Wednesday, July 7, 2010

St. Joseph Cafasso: Model for Confessors and Spiritual Directors

"We are born to love, we live to love, and we will die to love still more."

"The spiritual theaters and places of amusement for Christians should be the sanctuaries and basilicas, and the tombs of the martyrs.

"The theatres, the spectacles, the festive halls for us priests to relax and take our recreation in, ought to be our churches, our oratories, our studies; our relaxations should be the administration of the Sacraments, visits to the sick, the works of our ministry."
~ St. Joseph Cafasso ~

In the matter of food, he mortified himself from his very infancy. One would imagine that he had no sense of taste for he preferred unsavory to tasty food. He fasted every Saturday even as a child, and from the time of his Ordination, every day was for him a fast day. For breakfast he took only a little bread without coffee or milk; for mid-day meal he took a plate of soup and a little bread but no fruit or sweets of any kind. When he became Rector, he began by waiting until dinner was nearly finished before he came; after some time, he did not come until dinner was over, and then he took a little bread and wine as he passed through the Refectory on his way to visit in the College Chapel.

He was a man of prayer; the views that he expresses in his Conference on Prayer were exemplified in his life. In spite of his many duties, he was able to find long hours for prayer. The secret of how he was able to do the work of several men and to do it well, and at the same time to find long hours for prayer lay in the fact that he spent little time eating, and little time sleeping. He was always last in the Church each night and was first up in the morning. After a long preparation, he began his Mass each morning at 4:30 a.m. He spent no time idly. He had taken two vows: one to do what was most perfect, the second to waste no time. St. John Bosco stated in his panegyric that in the thirty years that he had known him, he had never known him to waste time. Besides his fasting he practiced other rigorous austerities; he used instruments of penance: the hair-shirt, chains, the discipline. His undergarment was found each week by the woman who washed it to be stained with blood. Whenever a criminal was to be executed he watched the whole night before the Blessed Sacrament and often scourged himself to blood. (Source)

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

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