The Rule, Article 4

Thursday, February 4, 2010

JOSEPH OF LEONISSA, Priest, First Order

Joseph Desideri (baptized Eufranio) was born in 1556 and joined the Capuchin Friars in 1572. He was noted for the purity and austerity of his life. In his zeal for the faith he went to Turkey where he was taken captive and tortured, but surprisingly he survived and escaped. Upon his return to his native land he labored with great success in apostolic endeavors, being favored with God's gifts. He died at Amatrice in 1612.

From the common of pastors, 1426, or holy men: religious 1470

From a sermon of St. Joseph of Leonissa:

The Gospel and the good news of our Lord's coming into the world through the Virgin Mary is not a matter of recording primarily on writing materials but in our hearts and souls. This is the difference between the written law and the law of grace. The former is called written because it was engraved on the tablets of stone, the latter is called the law of grace because it is imprinted on the hearts of men through the infusion of grace by the Holy Spirit. This is what was promised by the Lord according to Jeremiah: I will make a covenant with you not like the covenant I made with your fathers. Concerning this new covenant Scripture adds: I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts.

Every Christian, then must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the Gospel. This is what Saint Paul says to the Corinthians: Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh in the heart. Our heart is the parchment, through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because my tongue is nimble as the pen of a skillful scribe.

Would indeed that the preacher's tongue were moved by the Holy Spirit, dipped in the blood of the spotless Lamb and writing skillfully on your hearts today. But how can one writing be written over another writing? Without erasing the first the second cannot be written. But avarice, pride, wantonness and the rest of the vices have been written on your hearts. How will we write humility, uprightness and the rest of the virtues unless the previous vices are erased? If men had such writing on themselves each one, as we said would be a book and his life would teach others by his example. For this reason Paul adds: You are my letter, known and read by all men.

This is the method prelates and preachers should adopt in converting souls to draw all gently to the way of truth. We cannot persuade all men by the same methods. Therefore Paul, the beloved minister of Christ and the spiritual merchant, said: I became like a Jew to the Jews, to those not subject to the law I became like one not subject to it. Finally he adapted himself to all and added: I have made myself all things to all men in order to win all to Christ.

From: The Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

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