Saint John of Sahagun (1419-1479), Spanish preacher, Augustinian friar, visionary, and protector of the faith. Saint John is remembered for his charity, social justice, and ceaseless preaching against immorality and vice—a mission which eventually cost him his life.
Born to a wealthy family in Sahagun, Leon (Spain), Saint John is considered one of several patron saints of infertility. His parents, who had tried for nearly 16 years to conceive, were so grateful for a son they committed him to the Lord. Following their gracious gift of life, his parents conceived and raised six more children! Saint John was recognized for his piety and charity from an early age, giving away all that he had, and dedicating himself to helping others. He was educated by Benedictine monks at Fagondez Abbey in his home town, and was ordained a priest at age 26. While he was entitled to revenues from several organizations, given his ecclesiastical appointments, John gave all of them away to the poor, preferring to live in poverty.
"It is becoming of Your Grace to know that a preacher must be prepared in his soul to speak the truth, both in denouncing and correcting shortcomings and in praising virtue, to such a point that he is willing in that cause even to face death." Incensed, the duke hired assassins to stop Saint John’s preaching, but upon recognizing John's holiness, they repented, confessing and begging forgiveness—which he freely gave. The duke later fell ill, and was healed by John's prayers, himself repenting and renouncing his former ways.
“If you ask me about the actions of Friar John, with regard to the poor and afflicted, exploited widows and children, the needy and the sick, I would have to say that he was naturally compelled to help them all in word and in deed. He was particularly interested in leading all to peace and harmony, and putting an end to hostility. Living in Salamanca, where the entire city was split into factions, he succeeded in preventing much bloodshed.”
Saint John is especially remembered for his devotion to the Holy Eucharist, and the hours he spent in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This overwhelming love of the Eucharist was often apparent as he celebrated Mass. While doing so, Saint John often enjoyed the sight of Jesus in glory, becoming enraptured in ecstasy, and holding conversations with Him. For this reason, the Masses he celebrated were oftentimes much longer than his contemporaries which caused his congregation to complain. Only after explaining the miraculous occurrences he experienced during the Consecration was he allowed to continue celebrating Mass by his superiors.
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Today’s Psalm: Psalm 49: The Vanity of Worldly Riches
1 Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me-
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
7 No man can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for him-
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough-
9 that he should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that wise men die;
the foolish and the senseless alike perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had named lands after themselves.
12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure;
he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave,
and death will feed on them.
The upright will rule over them in the morning;
their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—
and men praise you when you prosper-
19 he will join the generation of his fathers,
who will never see the light of life .
20 A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish.
Day 163 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Deep relationships of Christian accountability; Eradication of sinfulness and vice in our lives; For those who are struggling with conception, adoption, or child-rearing.
Requested Intentions: For healing of a stomach illness (L); For the repose of the soul of a sister (C); Vocational security for family, Financial security for daughter beginning college (M); Vocational guidance, courage and strength (I); Reconciliation of a relationship (M); Strength, financial security, motivation, repose of a loved one (V); Recovery of left shoulder fracture (E); Financial recovery (A); The repose of a lonely soul (L); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 49: The Vanity of Worldly Riches
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."