Daily Reflection April 30 2008: Saint Pius V, Pope

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About the Saint:

Saint Pius V 1504-72, pope (1566-72), born to impoverished Italian nobility, the son of Paolo Ghislieri and Domenica Augeria. He worked as a shepherd as a boy and received an excellent education in piety and holiness, including a scholastic education from a Dominican friar; he joined the Order in 1518, taking the name Michele. He studied in Bologna, Italy and was Ordained in 1528 in Genoa, Italy. He was appointed teacher of philosophy and divinity in Genoa and Professor of theology in Pavia for sixteen years. He also became the Master of novices and prior of several Dominican houses, he worked for stricter adherence to the Order’s Rule. He became an Inquisitor in Como and Bergamo, Italy, and Commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. On 4 September 1556 Michele was ordained Bishop of Nepi and Sutri against his will. He was Inquisitor in Milan and Lombardy in 1556, and created Cardinal on 15 March 1557 and became Grand inquisitor on 14 December 1558. He became Bishop of Mondovi, Italy on 17 March 1560, and as bishop, Michele worked to lead his flock with words and examples, and served as a continual messenger encouraging personal piety and devotion to God.

Upon his ascension to the papacy, Pius V immediately faced the task of enacting the reforms of the Council of Trent he thus occupies a key position in the Counter Reformation, for his activity in those years just after the council insured the permanence of its work. New seminaries were opened, a new breviary, new missal, and new catechism were published; foundations were established to spread the Faith and preserve the doctrine of the Church. Pius spent much time personally working with the needy. Built hospitals and used the papal treasury to care for the poor. Pius faced many difficulties in the public forum, both in the implementation of the Tridentine reforms and interaction with other heads of state, and he created 21 cardinals. St. Pius was the first pope after the Reformation to put Catholicism on the political offensive. He united Venice and Spain with him against the Turks, an alliance that helped to bring the victory of Austria over the Turks at Lepanto. At the time of his death he was working on a Christian European alliance to break the power of the Islamic states. He was Canonized in 1712 and was succeeded by Gregory XIII.

Collect of the Day:

Father, you chose Saint Pius V as Pope of Your Church to protect the Faith and give You a more fitting worship. By his prayers help us to celebrate Your Holy Mysteries with a living faith and an effective love.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Corinthians: 4:1-5: We are to be as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the Mysteries of God.

The Gospel: John: 21:15-17: Take care of My lambs and My sheep.

In Today’s Epistle, St. Paul tells us:

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

Here St. Paul begins to state a fact that is very obvious and all too real, that in our work for Christ we are subject to the judgement of those around us both friend and enemy alike. Paul tell us that this is not a concern for him, and rightly so, we should not make the pleasing of others the yardstick of our unflinching fidelity to the Gospel of Christ, His love and His Divine Mercy. Although there is a sense in which we cannot disregard the judgement of our fellow Human Beings.

The odd fact is often, the judgement of our fellow humans is right on the money. This is mainly due to the fact that most people instinctively admire the basic qualities of honour, honesty, reliability, generosity, sacrifice and love. So this in itself heightens the fact that we must be fully transparent and fully accountable in our lives for Christ. That we practice what we proclaim to believe not striving for personal gain or accolades but rather making sure our actions point others to the greater Glory of God.

Antisthenes, an ancient Cynic Philosopher said:

” There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself, an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.”

Next Paul goes on to tell us that he does not even judge himself. This is another very good example from which we can glean a great treasure. Paul knows very well that in taking self inventory it is in our fallen natures to often gloss over our own shortcomings. That our judgement can become clouded by pride, conceit and self satisfaction. How far too many times have I heard people deny others the Mercy of Our Blessed Lord, and are yet all to willingly apply it to their own situations. So we must keep close to our hearts Our Blessed Lord’s teachings on the subject:

“Judge not lest you be judged.” “The same measure you give to others is the same measure that you will receive in return.” “Take the beam out of your own eye before you try to remove a slither from another’s.”

The ability to live with ourselves is crucial to keeping a stable mental health. A person can never escape from themselves, and if they lose their self respect life can indeed become intolerable.

For Paul the only real judgement that matters is the judgement of God. For only God knows all our innermost secrets an motives, how low we have ever sunken and to the heights to which we have attained. Humanity sees the deeds but God sees the intention. Many noble looking deeds can spring from ignoble motives, and many a deed that may look base may have been done with the best intentions. God made the human heart, and only He can judge it.

I would like to leave you with two final thoughts. Firstly is we escape all other judgements, we cannot escape the final judgement of God. Secondly judgement belongs to God alone, and we would do well not to judge anybody.

Msgr. Ian+

 Closing Prayer:

Lord God, in Your Providence you called Pope Saint Pius to defend the Faith and to enhance the dignity of Divine Worship. Give us grace, through his prayer, to worship You in Your Sacred Mysteries with an ardent faith and an active charity.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.



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