• Of growth of patience, and the struggle against evil desires

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    Of growth of patience, and the struggle against evil desires

    1 O Lord God, I see that patience is very necessary unto me; for
    many things in this life fall out contrary. For howsoever I may
    have contrived for my peace, my life cannot go on without strife
    and trouble.
    “Thou speakest truly, My Son. For I will not that thou seek
    such a peace as is without trials, and knoweth no adversities;
    but rather that thou shouldest judge thyself to have found peace,
    when thou art tried with manifold tribulations and proved by
    many adversities.
    --Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Book 3, Chapter 12

    26 October – Blessed Bonaventura of Potenza OFM Conv

    Priest and Religious of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual,
    Miracle-worker, blessed with the gift of prophecy – born on 4 January
    1651 of Potenza, Naples, Italy as born Carlo Antonio Gerardo Lavanga
    and died on 26 October 1711 in Ravello, Italy of gangrene while
    singing a psalm during a religious ecstasy.

    Bonaventura was born of poor but virtuous parents in Potenza in the
    kingdom of Naples. A pious priest gave the boy instructions in Latin.
    At the age of 15, Bonaventura received the Franciscan habit among the Conventuals. After his profession, he resumed his studies with great
    ardour but his zeal for perfection was less ardent.

    His superiors sent him to Amalfi, where he lived eight years under the
    guidance of an eminent director of souls. This spiritual director
    trained his pupil above all in humility, self-abnegation and obedience
    and Bonaventura achieved a high degree of perfection in these virtues.

    One day Bonaventure told his master that the key to the sacristy was
    lost. “Well,” said his master with a smile, “then you will have to
    look for it in the well, get a rod and fish it out.” Promptly
    Bonaventura went to the well and with rod and line fished for the key.
    It was not long before he actually drew it out. God rewarded him in a miraculous manner for his blind obedience.

    As a priest he laboured with remarkable success. His words, conduct,
    prayer and mortification combined to produce blessed results. His
    simple sermons made a deep impression on all hearts. At times, a
    single word of hi,s was enough to move the most hardened sinner to

    At various times he was appointed guardian of a convent but his humble
    pleas were always successful in changing the mind of his superiors.
    Obedience at length compelled him to accept the position of novice
    master. In this office he sought to inculcate in his pupils, above
    all, the practice of humility and obedience.

    When an epidemic broke out among the townsfolk, Bonaventura at once
    sacrificed himself. Fearless of contracting the disease, he hastened
    from end-to-end of the town, rendering every possible service to the
    stricken, even the lowliest and administering the sacraments to them.
    He cured many miraculously, he multiplied their insufficient
    provisions by his blessing and he foretold future events.

    After Bonaventura had been a shining model of virtue among his
    brethren for 45 years, he felt that his last hour was at hand. While
    the community gathered about his bed during the administration of the
    last sacraments, the dying man in touching words begged pardon of his
    superior and the community for his many faults and infractions of the
    rule, as he called them.
    Deeply moved, the superior handed him the crucifix and amid abundant
    tears, the servant of God kissed the feet of the Saviour and then died peacefully on 26 October 1711. Pope Pius VI Beatified him in 1775.

    Bishop Orazio Soricelli, Archbishop of Amalfi-Cava de ‘Tirreni ,
    called a special jubilee year dedicated to the Blessed Bonaventura da
    Potenza in his archdiocese. The jubilee year opened on 26 October
    2011, the third centenary of the death of the Blessed.


    Saint Quote:
    Live in such a way that all may know that you bear outwardly as well
    as inwardly the image of Christ crucified, the model of all gentleness
    and mercy.
    -- Saint Paul of the Cross

    1. Consider in Blessed Bonaventure the example of a saint who began
    with humility, advanced by humility, and reached the pinnacle of
    sanctity by humility. So much is sanctity bound up with humility. It
    rests on humility as its foundation, only by means of this virtue can
    it increase, and humility alone makes it possible to persevere in
    sanctity unto a blessed end. Learn from this how destructive spiritual
    pride must be. Anybody who is leading a religious life or striving
    after Christian perfection and proudly considers himself better than
    others or presumes to think he amounts to anything in the sight of
    God has a worm gnawing interiorly at all the good and pious practices
    he performs. He actually amounts to nothing before God, and if he
    persists in being proud he will eventually be lost. When spiritual
    pride had laid hold of the angels, they were cast into hell and became
    devils. Then the devil seduced our first parents by making them
    believe they would be like God.--Does he perhaps use the same ruse to
    tempt you?
    2. Consider how pride, like a smooth serpent, creeps in unobserved. It
    is part of our fallen nature. "Nature," says Thomas a Kempis (3:54),
    "labors for its own interests; it willingly receives honor and
    respect, but is afraid of shame and contempt." Hence it happens that
    we take pleasure in thinking of our good works and advantages, always
    speaking about ourselves, and in setting ourselves up as models for
    others. "Not he who commends himself is approved, but he whom God
    commends" (2 Cor 10:18). Recall the parable of the proud Pharisee and
    the humble publican, which our Lord addressed to those who trusted in
    their justice while they despised the rest of men. "This man went down
    into his house justified, rather than the other" (Luke 18:14).--Which
    of the two do you resemble?
    3. Consider how we should struggle against pride and self-sufficiency.
    We must often plead with God as did the Wise Man: "O Lord, Father and
    God of my life, leave me not to their devices. Give me not haughtiness
    of my eyes, and turn away from me all coveting" (Eccli 23:4-5). Then,
    too, for our humiliation, we should reflect on our faults and our
    sins. Just as the proud peacock, on spreading its brilliant feathers, immediately drops his wings when he sees his ugly feet, so will a look
    at our failures soon chase away pride. Finally, imitate Blessed
    Bonaventure by exercising yourself in acts of obedience and humility.
    Think of Mary, who called herself a handmaid of the Lord at a time
    when an angel announced God's greatest prerogatives of grace to her.
    Say to God: "O Lord I am Thy servant and the son of Thy handmaid" (Ps

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