Archive for November, 2008

13th November – Blessed Eugene Bossilkov C.P.

10 November, 2008

[Three saintly Passionists – St. Vincent Mary Strambi, St. Paul of the Cross and Blessed Eugene Bossilkov – Painting at Passionist Monastery, Brugnato, Italy]

BEATIFICATION HOMILY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

“They drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4). The martyr Bishop, Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, drank from the supernatural Rock which is Christ. Faithfully following the charism of St Paul of the Cross, founder of his congregation, he intensively cultivated the spirituality of the Passion. He also dedicated himself without reserve to the pastoral service of the Christian community entrusted to his care and faced the supreme trial of martyrdom without hesitation.

Bishop Bossilkov thus became the Church’s radiant glory in his country. A fearless witness to the Cross of Christ, he is one of the many victims sacrificed by atheistic communism in Bulgaria and elsewhere, in its plan to destroy the Church.

In those times of harsh persecution, many looked to him and drew from his example of courage the strength to remain faithful to the Gospel to the very end. I am pleased, on this festive day for the Bulgarian nation, to honour those who, like Bishop Bossilkov, paid with their lives for adhering without reserve to the faith they received in Baptism.

Bishop Bossilkov was able wonderfully to combine an intense spiritual life and constant attention to the needs of his brethren with his mission as priest and Bishop. Today he is presented to us as an eminent figure of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, not only because of his extensive learning, but for his constant ecumenical concern and his heroic fidelity to the See of Peter.

When the communist regime’s hostility to the Church become more determined and threatening, Bl. Bossilkov chose to stay by his people, although he knew that this meant risking his life. He was not afraid to face the storm of persecution. When he sensed the moment of supreme trial, he wrote to the Superior of his religious Province: “I have the courage to live; I hope I will also have it to suffer the worst and to stay faithful to Christ, to the Pope and to the Church!” (Letter XIV).

And so this Bishop and martyr, who throughout his life strove to be a faithful image of the Good Shepherd, became one in an altogether special way at the moment of death when he united his blood with that of the Lamb sacrficed for the world’s salvation. What a shining example for us all, called to bear faithful witness to Christ and his Gospel! What a great encouragement for those who today are still suffering injustice and oppression because of their faith! May the example of this martyr, whom we contemplate today in the glory of the blesseds, instil faith and zeal in all Christians, especially those of the beloved Bulgarian nation which from now on can invoke him as its heavenly protector.

St. Paul of the Cross on Solitude

5 November, 2008

FROM THE LETTERS OF ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS

My poor soul is much inclined to solitude. (Letter 40)

I hope in God that we will praise His Divine Majesty together in this solitude and prepare our hearts for the Lord. (44)

Love silence, internal and external solitude in choir and in your room. Be gentle with all. (67)

God is preparing a treasure of graces and blessings for you in solitude. (123)

If you come here, he agrees that you be given a distant room for solitude, so as to help your prayer … (133)

The Sovereign Good speaks in the midst of sacred solitude to devout hearts. (134)

These urges you feel to seek solitude are from the Holy Spirit. (140)

Jesus is calling you into this holy solitude to speak words of eternal life to your heart, words which will be as sweet as honey. (144)

Above all, I recommend to you a holy internal solitude. (256)

The Retreats are to be founded in solitude so that the workers, worn out by their apostolic work, can rest their spirit at the foot of the Crucified in prayer and fasting, apart from all the noise of the world. (288)

Hold on to your inner solitude by treating one-on-one with the Sovereign Good in your heart. Keep your interior quiet, serene, peaceful, and recollected; and drive off upsets, fears, or scruples as the plague. (395)

Continue your solitude in the Divine Heart of Jesus and stay there like an infant taking its milk. (453)

Enjoy a bit of holy solitude. (619)

Now is the time to work, to suffer, and to be silent, remaining continually in solitude with your Divine Spouse. (1616)

Remain always recollected in God in interior solitude and do not seek any consolation other than to be pleasing to God and doing his Holy Will. (1386)

Keep in the Presence of God in the solitude and desert of your heart, and in this way you will live a happy life of a saint, even in the midst of the noise of the world. Speak little and let yourself be seen little. Jesus bless you and make you as holy as I desire. (1267)

St. Paul of the Cross on Prayer

4 November, 2008

FROM THE LETTERS OF ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS

It is necessary to make prayer not in our way, but in God’s way. (73)

The greatest mistake you have made is to leave off prayer. (130)

Keep yourself in the Presence of God and in that way there will be a continuous prayer in the midst of all your business. (192)

I ask you to greet in Jesus Christ your wife, your sons, and your daughters, whom I see in the holy Heart of Jesus and for whom I entertain high hopes. Accustom them, little by little, to holy prayer. Accommodate yourself to their tender age. Let them speak to God with gentleness and sweetness in a pleasing manner, and you will have done a good job, and they will become holy. (605)

With regard to prayer, do it with your family in your home. (744)

