Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paschal's spare moments...

In Paschal's lifetime the Spanish empire in the New World was at the height of its power, though France and England were soon to reduce its influence. The 16th century has been called the Golden Age of the Church in Spain, for it gave birth to Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, Francis Solano and Salvator of Horta.

Paschal's Spanish parents were poor and pious. Between the ages of seven and 24 he worked as a shepherd and began a life of mortification. He was able to pray on the job and was especially attentive to the church bell which rang at the Elevation during Mass. Paschal had a very honest streak in him. He once offered to pay owners of crops for any damage his animals caused!

In 1564 Paschal joined the Friars Minor and gave himself wholeheartedly to a life of penance. Though he was urged to study for the priesthood, he chose to be a brother. At various times he served as porter, cook, gardener and official beggar.

Paschal was careful to observe the vow of poverty. He would never waste any food or anything given for the use of the friars. When he was porter and took care of the poor coming to the door, he developed a reputation for great generosity. The friars sometimes tried to moderate his liberality!

Paschal spent his spare moments praying before the Blessed Sacrament. In time many people sought his wise counsel. People flocked to his tomb immediately after his burial; miracles were reported promptly. In 1690 Paschal was canonized; in 1897 he was named patron of Eucharistic congresses and societies.
Courtesy of Saint of the Day

We have all of us so much to learn from people like Paschal. To give such priority to waiting on our Lord changes everything. We are no longer living for ourselves, in whatever strength we can find within ourselves, or whatever we can absorb, parasitically, from others; we are living for God, in the limitless supply of his grace, and our lives will become signs and beacons to everyone we encounter. Every day I spend outside this way is wasted. Do pray for me, really, please, that I will remember that, and listen; that when I turn to the right or when I turn to the left, I will hear a word behind me, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

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