Posted on 04/2/2020 06:00 AM (Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org)
Saint Francis of Paola
Saint of the Day for April 2
(March 27, 1416 – April 2, 1507)
Saint Francis of Paola’s Story
Francis of Paola was a man who deeply loved contemplative solitude and wished only to be the “least in the household of God.” Yet, when the Church called him to active service in the world, he became a miracle-worker and influenced the course of nations.
After accompanying his parents on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, he began to live as a contemplative hermit in a remote cave near Paola, on Italy’s southern seacoast. Before he was 20, he received the first followers who had come to imitate his way of life. Seventeen years later, when his disciples had grown in number, Francis established a Rule for his austere community and sought Church approval. This was the founding of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474.
In 1492, Francis changed the name of his community to “Minims” because he wanted them to be known as the least (minimi) in the household of God. Humility was to be the hallmark of the brothers as it had been in Francis’s personal life. Besides the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Francis enjoined upon his followers the fourth obligation of a perpetual Lenten fast. He felt that heroic mortification was necessary as a means for spiritual growth.
It was Francis’s desire to be a contemplative hermit, yet he believed that God was calling him to the apostolic life. He began to use the gifts he had received, such as the gifts of miracles and prophecy, to minister to the people of God. A defender of the poor and oppressed, Francis incurred the wrath of King Ferdinand of Naples for the admonitions he directed toward the king and his sons.
Following the request of Pope Sixtus IV, Francis traveled to Paris to help Louis XI of France prepare for his death. While ministering to the king, Francis was able to influence the course of national politics. He helped to restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families, and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.
Francis died while at the French court.
The life of Francis of Paola speaks plainly to an overactive world. He was a contemplative man called to active ministry and must have felt keenly the tension between prayer and service. Yet, in Francis’s life it was a productive tension, for he clearly utilized the fruits of contemplation in his ministry, which came to involve the workings of nations. He responded so readily and so well to the call of the Church from a solid foundation in prayer and mortification. When he went out to the world, it was not he who worked but Christ working through him—“the least in the household of God.”
Posted on 04/1/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Living within a quarantine of indeterminate length, many parents are having their first experience of becoming hands-on in the academic and spiritual instruction of our children. Word on Fire Institute Education Fellow Robert Mixa brings us a helpful interview on the benefits and challenges of homeschooling, whether planned or circumstantial, featuring Kathleen Vogt. Kathleen is the wife of Word on Fire’s Content Director, Brandon Vogt. She studied at Florida State University where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. She and Brandon have six children, with a seventh due in July, and they live on a small farm outside Orlando, FL. There she homeschools their four oldest children. Kathleen would be happy to answer any questions you might have about homeschooling at [email protected] RM: How did you get involved in homeschooling? KV: Growing up, I went to Catholic school for grades K-8 and then switched…
Posted on 03/31/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Sermon Podcast)
On Palm Sunday, we are privileged to listen to one of the great Passion narratives. In Matthew’s account, we see Jesus as a still-point in the maelstrom, as God’s fidelity amidst a cacophony of sin. In the course of the Passion, Jesus confronts betrayal, laziness, violence, untruth, abuse of power, self-destruction, and wanton cruelty—the whole panoply of human dysfunction. And he takes away this sin precisely by his obedience and his mercy. Mass Readings Reading 1 – Isaiah 50:4-7 Psalm – Psalm 22:8-24 Reading 2 – Phillipians 2:6-11 Gospel – Matthew 26:14-27:66…
Posted on 03/31/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
The Word on Fire Institute is happy to introduce its readers and students to Dr. Holly Ordway, Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute, Visiting Professor at Houston Baptist University, and the author of Apologetics and the Christian Imagination. Dr. Ordway is a former atheist who speaks and writes movingly of her journey into Catholicism and the vocation she has found there. Here she discusses her role as a Fellow of Faith and Culture with Andrew Petiprin, himself a Fellow of Popular Culture here at Word on Fire. AP: Your new role at the Word on Fire Institute is “Fellow of Faith and Culture.” Welcome! What will your work entail, and what will Institute members and fans of Word on Fire content be getting from you in the months and years to come? HO: Thanks! I’m delighted to be joining the team. As Fellow…
Posted on 03/30/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
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Posted on 03/29/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
Not infrequently, in the middle of a harried day in clinic or after an onerous day slinging emails on the computer, I find myself—in my mind’s eye—nestled in a dimly lit room, swallowed in an oversized chair, reading a classic work of literature. It may be a doorstop novel, lofty poetry, or a series of penetrating essays. No matter. Only one thing is certain: it is old. Who might I be reading? It may be William Shakespeare, Michel de Montaigne, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alexandre Dumas, Dante Alighieri, or the Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy writers from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I am entranced by G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Georges Bernanos, T.S. Eliot, and P.G. Wodehouse. But every so often, I hear the criticism that I don’t read enough “modern” writers. Modern writers,…
Posted on 03/26/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
When I was in college in the mid-2000s—right around the time “Thefacebook” and Myspace launched and cell phones were suddenly everywhere—I became fascinated by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s writings on the press, which seemed to anticipate the dangers of the digital world by 150 years. (Hubert Dreyfus—whose book On the Internet Robert Mixa explores in the latest issue of Evangelization & Culture—was all over the connection.) Kierkegaard saw that flattened, disembodied communication had a deeply dehumanizing effect, turning passion into reflection, commitment into chatter, and concrete individuals into an abstract “public.” A key element of his critique of the press was its anonymity. Here is the ever-passionate Kierkegaard in his Point of View: The fact that an anonymous author by the help of the press can day by day find occasion to say (even about intellectual, moral, and religious matters) whatever he pleases…
Posted on 03/25/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Blog Feed)
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Posted on 03/24/2020 20:00 PM (Word On Fire Sermon Podcast)
The great Lenten readings for Cycle A move in a kind of crescendo from thirst, to blindness, to death—all metaphors for spiritual dysfunction. This Sunday’s Gospel deals with death through the story of Lazarus who, after four days in his tomb, represents someone who is totally sunk in sin, totally dead spiritually. The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life—no matter what we’ve done, and no matter how dead we are. Mass Readings Reading 1 – Ezekiel 37:12-14 Psalm – Psalm 130:1-8 Reading 2 – Romans 8:8-11 Gospel – John 11:1-45…