused him. He had distinguished himself in his course of theological studies, when in 1567, being twenty-five years old, be was promoted to the priesthood. He prepared himself to offer his first sacrifice by humiliations, fasts, penitential tears, fervent prayers, and long meditations on the sufferings of our Divine Redeemer; deeply imprinting his precious wounds in his heart and sacrificing himself, his will, and all his actions with his Saviour, in raptures of love and devotion. The graces which he received from the holy mysteries, inflamed him with a desire of greater retirement; for which purpose he deliberated with himself to enter the Order of the Carthusians.

St. Teresa was then busy in establishing her reformation of the Carmelites, and coming to Medina del Campo heard speak of the extraordinary virtue of brother John. Whereupon she desired to see him, admired his spirit, and told him that God had called him to sanctify himself in the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel: that she had received authority from the general to found two reformed houses of men, and that he himself should be the first instrument of so great a work. Soon after, she founded her first monastery of men in a poor house in the village of Durvelle. John, who had acquiesced in her proposal, entered this new Bethlehem, in a perfect spirit of sacrifice, and about two months after was Joined by some others, who all renewed their profession on Advent Sunday, 1568 This was the beginning of the Barefooted Carmelite Friars, whose institute was approved by Pope Pius V, and in 1580 confirmed by Gregory XIII. So great were the austerities of these primitive Carmelites, that St. Teresa saw it necessary to prescribe them a mitigation. The odour of their sanctity in their poor obscure house spread all over Spain; and St. Teresa soon after established a second convent at Pastrane, and in 1568 a third at Manreza, whither she translated that from Durvelle, and in 1577 a fourth at Alcala. The example and the exhortations of St. John inspired the religious with a perfect spirit of solitude, humility, and mortification. His wonderful love of the cross appeared in all his actions, and it was by meditating continually on the sufferings of Christ that it increased daily in his soul; for love made him desire to resemble his crucified Redeemer in all manner of humiliations and sufferings.

St. John, after tasting the first sweets of holy contemplation, found himself deprived of all sensible devotion. This spiritual dryness was followed by interior trouble of mind, scruples, and a disrelish of spiritual exercises, which yet he was careful never to forsake. The devils, at the same time, assaulted him with violent temptations, and men persecuted him by calumnies. But the most terrible of all these pains was that of scrupulosity and interior desolation, in which he seemed to see hell open ready to swallow him up. He describes admirably what a soul feels in this trial in his book called "The Obscure Night." This state of interior desolation contemplative souls, in some degree or other, first pass through before their hearts are prepared to receive the communication of God's special graces. By it our saint obtained a perfect poverty and nakedness of spirit, freed from all the refined passions of self-love, and an excellent conformity to the holy will of God, which can only be built on the destruction of self-will, a heroic patience, and a courageous perseverance. After some time, certain rays of light, comfort, and divine sweetness scattered these mists and translated the soul of the servant of God into a paradise of interior delights and heavenly sweetness. This was again succeeded by another more grievous trial of spiritual darkness which spread itself over his soul, accompanied with interior pains and temptations, in which God seemed to have forsaken him, and to have become deaf to his sighs and tears. So violent was his sorrow in this state of privation, that it seemed he must have died of grief if God had not supported him by his grace. In the calm which followed this terrible tempest he was wonderfully repaid in divine comforts. Surrounded with a new light, he saw clearly the incomparable advantages of suffering especially by the severest interior trials. He never received any extraordinary favour which was not preceded by some great tribulation; which is an ordinary conduct of the sweet providence of God in regard to his servants for their great spiritual advantage. God, in the sensible visits of his grace, draws a soul by his charms to run in the sweet paths of his love; but her virtue is chiefly perfected by tribulations. Trials were, by grace, the chief instruments of the admirable perfection to which our saint arrived. St. Teresa made use of him to impart the spirit of her reform to the religious in all the houses which she established. The convent in which she had made her first profession, at Avila, had always opposed her reformation. Yet the Bishop of Avila thought it necessary that she should be made prioress there, to retrench at least the frequent visits of seculars. She sent for St. John and appointed him the spiritual director of this house in 1576. He soon engaged them to shut up their parlours, and to cut off the scandalous abuses which were inconsistent with a religious life of retirement and penance. Many seculars likewise put themselves under his direction, and he preached the word of God with wonderful unction and fruit. But God would be glorified by his sufferings, and to make them the more sensible to him, permitted his own brethren to be the instruments thereof, as Christ himself was betrayed by a disciple. The old Carmelite friars looked on this reformation, though undertaken with the licence and approbation of the general, given to St. Teresa, as a rebellion against their Order; and, in their chapter at Placentia, condemned St. John as a fugitive and an apostate. This resolution being taken, they sent soldiers and sergeants, who broke open his door and tumultuously carried him to the prison of his convent; and, knowing the veneration which the people at Avila had for his person, removed him from thence to Toledo, where he was locked up in a dark noisome cell, into which no light had admittance but through a little hole three fingers broad. Scarce any other nourishment was allowed him during the nine months which he remained there but bread, a little fish, called sardines, and water. He was released after nine months by the credit of St. Teresa, and by the protection of the mother of God. In this destitute condition he had been favoured with many heavenly comforts, which made him afterwards say, "Be not surprised if I show so great a love for sufferings; God gave me a high idea of their merit and value when I was in the prison of Toledo."

