From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jan 6 23:30:31 2021
Abstain and Sustain
"Two are the commands given us for this life of ours; to abstain
and to sustain. To abstain from those things that are considered good
by the world, and to sustain the many things that are bad in the
This requires continence and endurance. Continence means not to
rely on worldly happiness. Endurance signifies not to give way to
--St. Augustine--Sermon 38, 1
Prayer: Lord, you are with us. You deliver us from our wretched
errors, establish us on your path, and encourage us.
--St. Augustine--Confessions 6, 16
7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort OP
Known as the “Father of Canon Law” – Master of the Order of
Preachers, Archbishop, Dominican Priest, Confessor, Evangelist,
Missionary, Theologian,Teacher, Philosopher, Lawyer of both Canon and
Civil Law, Writer, Spiritual Director and Adviser, Preacher, miracle
worker. Born as Raimundo de Peñafort in 1175 at Peñafort, Catalonia,
Spain and died on 6 January 1275, aged 100 years old, at Barcelona,
Spain of natural causes . Patronages – attorneys, barristers,
lawyers, canon lawyers, medical record librarians, Barcelona, Spain,
As a lawyer, priest and preacher, St Raymond of Penyafort made a
significant mark on the history of Spain and the church. His preaching
helped re-Christianise Spain after the Moors were overthrown. And his compilation of papal and conciliar decrees, it was the main source of
canon law for seven centuries.
Raymond of Peñafort was born in Vilafranca del Penedès, a small town
near Barcelona, Catalonia, around 1175 . Descended from a noble
family with ties to the royal house of Aragon, he was educated in
Barcelona and at the University of Bologna, where he received
doctorates in both civil and canon law.
An accomplished lawyer and scholar, Raymond joined the Dominicans at
Barcelona in 1222. The 47-year-old novice was assigned to develop a
book of case studies for confessors that helped to shape the medieval church’s penitential system. Also a gifted preacher, Raymond had
remarkable success evangelising Moors and Jews. And he travelled
throughout Spain rejuvenating the spiritual life of Christians that
the Moors had enslaved. Among his main themes were spiritual combat
and standing firm in trials. Listen to his voice in this letter:
“The preacher of God’s truth has told us that all who want to live righteously in Christ will suffer persecution. . . . the only
exception to this general statement is, I think, the person who either neglects, or does not know how, to live temperately, justly and
righteously in this world.
May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet
and free from care, those on whom the Lord’s chastisement does not
descend, those who live out their days in prosperity and in the
twinkling of an eye will go down to hell.
Your purity of life, your devotion, deserve and call for a reward,
because you are acceptable and pleasing to God, your purity of life
must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain
perfect sincerity of heart. If from time to time you feel the sword
falling on you with double or treble force, this also should be seen
as sheer joy and the mark of love. The two-edged sword consists in
conflict without, fears within. It falls with double or treble force
within, when the cunning spirit troubles the depths of your heart with
guile and enticements. . . . The sword falls with double and treble
force externally when, without cause, persecution breaks out from
within the church, where wounds are more serious, especially when
inflicted by friends.
This is that enviable and blessed cross of Christ . . . the cross in
which alone we must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument,
has told us.”
In 1230, Pope Gregory IX brought Raymond to Rome as his confessor. The reputation of the saint for juridical science decided the pope to
employ Raymond of Peñafort’s talents in re-arranging and codifying the canons of the Church. He had to rewrite and condense decrees that had
been multiplying for centuries and which were contained in some twelve
or fourteen collections already existing. We learn from a Bull of
Gregory IX to the Universities of Paris and Bologna, that many of the
decrees in the collections were but repetitions of ones issued before,
many contradicted what had been determined in previous decrees and
many, on account of their great length, led to endless confusion,
while others had never been embodied in any collection and were of
The pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the
doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231 and commanded that
the work of St Raymond alone, should be considered authoritative and
should alone, be used in the schools. Because they were so well
arranged, canonists relied on Raymond’s Decretals until the new
codification of 1917.
When Raymond completed his work, the pope appointed him Archbishop of
Tarragona but the saint declined the honour. After declining the
appointment of Archbishop, he could not avoid his election as the
third general of the Dominicans in 1238. But when he reformed the
Dominican rule, he slipped in a clause allowing early retirement of
office holders. And he used it to retire in 1240.
But he continued to work 35 more years, focusing on bringing Jews and
Moors to Christ. To equip Catholics for this work, he introduced the
study of Hebrew and Arabic among Dominicans and persuaded Thomas
Aquinas to write his Summa Contra Gentes as an evangelistic tool.
Raymond told his general that ten thousand Moors had been baptised
through the efforts of the Dominicans. He died at 100 years of age in
St Raymond was Canonised by Pope Clement VIII in 1601. He was buried
in the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.
“This is that enviable
and blessed Cross of Christ . . .
the Cross in which alone,
we must make our boast,
God’s chosen instrument,
has told us.”
--St Raymond of Peñafort
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:27-28 )
From a letter by Saint Raymond
Look then on Jesus, the author and preserver of faith: in complete sinlessness he suffered, and at the hands of those who were his own,
and was numbered among the wicked. As you drink the cup of the Lord
Jesus (how glorious it is!), give thanks to the Lord, the giver of all blessings.
May the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest and speed you
on your journey; may he meanwhile shelter you from disturbance by
others in the hidden recesses of his love, until he brings you at last
into that place of complete plenitude where you will repose for ever
in the vision of peace, in the security of trust, and in the restful
enjoyment of his riches.