Monday, January 7, 2008

St. Charles of Sezze

"God does not command us to live in hair shirts and chains, or to chastise our flesh with scourges, but to love Him above all things and our neighbor as ourselves." -Saint Charles of Sezze

John Charles Marchioni (1613-1670) was born in a very poor family, but very pious. He worked as a shepherd as a child, and his parents encouraged his vocation to the priesthood. Unfortunately, he was not a successful and good student like St. John Neumann. In fact, he had a hard time reading and writing, and there was no hope for him to success in the seminary. But this did not stop him from trying to be close to God. He became a Franciscan lay brother at age 22 at least. He did not go on foreign missions, because of his poor health, but did easier work like cooking and gardening at friaries near Rome.

Once he was asked to only give food to friars who were traveling by as a job. Charles strictly adhered to that rule, and then the alms to the friary decreased. After he was allowed to be more open to other travellers, the alms increased.

Charles worked among the plague victims, wrote several mystical works, and at the direction of his confessor, his autobiography: The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He had a strong devotion to the Eucharist and Passion, he had an open wound in his side that was opened during the raising of the Host during Mass, and the area was marked with a cross after his death.
Beatified in 1882, by Pope Leo XIII, and canonized on the 12th of April, 1959, by Pope John XXII.

St. Charles of Sezze, although you were not able to become a priest, you were still open to what God wanted of you. Help me to always be open to what God wants of me, and to accept all things that He wishes even though it may not always be my own desire. Please help me also to be kind to everyone, not just my own friends, but to others too.
I ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

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