Gifted with a precocious intelligence, since the beginnings of his infancy he gave clear indications of his inclination towards the things of God. In these years he received the first visit of what would be his companion: the illness that would force him to interrupt his studies.
Once recovered from it, his father, in thanksgiving for what he considered the special intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, took him to Zaragoza towards the end of the summer of 1922, where he consecrated him to the Virgin of the Pilar.
His family moved to Oviedo, and there Rafael continued his studies, enrolling himself in the Architecture School in Madrid.
With a brilliant intelligence, Rafael was gifted with profound qualities for friendship. As he grew in age and developed his personality, his spiritual experience of christian life also grew.
In his well disposed heart, God wanted to inspire the invitation to a special consecration in the monastic life. Having made contact with the cistercian monastery of St Isidro de Dueñas, he felt stronly attracted by what he saw was the place that matched his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934.
God wanted to mysteriously try him with a difficult illness - insulin resistant diabetes - which forced him to abandon the monastery three times, where he would then return with a generous and faithful disposition to what he felt was the call of God.
Sanctified in the joyful fidelity to the monastic life and the loving acceptance of God's plans, his life was consumed early in the morning of April 26, 1938, after having just turned 27 years old. He was buried in the monastery's cemetery.
His fame of sanctity soon spread beyond the monastic walls. With the fragance of his life, his numerous writings continue to be diffused with great acceptance and for the benefit of all who have come in contact with him.
On August 20, 1989, His Holiness John Paul II, on occasion of the World Youth Day, proposed him as a model for all youth in Santiago de Compostela [Spain], declaring him Blessed on September 27, 1992, for the joy of the holy Church and as a pledge of graces for the entire people of God.
-- Adapted from Boletín Informativo del Beato Rafael and translated by ocdsister
"Today was a happy day for me. In holy communion I have promised the Lord not to abandon him in these days of his sacred Passion. Always with me, deep inside my heart, very close to the sufferings of your Corss. Jesus, do not let me withdraw myself from you. Sweet Jesus, how I love you!
As I approached to receive communion, I remembered the apostle John, whom you let rest on your chest during the Last Supper. Do I have to envy him? His virtues, yes, but not your love...
My Jesus, I am not worthy, you know that, and yet you let me rest beside your divine heart as the beloved disciple. I promise to love you much, like no one in the community, more than all together, and not abandon you in your pains and most sacred Passion.
Virgin Mary, help me to be faithful to my good Jesus."
-- From the writings of Brother Rafael, translated by ocdsister
Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Bl Rafael today at St Peter's Square in the Vatican. Saint Brother Rafael, pray for us!