He had no sooner recovered his liberty than he was made superior of the little convent of Calvary, situate in a desert, and in 1579 founded that of Baeza. In 1581 he was chosen prior of Granada; in 1585 vicar-provincial of Andalusia; and, in 1588, first definitor of the Order. He founded at the same time the convent of Segovia. In all his employments, the austerities which he practiced seemed to exceed bounds; and he only slept two or three hours in a night, employing the rest in prayer, in presence of the blessed sacrament. He showed always the most sincere and profound humility, and even love of abjection, an inimitable fervour and zeal for all the exercises of religion, and an insatiable desire of suffering. Hearing Christ once say to him, "John, what recompense cost thou ask of thy labours?" He answered, "Lord, I ask no other recompense than to suffer and be condemned for thy love." At the very name of the cross he fell into an ecstasy, in the presence of mother Anne of Jesus. Three things he frequently asked of God: 1st, That he might not pass one day of his life without suffering something; 2ndly, That he might not die superior; 3rdly, That he might end his life in humiliation, disgrace, and contempt. The passion of our Redeemer was the usual subject of his meditations, and he exceedingly recommends the same to others in his writings. He was frequently so absorbed in God that he was obliged often to offer violence to himself to treat of temporal affairs, and sometimes, when called out from prayer, was incapable of doing it. Coming to himself from sudden raptures, he would cry out with words, as it were of fire, "Let us take wing and fly on high. What do we do here, dear brethren? Let us go to eternal life." This love appeared in a certain brightness which darted from his countenance on many occasions, especially when he came from the altar or from prayer. A person of distinction was one day so moved with the sight of it, perceiving the heavenly light of his face to dazzle his eyes and pierce his heart with divine love, that on the spot he took a resolution to renounce the world and embraced the Order of St. Dominic. A lady coming to confession to him was so struck with a heavenly light which shone from his countenance and penetrated her soul, that she immediately laid aside her jewels and gaudy attire, and consecrated herself to God in strict retirement, to the astonishment of the whole city of Segovia. His love of his neighbour was no less wonderful, especially towards the poor, the sick, and sinners; his continual tenderness and affection for his enemies, and the benefactions and kindness with which he always studied to return good for evil, were most admirable. For fear of contracting any attachments to earthly things, he was a rigorous observer and lover of poverty. All the furniture of his little cell or chamber consisted in a paper image and a cross made of rushes, and he would have the meanest beads and breviary, and wear the most threadbare habit he could get. A profound sentiment of religion made him bear an extreme respect to whatever belonged, even remotely, to churches, or to the service of God. The same motive of the honour of God sanctified all his actions. He employed many hours every day and night in prayer, and often before the blessed sacrament, with extraordinary fervour. True devotion he described to be humble, not loving to be lofty; silent, not active; without attachment to anything; without singularity or presumption; full of distrust in itself; following with ardour simple and common rules. In 1591 the chapter of his Order met at Madrid, in which St. John opposed too severe measures used in the punishment of disobedience against Father Gratian, who had been a great assistant to St. Teresa; and likewise strenuously spoke against a motion supported by some of the chiefs, for casting off the direction of the Teresain nuns. This gave offence to some whom envy and jealousy had indisposed against him, and by their means the servant of God was thrust out of all employments in his Order. It was with joy that he saw himself in disgrace and at liberty, and retired into the little solitary convent of Pegnuela, in the mountains of Sierra Morena.

