"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sermons of the Saints: The Love of Christ Drives Us On

The Love of Christ Drives Us On

 From a Work by Saint Anthony Claret, Bishop (1807-1870)

The Love of Christ Drives Us On

Driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the holy apostles traveled throughout the earth. Inflamed with the same fire, apostolic missionaries have reached, are now reaching and will continue to reach the ends of the earth, from one pole to the other, in order to proclaim the word of God. They are deservedly able to apply to themselves those words of the apostle Paul: The love of Christ drives us on.

The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly, lifted on the wings of holy zeal. The man who truly loves God also loves his neighbor. The truly zealous man is also one who loves, but he stands on a higher plane of love so that the more he is inflamed by love, the more urgently zeal drives him on. But if anyone lacks this zeal, then it is evident that love and charity have been extinguished in his heart. The zealous man desires and achieves all great things and he labors strenuously so that God may always be better known, loved and served in this world and in the life to come, for this holy love is without end.
Because he is concerned also for his neighbor, the man of zeal works to fulfill his desire that all men be content on this earth and happy and blessed in their heavenly homeland, that all may be saved, and that no one may perish for ever, or offend God, or remain even for a moment in sin. Such are the concerns we observe in the holy apostles and in all who are driven by the apostolic spirit.
For myself, I say this to you: The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he desires and works with all his strength to inflame all men with the fire of God’s love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings

Saint Anthony Claret (1807-1870) was born at Salent in Spain in 1807. After being ordained a priest in 1835, he traveled many years through Catalonia preaching to the people of Spain. He founded a society of missionaries known as the Claretians and after being named Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, he won renown for his pastoral zeal. He often had to preach in public squares because the crowds for the mission were too large for the churches. Extraordinary signs accompanied his missions. It was said a “remarkable light” surrounded him as he celebrated Mass. Once, a massive hailstorm spared the crops of those attending his services. To spread his work further, in 1849 he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: The Claretian Missionaries. After returning to Spain, he served the courts as confessor to Queen Isabella and continued his work for the Church. He established hospitals, libraries and seminaries and wrote some 140 books. By 1866, his Religious Publishing House had published four million books and pamphlets. Anthony was a participant in the First Vatican Council called by Pope Pius IX in 1869. He created two missionary orders, one for priests, another for nuns, always encouraging them to “strive for the salvation of souls using all means possible.” He died at Fontfroide in France in 1870 at the age of 63 and was canonized a saint in 1950.

 Saint Anthony Claret


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