"If the Lord at the moment of my death reproves me for being too kind to sinners, I will answer, 'My dear Jesus, if it is a fault to be too kind to sinners, it is a fault I learned from you, for you never scolded anyone who came to you seeking mercy.’”
Today, November 26, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751), a Franciscan friar, preacher, and writer. Leonard, called "the great missionary of the 18th century" by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, wished to go to the foreign missions of China, but like other servants of the Lord, was called to serve in another manner. Saint Leonard’s devotion to the Stations of the Cross, and his fierce sermons on the salvation of souls converted thousands as he preached in the great town squares across Europe. He was one of the greatest missionaries of the Church.
At the young age of thirteen, Leonard left home in Port Maurice and traveled to Rome to begin his studies at the Roman college. There, he was recognized for his piety, diligence, and charitable works, and was compared to Saint Aloysius who had attended the same school. Having planned on becoming a physician, Leonard soon was called by the Lord in another direction. One day, while visiting a church connected to the Franciscan convent of Saint Bonaventure, he was moved by the words of the choir: "Converte nos Deus, salutaris noster!” – “Convert us, O God, our salvation!” Hearing this as a call from the Lord, Leonard determined to enter the Franciscan Order and spend his life in service.
Saint Francis was admirable. He similarly espoused the characteristics of the founder of the order, evidenced by his fervor at prayer, his burning love of Jesus and Mary, his rigorous penance, his humility, and his tireless charity toward his neighbor. Saint Leonard further scourged himself mercilessly for the salvation of sinners. While Leonard wanted nothing more that to travel overseas—specifically to China—to preach the Gospel, he was of poor health, having suffered earlier in his studies from Consumption. His miraculous survival of the illness is attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
"I believe that in those days the real and greatest fruit of the mission is gathered. As much good is done in these days as during the mission." Leonard spent twenty-four years as a missionary, traveling throughout Italy and Corsica. He became known as one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He preached to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks' mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. Through his preaching, even the most hardened of hearts was converted to Jesus Christ.
Saint Leonard also concerned himself with the care of the Order and his fellow brothers. He oversaw the building of a retreat house that the Franciscans used to prepare for missionary work, and founded several pious fraternities in Rome, including that of the Sacred Heart.
Pope Benedict XIV held Saint Leonard in high esteem, asking him to promise to die only in Rome, and no other city. Upon returning from a mission, Father Leonard kept his promise, dying peacefully at the convent of Saint Bonaventure. Numerous miracles were reported at his tomb side following his death. He is regarded as the patron saint of parish missions.
“Upon hearing him, even hearts of iron and brass were powerfully inclined to penance, by reason of the astonishing effectiveness of the sermon and the preacher's burning zeal. And in the liturgical prayer we ask of the Lord, Give the power to bend the hearts of hardened sinners by the works of preaching.” Today, like every day, we, too, are called to conversion. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us!
On Our Blessed Mother: “She has had a decisive influence on our lives. Each of us has his own experience. Looking back we see her intervention behind every problem, driving us forward and with the definitive push making us begin anew. Whenever I get down to thinking about the numerous graces I have received from Mary, I feel like one of those Marian Shrines on the walls of which, covered with 'offerings', there is inscribed only: 'Through grace received from Mary'. In this way, it seems that I am written all over: Through grace received from Mary'.
Every good thought, every good act of will, every movement of my heart: 'Through grace received from Mary'.”
On the Power of Holy Mass:
"The principal excellence of the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass consists in being essentially, and in the very highest degree, identical with that which was offered on the Cross of Calvary: with this sole difference that the sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, and made once for all, and did on that one occasion satisfy fully for all the sins of the world; while the sacrifice of the altar is an unbloody sacrifice, which can be repeated an infinite number of times, and was instituted in order to apply in detail that universal ransom which Jesus paid for us on Calvary."
"I believe that were it not for the Holy Mass, as this moment the world would be in the abyss, unable to bear up under the mighty load of its iniquities Mass is the potent prop that hold the world on its base."
"What graces, gifts and virtues the Holy Mass calls down ... repentance for sin ... victory over temptation ... holy inspirations which dispositions to shake off tepidity ... the grace of final perseverance, upon which depends our salvation ... temporal blessings, such as peace, abundance and health ..."
Almighty and merciful God, You made Saint Leonard an illustrious herald of the mystery of the cross. Through his prayers may we comes to know the riches of the cross on earth and attain to its reward in heaven. Amen.
Day 329 of 365
Prayer Intentions: True conversion.
Requested Intentions: Healing of a family and son (S); Successful marriage (G); End to husband’s addictions; Son’s employment (M); Freedom from financial burdens (M); Healing after a miscarriage (E); For healing of friend; successful resolution of legal matter (A); For unity between estranged friends (E); For a son, falsely arrested (C); Successful employment (J); Successful employment (L); For a healthy child (L); Recovery from stomach illness of a friend (A); Employment and financial security (E); Conversion of sons (L); Freedom from financial stress, employment (C); Spiritual growth and family peace (A); Freedom to immigrate (D); End to debt (N); Restoration of a marriage (J); Complete recovery of son (P); Recovery of parish priest, health of mother, conversion of son (J); Successful employment, end to depression (J); Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
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."