Saint Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419), a tireless healer and builder of the Church. Born during the time of the great schism, when there was no clear pope, Saint Vincent first worked to heal the divide, and later, after a vision of Christ, traveled throughout the world converting thousands to the faith.
Born in Valencia, Spain to a noble English father and Spanish mother, his birth was heralded with excitement. His mother, prior to her birth had been told by a blind beggar woman that within her grew “an angel” who would restore her sight (which Vincent did years later). During childbirth, Vincent’s mother was overcome with astounding joy, and experienced no pain. Vincent’s father, doubtful of these predictions, had his own prophetic dream in which a Dominican preacher told him that his son would experience great fame.
"Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under his cross. Some moments of repose in his sacred wounds give fresh vigor and new lights. Interrupt your application by short but fervent and ejaculatory prayers; never begin or end your study but by prayer. Science is a gift of the Father of lights; do not therefore consider it as barely the work of your own mind or industry."
Above all, Saint Vincent Ferrer was a man filled with humility, which he wrote is the precursor and prerequisite for all virtue: "For whosoever will proudly dispute or contradict, will always stand: without the door. Christ, the master of humility, manifests his truth only to the humble, and hides himself from the proud."
“My whole life is nothing but stench: I am all infection both in soul and body; every thing in me exhales a smell of corruption, caused by the abominations of my sins and injustices: and what is worse, I feel this stench increasing dally in me, and renewed always more insupportably." He also said, "Regard yourself as more vile and miserable in the sight of God because of your faults than any sinner whatever, no matter what his sins... and consider closely that any grace or inclination to good or desire of virtue you may have, is not of yourself but of the sole mercy of Christ."
Stricken again with fever at 69 years of age, Saint Vincent died peacefully, and met his Lord in heaven. He is interred at the Cathedral in Vannes. At his canonization, 800 approved miracles were read aloud. Given his tireless work to build the church, Saint Vincent Ferrer is recognized as the patron saint of builders and laborers. He is often pictured in art with the flame of the Holy Spirit resting in his hand.
“If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire,” and –"Once humility is acquired, charity will come to life a burning flame devouring the corruption of vice and filling the heart so full that there is no place for vanity."
At the end of the day, what Saint Vincent Ferrer preached was repentance, acceptance of God’s love, humility, and thankfulness for what we have been given. He said, "What is meritorious is not that a man should be poor, but that, being poor, he should love poverty." At the start of this Easter season, when we are celebrating our rebirth in the Resurrection, Saint Vincent Ferrer inspires us to give thanks for all that we have—and to be thankful and bear with Christian patience those things that we many have difficulty with or not understand-- for by humbly recognizing that all we have comes from the Lord, our humility creates the necessary space for our hearts to blossom with the love and charity of Christ.
Prayer for Proper Affections Toward God (written by Saint Vincent Ferrer)
Good Jesus, let me be penetrated with love to the very marrow of my bones, with fear and respect toward Thee; let me burn with zeal for Thy honor, so that I may resent terribly all the outrages committed against Thee, especially those of which I myself have been guilty or the occasion. Grant further, O my God, that I may adore and acknowledge Thee humbly as my Creator, and that, penetrated with gratitude for all Thy benefits, I may never cease to render Thee thanks. Grant that I may bless Thee in all things, praise and glorify Thee with a heart full of joy and gladness, and that, obeying Thee with docility in every respect, I may one day, despite my ingratitude and unworthiness, be seated at Thy table together with Thy holy angels and apostles to enjoy ineffable delights. Amen.
Year 2: Day 95 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humility and service to others.
Requested Intentions: Healing of a daughter with congenital heart disease (F); Healing and an end to suffering (J); For the children (M); For a son fighting a rare immune system disease (R); Freedom from imprisonment (J); Employment and end to depression (H); Successful employment (A); Health for a soon to be delivered baby (T); Financial security (L); Healing of tooth pain (A); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Purification of the souls in Purgatory (A); Guidance in studies (J); Healing and security for a displaced family (C); Healing of high blood pressure; Recovery of brother following surgery (A); For a sister in trouble, that she may make better decisions in the light of Christ (M); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Attainment of funds for surgery (J); Freedom from financial difficulties (E); For employment and college acceptance (E); Recovery and healing of a friend (C); For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C); For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); 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."