Prayer is not to be made in our mode, but as the Holy Spirit wishes. (779)

Never be idle. Join your work with internal prayer, that is, with a loving attention to the Highest Good, and carry on the altar of your heart the sufferings of Jesus. (967)

I have recommended holy prayer to you much. It is very necessary for every Christian. (999)

Prayer does not totally consist in being on ones knees. (1034)

You need to continue to stay within the bosom of God, for that is the place of prayer and the great school where the science of the saints is learned. (1507)

Never neglect prayer. (1663)

Be faithful in not passing up prayer, and do what little you can. (1938)

You can make your prayer even from your bed …. Go to your room and go to bed. If sleep does not come, from your very bed you can make your prayer without being seen by anyone; if sleep comes, sleep to restore nature with some rest. (1951)

Be a great friend of holy prayer and meditation on the holy Life, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. (1977)

If you have no feeling of God at prayer and at Communion, nor during the day, that is not important. Is it sufficient that you do not neglect prayer …. (2041)

Virtues are the fruit of true prayer. (2052)

John Paul II on Blessed Pio Campidelli

2 November, 2008

At his Beatification on 17th November 1985, Pope John Paul II spoke of the young Passionist, Pio Campidelli –

In the International Year of Youth, Pio Campidelli, Brother Pio of Saint Aloysius, is raised to the glory of the altars. This young man, like savoury salt, gave his life for his land, for his people. He offered his life for the Church, the Pope, the conversion of sinners and his Romangna.

Brother Pio found the fundamental value in his religious life in the very gift of himself. This essential trait of his interior physiognomy was especially evident to others at the moment of his death when “fully aware of his imminent consummation, he continued daily to offer to fulfil his sacrifice perfectly in order to conform himself to the will of God; he offered it for the Church … and in particular for the good of his beloved Romagna (Canonical Process). Only at that moment did the particular note of his virtue express itself, which revealed the style of his entire spiritual experience.

From childhood on, Pio Campidelli, had felt an attraction to prayer, liturgy and religious instruction and, sustained by the good example of his family, he maintained it enthusiastically, showing it with expressions typical of innocent childhood, such as devotion to Our Lady, the Blessed Sacrament, and the Crucified.

Having entered the Passionists, he found there a favourable climate for the development of his predominant desire to live in union with God in his very internal intimacy, and to prepare himself to involve others in this passionate experience through the exercise of priestly ministry. He was not able, however, to attain the priesthood because God called him to himself at the age of twenty one. In the special vow of the Passionists to continue the memory of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, Pio learned how totally to involve his own life, thereby realizing his mission of the specific vocation of his religious family. He came from a poor family, his health was always frail, his intelligence average; yet he never considered his poverty and limitations a misfortune, nor was he frustrated by them. He nevertheless fulfulled his greatest potential because he “sought wisdom in prayer .. from his youth he followed her steps … and found there much instruction” (cf. Sir 51:13-16).

Thus Brother Pio was true “salt for the earth” for those who knew him while he was alive and continues to be “salt” for those who draw near to the luminous testimony of his example”.

[Source: L’Osservatore Romano, 25th November 1985, p. 3]

Responding with grace and generosity ….

2 November, 2008

Another photo of the Passionist Sign belonging to Blessed Pio Campidelli and in front of the Sign, the belt worn with his habit.  These relics are in the care of Father Giovanni Zubiani, C.P., Postulator General of the Passionists.

FROM JOHN PAUL II’S BOOK OF SAINTS (1998)

Passionist Victim of Love

Age is not a factor in the science of the saints. Almighty God demonstrates again and again that the very young can respond to grace with generosity and with an ardor that astonishes the world. Blessed Pio Campidelli was one of the young holy ones, destined to shine forever for the glory of God and as a shimmering jewel of the Passionist Congregation.

He was born in Trebbio, near Rimini, on 29th April 1868, and was baptized Luigi on the same day. The fourth of six children, he was the son of Joseph and Filomena Campidelli, farmers of the region. Pius’s father died of typhoid fever in 1874 and an uncle came to the farm to help with the heavier work. Pius laboured on the farm, a tract of land that demanded the time and energies of the entire family. He managed to attend school and served as an altar boy.  

Pius and his family attended a Passionist mission. He applied for admission to the Congregation and was accepted in 1882, taking the religious name Brother Pius of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Pius took his first vows on 30th April 1884 and began studying for the priesthood. In 1871, he received the tonsure and minor orders.

It was then discovered that Pius was in the last stages of tuberculosis, doomed to an early death by the ravages of the disease. Pius accepted the medical prognosis with serenity, declaring that he was a willing victim of love for the Church. Surrounded by the Passionists, whom he thanked for their concern and care, he died in Casale on 2nd November 1889.

Pope John Paul II beatified Pius on 17th November 1985. The Holy Father honoured Pius, declaring: “It is fitting that this year should see him honoured and put before all young people as a model and an inspiration.”