Saturday, November 7, 2009

Memorial of Bl Francis of Jesus Mary and Joseph

"Francis Palau y Quer possessed a true "passion for the Church." Born into a poor family in Lerida, Spain, in 1812, Francis began his seminary training in his hometown at the age of sixteen. He entered the Discalced Carmelite Order and was professed in 1833, and ordained to the priesthood three years later. These were years of growing anticlericalism but Francis was unafraid. Years later he wrote, "on the day of my priestly ordination I was consecrated to your service…I am all yours with all that I do, all that I am and possess."

Religious persecution in Spain, forced Francis into exile. From 1840-1851 he found refuge in France. Upon his return, Francis opened up a school of catechetics, called "the school of virtue." Anticlerical sentiment and false reports concerning the school and its founder were lodged even to aligning the school with political rebellion. Attempts to defend his cause resulted in his being exiled to the island of Ibiza for "insubordination."

Alone and abandoned, Father Francis used his time wisely and found God in the silence and solitude of that island. He even formed a little community. A spiritual renewal and transformation took place on the island and the little chapel of Es Cubello later became the Marian center and shrine of Ibiza.

Returning to Spain, Francis continued his work for the Church and the people. He founded an apostolic community of Carmelite Sisters and of Brothers. Father Francis saw it as an answer to the problems and needs of modern day men and women and labored to make the Order known. He served as a consulter at the First Vatican Council in Rome and died in Tarragon on March 20th, 1872."
-- Biography taken from the Byzantine Discalced Carmelites' website.
"God in His providence has ordained not to cure our ills or grant us grace without the intervention of prayer. He wishes us to help in saving each other by means of our prayer. If the heavens showered down dew, and the clouds rained the righteous One, if the earth opened to bring forth the Savior, it was God’s good pleasure that his coming should be preceded by the prayers of that singular Virgin who by the beauty of her virtues drew into her womb the uncreated Word of God. The Redeemer came, and by constant prayer he reconciled the world to the Father. If Christ’s prayer and the fruits of his redemptive work are to be applied to any nation or people, or if the gospel message is to enlighten them and they are to have someone to administer the sacraments, it is indispensable that someone or even many persons should have previously won them over and reconciled them to God by earnest entreaties and supplications, by prayers and sacrifices.

For this purpose, among others, the Eucharistic sacrifice is offered on our altars. This sacred Victim which we present to the Father every day, accompanied by our own petitions, is not simply destined to recall the memory of the life, passion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also to oblige God in his goodness to show his graciousness in applying the graces of his Son’s redemption to the nation, province, city, village, or to whatever person or persons for whom the Mass is offered. It is precisely here that we plead with the Father for the redemption of the world, namely, for the conversion of the nations. Before the grace of redemption is applied to the world or, in other words, before the standard of the cross is lifted up among the nations, God the Father ordains that his only Son, made man, should plead with him by means of prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, in the anguish of death and through the shedding of his blood, especially on the altar of the cross that was raised on Calvary.

In order that God might give his grace to those who do not or cannot ask it, or who do not wish to ask it, he enjoined us to pray for one another, so that we might be saved. If God gave the grace of conversion to Saint Augustine, it was due to the prayers of Saint Monica; nor would the Church have Saint Paul, according to one of the Fathers, were it not for the prayers of Saint Stephen.

It is noteworthy in this context that the Apostles, who were sent to preach and to teach all nations, acknowledged that the results of their preaching sprang from prayer more than from their words. In fact, at the election of the seven deacons who were charged with external works of charity, they said: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Notice carefully that they say they would devote themselves first of all to prayer and only afterwards to the ministry of the Word. For they would never convert any nation until prayer had first obtained the grace of its conversion. Christ prayed throughout his entire life, whereas he spent only three years preaching.

Since God does not distribute his graces to men except through prayer, because he wishes us to recognize him as the source from which all good things flow; in like manner, he does not wish to save us from danger, or cure our wounds, or console us in affliction, except by means of this same exercise of prayer."

-- Struggle of the Soul with God by Bl Francis Palau y Quer

Bl Francis, pray for us!

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