Oct 9 – Memorial for Sts. Denis, Bishop, and Companions, Martyrs; Memorial for St. John Leonardi, Priest
St. Denis (d. 258) was a missionary to Paris, and its first bishop. His success roused the ire of local pagans, and he was imprisoned by the Roman governor. He was martyred in the persecutions of Valerius with Sts. Eleutherius and Rusticus. Legends have grown up around his torture and death, including one that has his body carrying his severed head some distance from his execution site. St. Genevieve built a basilica over his grave. His feast was added to the Roman calendar in 1568 by Pope St. Pius V, though it has been celebrated since 800.
- Patron Saint Index
St. John Leonardi (1541–1609) was the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He was born in Lucca, Tuscany in 1541 and ordained a priest in 1572. He first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of young people in his parish of Lucca. Then he founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
In 1574, he founded a community charged to deepen faith and devotion; this foundation occurred as part of the movement known as the Counter-Reformation. He worked with this community to spread the devotion to the Virgin Mary, to the Forty Hours and to frequent Communion.
This foundation received approval from Pope Paul V in 1614. He took his work to Rome where he became friends with St. Philip Neri, who held him in high regard for his qualities of firmness and judgement, and entrusted him to delicate works such as the reform of the Benedictan congregation of Montevergine.
He then founded with J. Vives the seminary of the Propagation of the Faith. He died in 1609, after dedicating himself to his brothers suffering from the influenza epidemic that was raging in Rome at that time.
The final Rule of his community was published in 1851. Two houses of the Clerks of the Mother of God were opened when he died; three others were opened during the 17th century. He was beatified in 1861 and canonised in 1938.
- Patron Saint Index, Wikipedia
But the Lord will be a shelter for his people
It has been a trying time these past two years with the COVID-19 pandemic entering a new phase and countries adopting different protocols of coping. Back home in Singapore, we have been dealing with a recent wave of infections and many grapple with the sometimes confusing directives. Naturally, the stress and strain is taking its toll on people, especially those with children who have to cope with home-based learning and upcoming national exams. It is not surprising that while much of our ‘hardware’ seems to be coping well with the pandemic, it is our ‘heartware’, especially those who are more vulnerable and in need of financial assistance, that is now suffering and trying their best to cope. Our youth, in particular, are having to deal with pressures at school. A recent ‘never before’ episode of a slaying within a high school illustrates the gravity of the situation plaguing our children.
A few years ago, I was shocked to receive news of the death of a friend’s daughter from an apparent suicide. She was only 19 years old and had a full life ahead of her. While I had not really kept in touch with him over the years, I was quite sure that as a parent, he would have been totally devastated. From his Facebook postings, I could tell that he was a devoted and loving father, always going on trips with his family and certainly always providing the best for them. I just wonder if all that is enough in today’s world, and whether we really need to focus on God even more, in the face of all the creature comforts that are so easily available to us these days.
Brothers and sisters, in times of peril and distress, who or what do we turn to in order to feel better? Is it our bank book, the casinos, or do we employ ‘retail therapy’ and splurge on luxury goods and seek to enrich ourselves in ways that we think will assuage our feelings of pain and unworthiness?
Or do we turn to the Lord and spend time with him in adoration, or at mass (to be able to attend is a real blessing in these times), listening to His voice and promptings, seeking counsel in His loving embrace? Brothers and sisters, while it is extremely difficult to receive any form of ‘instant gratification’ from our prayers, we must always have faith that our Lord is always there to provide for us and to shelter us from the raging storms both around us and within us.
I have been dealing with a variety of ‘storms’ over the past few months and have begun to understand how seeking refuge in prayer, in adoration and, especially so in the loving arms of Mother Mary can indeed bring joy, hope and peace within. It is ultimately all a matter of perspective – do we seek solace in the material world that provides fleeting satisfaction? Or can we humble ourselves to trust in the eternal gratification that our Lord provides through confession, adoration, the sacred rosary and in the Eucharist?
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are you amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Thanksgiving: I thank you Lord, for the trials that come our way. And for the hope that you bring in your gentle, caring way.