Blessed Antonio Baldinucci (1665-1717), a Jesuit missionary who, despite failing health, served the Lord with every ounce of strength and love he possessed. While his heart lay in overseas missions, Antonio obediently remained in Italy, giving great missions, reaching many through his preaching and example, and working tirelessly for the conversion of souls. His simple faith, and acceptance of the will of the Lord, inspire us today to examine our lives and hopes… and then measure how those relate to what the Lord would have us do.
Antonio Baldinucci was born in Florence (Tuscany, Italy), the son of a writer and artist and his wife. The fifth of five sons, Antonio’s parents had promised the Lord prior to his birth that if they produced a son, they would devote his life to Saint Anthony of Padua (whose intercession had cured a family member of serious illness). When Antonio was born, he was raised in the faith, with the intention of his becoming a priest and serving God as promised by his parents.
Antonio embraced his parents’ wishes with the zeal of one on fire for the Lord. Rather than rebel, as we might expect from a teenage boy, Antonio instead gravitated to the holy, threw himself into his studies, and lived a pious life. At age eleven, he began his studies with the Jesuits at San Giovannino, but following his eldest brother’s entrance into the Dominican Order, expressed his wish to follow. The Dominicans, however, refused Antonio’s admission, due to his poor health. Instead, his father recommended that he embark on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, to attempt to discern God’s plan for his life. Under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit, Antonio was led to seek admission to the Society of Jesus, and at the age of 16, began his novitiate in Rome.
Returning to Rome, Antonio would spend his afternoons in public places, preaching, and drawing many to the Church. He was ordained at age 30, and immediately applied to be sent overseas as a missionary, but again was refused. Instead, Antonio was sent to Frascati, south of Rome, where part of his duties was to provide missions to the poor surrounding towns and villages in the area. Antonio embraced this task with zeal, working among the poor and uneducated for the remainder of his life. Looking to Saint Peter Claver as a model, Antonio traveled barefoot to the towns and villages, regardless of weather. He carried all he needed in a bag on his back, and walked with a pilgrim staff. When asked why he walked barefoot, he replied: “That God may be moved by my sufferings to touch the hearts of my hearers.”
Blessed Antonio participated in missions for over 20 years, during that time giving 448 missions in 30 dioceses (an average of 22 each year). Despite this schedule, he found the time to write down many of his sermons, as well as maintain correspondence with those who needed spiritual direction and support. To do so, he maintained a rigorous schedule of work, prayer, and penance, sleeping little (about three hours each night on a bed of planks), and fasting constantly. While he had received a special dispensation from Pope Clement XI to not offer daily Mass due to his schedule, he refused to accept it, reading the Liturgy daily.
“Show yourself to be a Mother.” After asking for the Last Sacraments, and despite the fact that he was barely able to speak, Antonio continued to recite the prayer, “Jesus and Mary, my hope,” until his death. Blessed Antonio was buried in the chapel of San Giovanni in Florence.
I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither cross nor consolation;
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy's sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently I adore your holy will
and your inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray
and pray in me, yourself.
Day 311 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and obedience to discern the Will of the Lord; Courage to follow it.
Requested Intentions: 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."