God was pleased to finish his martyrdom by a second grievous persecution from his own brethren before his death. His banishment to Pegnuela he thought his happiness, and always excused and commended father commissary and the other authors of his disgrace, and hindered all others from writing to the vicar-general of the injustices done him. There were in the Order two fathers of great authority, who declared themselves his implacable enemies, harbouring malice and envy in their breasts, which they cloaked under the sanctified name of holy zeal. In the saint's disgrace, one of them, called F. Diego Evangelista, ran over the whole province to beg and trump up accusations against the servant of God, and boasted that he had sufficient proofs to have him expelled the Order. The saint said nothing all this while, only that he was ready to receive with joy any punishment. Everybody at that time forsook him; all were afraid of seeming to have any commerce with him, and burnt the letters which they had received from him, lest they might be involved in his disgrace. St. John had no other comfort or refuge but prayer, in which the abundant consolations of the Holy Ghost rendered his sufferings sweet to him. This storm ceased when the informations of Diego were laid before the superiors; for had they been all true, they amounted to nothing which deserved any chastisement. The sweetness of the divine love and peace which overflowed the soul of the servant of God all this time, filled him with interior joy, which increased in proportion as he was more abandoned by creatures. "The soul of one who serves God," says the saint, "always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, is always in her palace of jubilation, ever singing with fresh ardour and fresh pleasure, a new song of joy and love."

St. John, living in the practice of extreme austerities, and in continual contemplation, fell sick, and when he could no longer conceal his distemper, the provincial ordered him to leave Pegnuela, that place being destitute of all relief, and gave him the choice either to go to Baeza or to Ubeda. The first was a very convenient convent and had for prior an intimate friend of the saint. The other was poor, and F. Francis Chrysostom was prior there, the other person whom he had formerly corrected, and who was no less his enemy than F. Diego. The love of suffering made St. John prefer this house of Ubeda. The fatigue of his journey had caused his leg to swell exceedingly, and it burst in many places from the heel quite to the knee, besides five ulcers or wounds under his foot. He suffered excessive pains from the violence of the inflammation, and from the frequent incisions and operations of the surgeons, from the top to the bottom of his leg. His fever all this time allowed him no rest. These racking pains he suffered three whole months with admirable patience, in continual peace tranquillity, and joy, never making the least complaint, but often embracing the crucifix and pressing it close upon his breast when the pain was very sharp. The unworthy prior treated him with the utmost inhumanity, forbade anyone to be admitted to see him, changed the infirmarian because he served him with tenderness, locked him up in a little cell, made him continual harsh reproaches, and would not allow anything but the hardest bread and food, refusing him even what seculars sent in for him; all which the saint suffered with joy in his countenance. God himself was pleased to complete his sacrifice, and abandoned him for some time to a great spiritual dryness, and a state of interior desolation. But his love and patience were the more heroic. The provincial happening to come to Ubeda a few days before his death was grieved to see this barbarous usage, opened the door of his cell, and said that such an example of invincible patience and virtue ought to be public, not only to his religious brethren, but to the whole world. The prior of Ubeda opened his eyes, begged the saint's pardon, received his instructions for the government of his community, and afterwards accused and condemned himself with many tears. As for the saint himself, we cannot give a better description of the situation of his holy soul in his last moments than in his own words, where he speaks of the death of a saint," Perfect love of God makes death welcome, and most sweet to a soul. They who love thus, die with burning ardours and impetuous flights through the vehemence of their desires of mounting up to their beloved. The rivers of love in the heart, now swell almost beyond all bounds, being just going to enter the ocean of love. She seems already to behold that glory, and all things in her seem already turned into love, seeing there remains no other separation than a thin web, the prison of the body being almost broken." This seems the exact portraiture of the soul of our saint upon the point of leaving this world. Two hours before he died he repeated aloud the psalm with his brethren; then he desired one to read to him part of the book of Canticles, appearing himself in transports of joy. He at length cried out, "Glory be to God "; pressed the crucifix on his breast, and after some time said, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my soul"; with which words he calmly breathed forth his soul on the 14th of December, in 1591, being forty-nine years old, of which he had spent twenty-eight in a religious state. Almighty God exalted him after his death by several miracles; amongst which the cure of a nun of the Annunciation, at Neuf-Chateau, in Lorrain, struck with a palsy, in 1705, effected on the ninth day of a Novena of devotion to this saint, was juridically proved in the court of the Bishop of Toul. St. John was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726, and his office in the Roman Breviary was appointed on this 24th of November. His body remains at Segovia. A history of his revelations and many miracles, with an exact account of his writings, and mystical theology may be read in his life by F. Dositheus of Alexis.


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