21 Dec – Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius
Son of Jacob Canisius, a wealthy burgomeister, and Ægidia van Houweningen, who died shortly after Peter’s birth. Educated in Cologne, Germany, studying art, civil law and theology. He was an excellent student, and received a master’s degree by age 19; his closest friends at university were monks and clerics. Joined in the Jesuits on 8 May 1543 after attending a retreat conducted by Blessed Peter Faber. Taught at the University of Cologne, and helped found the first Jesuit house in the city. Ordained in 1546. Theologian of Cardinal Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, Bishop of Augsburg in 1547. He travelled and worked with Saint Ignatius of Loyola who was his spiritual director in Rome, Italy. Taught rhetoric in Messina, Sicily in 1548, preaching in Italian and Latin. Doctor of theology in 1549. Began teaching theology and preaching at Ingolstadt, Germany in 1549. Rector of the university in 1550. Began teaching theology, preaching in the Cathedral of Saint Stephen in Vienna, Austria in 1552; the royal court confessor, he continued to worked in hospitals and prisons, and during Lent in 1553 he travelled to preach in abandoned parishes in Lower Austria. During Mass one day he received a vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and ever after offered his work to the Sacred Heart. He led the Counter-Reformation in Germany, Austria, Bohemia, and Switzerland, and his work led to the return of Catholicism to Germany. His catechism went through 200 editions during his life, and was translated into 12 languages; in some places catechisms were referred to as Canisi. Attended the Diet of Augsburg in 1555. Founded Jesuit colleges in Ingolstadt, Prague, Dillingen, and Fribourg. Jesuit provincial superior. Attended the Diet of Ratisbon in 1556 and 1557. Everywhere he worked he became a noted preacher, and often worked with children, teaching them and hearing their confessions. Represented Pope Paul IV at the imperial Diet of Pieternow. Addressed the Council of Trent on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Recommended Saint Stanislaus Kostka for reception as a Jesuit. Court preacher to Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria. While in Fribourg, Switzerland, he received a message from the city’s patron saint, Nicholas of Myra, that he should stop travelling; Canisius spent the rest of his life there. He taught, preached, edited books, and worked to support the Catholic press and printers in many cities; his advice was sought by Saint Francis de Sales, and by his friend Saint Charles Borromeo. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1925 by Pope Pius XI.
– The Patron Saint Index
Song of Songs 2:8-14
I hear my Beloved.
See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My Beloved is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.
See where he stands
behind our wall.
He looks in at the window,
he peers through the lattice.
My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
‘Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
For see, winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
the cooing of the turtledove is heard
in our land.
The fig tree is forming its first figs
and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.
Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.
My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the coverts of the cliff,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet
and your face is beautiful.’
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
O Key of David, who open the gates of the eternal kingdom, come to liberate from prison the captive who lives in darkness
In a continuation from yesterday’s readings, there will be inherent joy within us when we proclaim the message of God to those around us. The wonderful message we have received that there is a God who loves us and sent His only Son to us to be saved is indeed something worth shouting out to everyone. This will undergird and guide us in all our actions we do.
Mary rushed over to Elizabeth’s house to share the joy and to show care to her kinswoman. The news of joy often brings about a desire to want to help others and as we approach Christmas, it may be meaningful to consider how we can share this Good News we have heard to all around us. The secular world plays Christmas songs in the shopping malls and the various media channels but we need to take ownership of these and share with others the true meaning behind the lyrics.
The lyrics have been heard many times by use but I invite you to understand the lyrics in the context of the Gospel message. Perhaps this will force us to take a closer look at our faith and make us understand what it means to be experience a joyful Christmas!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord, let us share with others the joy of knowing you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who continue to inspire others in the Christian Faith