From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Mon Nov 30 23:27:49 2020
There is a proper time for everything
There is a proper time for everything. I must learn not to do
things at the wrong time, that is, before I am ready or before
conditions are right. It is always a temptation to do something at
once, instead of waiting until the proper time. Timing is important. I
must learn, in the little daily situations of life, to delay action
until I am sure that I am doing the right thing at the right time. So
many lives lack balance and timing. In the momentous decisions and
crises of life, they may ask God's guidance, but into the small
situations of life, they rush alone.
--From Twenty-Four Hours a Day
1 December – Blessed John of Vercelli OP
Dominican Priest and Friar, Sixth Master General of the Order of
Preachers, Founder of the The Society of the Holy Name, Canon lawyer,
Professor – born in c 1205 at Mosso Santa Maria, Italy as Giovanni
Garbella and died in September 1283 at Montpelier, France of natural
John Garbella was born early in the 13th century, somewhere near
Vercelli. He studied at Paris and was ordained priest before 1229. He
taught canon law at the University of Paris. While he was professor
there, Blessed Jordan of Saxony (who was a friend of Saint Albert the
Great) came to Paris and John saw one after another of his best pupils
desert their careers to join the Dominicans. He seems to have
considered them quite objectively, without reference to himself, until
one day he had an interior voice that spoke to him that it was God’s
will for him to join the Dominicans. No one can say that John did not
respond with alacrity – he dropped everything and ran down the street.
“Let me go; I am on my way to God!” Jordan received him happily and
gave him the habit.
In 1232, John was sent to Vercelli to establish a convent there. He
built this and several other convents in Lombardy as houses of regular observance. While provincial of Lombardy, he also became inquisitor.
It was a particularly difficult moment. His brother in religion, St
Peter of Verona, had just been killed by the heretics in Como. The
entire countryside was in a state of war, with roving bands of
heretics and robbers. It was the task of the new inquisitor to try to
bring order out of this chaos and what John did was remarkable,
considering the situation. In spite of his heavy labours, which
included the supervision of 600 friars in 28 different cities (he
reached them only by walking), John of Vercelli established the ideals
of study and regular observance in all of his houses.
But it was also the good fortune of John of Vercelli to live in an age
that was well peopled by saints. He formed a close friendship with
Saint Louis, the king of France. Several of his tasks in the order, particularly the Commission on the Program of Studies, he shared with
Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Tarentaise
(the future Pope Innocent V). In such company one would need to have a
superior set of talents – John did.
In 1264 the chapter of the order met at Paris. Blessed Humbert had
resigned as master general of the order. John went to the chapter
hoping that he could resign as provincial of Lombardy. Instead of
escaping one office, he fell heir to a still more difficult one. He
was elected master general in 1264 and served in that capacity until
1283. John was then a man in his sixties and was, moreover,
handicapped by a crippled leg. However, he accepted the office which
would require him to walk, not only all over Lombardy but all over
Europe. It took a brand of courage and obedience that was little short
During the generalate of John of Vercelli, the relics of Saint Dominic
were transferred to the new tomb that had been prepared for it by
Nicholas of Pisa. When the transfer was made, John of Vercelli fixed
his seal on the tomb, the seals were still intact on their examination
in 1946. During the translation of the relics, according to the
account in the Vitae Fratrum, when the body of Saint Dominic was
exposed to view, the head was seen to turn towards John of Vercelli.
John, embarrassed, moved to another part of the church and gave his
place to a cardinal. Whereupon, the head of Saint Dominic was seen by
all to turn again in John’s direction!
On the death of Clement IV, John of Vercelli was very nearly elected
pope. Being warned of the possibility, he fled in fright. However, his
good friend Cardinal Visconti, was elected and took the name Gregory
X. He appointed John as legate on several different missions.
He was commissioned by the pope to draw up the Schema for the second
ecumenical council of Lyons in 1274–that council to which Saint Thomas Aquinas was hurrying when death found him on the road. At the council
John distinguished himself for his assistance by offering to the
council the talents of his best men. At the council, he accepted for
the Dominican Order the special commission of promoting reverence for
the Holy Name of Jesus and fighting blasphemy, which was, in that day
as in ours, a prevalent vice. He can thus be considered the founder of
the Holy Name Society, even though the Confraternity was not formed
Several precious relics were suitably enshrined by John of Vercelli.
These included several thorns from the Crown of Our Lord, which had
been given him by Saint Louis of France. The cord of Saint Thomas,
with which he had been guided by the angels and which he had worn
until death, was given into the care of the master general, who gave
it to the convent of Vercelli for safe keeping.
John’s career was rapidly reaching its end. In 1279, he presided over
the famous chapter of Paris at which the order made the doctrine of
Saint Thomas officially its own. The following year, he laid the
foundations of the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. One of his
last official acts was to provide for a work on the instruction of
novices (Benedictines, Dorcy).
He was buried at the Dominican convent at Montpelier but his tomb was desecrated by Calvinists in 1562 and his body disappeared. He was
Beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X (cultus confirmed), 1909 elevated him
to the honours of the altar.
When we have to reply to anyone who has insulted us, we should be
careful to do it always with meekness. A soft answer extinguishes the
fire of wrath. If we feel ourselves angry, it is better for us to be
silent, because we should speak amiss; when we become tranquil, we
shall see that all our words were culpable.
--St. Alphonsus Liguori
Today if you shall hear the voice of God, do not harden your hearts.
The first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year.
That Mass prepares us for the double coming (adventus) of mercy and
justice. That is why St. Paul tells us, in the Epistle, to cast off
sin in order that, being ready for the coming of Christ as our
Saviour, we may also be ready for His coming as our Judge, of which we
learn in the Gospel. Let us prepare ourselves, by pious aspirations
and by the reformation of our life, for this twofold coming. Jesus
Our Lord will reward those who yearn for Him and await Him: "Those who
trust in Him shall not be confounded."