30 Apr – Memorial for St. Pius V, pope
Antonio Ghislieri (1504-1572) was born to impoverished Italian nobility, the son of Paolo Ghislieri and Domenica Augeria. He worked as a shepherd as a boy, and received an excellent education in piety and holiness, including a scholastic education from a Dominican friar. He joined the Order in 1518, taking the name Michele. He studied in Bologna, Italy, and was ordained in 1528 in Genoa.
He was appointed teacher of philosophy and divinity in Genoa, and was a professor of theology in Pavia for 16 years. He was the Master of novices and prior of several Dominican houses, and he worked for stricter adherence to the Order’s rule.
He was an inquisitor in Como and Bergamo, and the commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. On Sep 4, 1556, he was ordained Bishop of Nepi and Sutri against his will. He was Inquisitor in Milan and Lombary in the same year, and created cardinal on Mar 15 the following year, made Grand Inquisitor on Dec 14, 1558, and was part of the conclave of 1559. He was appointed Bishop of Mondovi, Italy on Mar 17, 1560. As bishop, he worked to lead his flock with words and examples, and served as a continual messenger encouraging personal piety and devotion to God.
He became the 225th pope in 1566, and immediately faced the task of enacting the reforms of the Council of Trent. New seminaries were opened, a new breviary, new missal, and new catechism were published. Foundations were established to spread the faith and preserve the doctrine of the Church. He spent much time personally working with the needy. He built hospitals and used the papal treasury to care for the poor. He faced many difficulties in the public forum, both in the implementation of the Tridentine reforms and interaction with other heads of state. He created 21 cardinals. At the time of his death he was working on a Christian European alliance to break the power of the Islamic states.
– Patron Saint Index
Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.
A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything,
and remind you of all I have said to you.’
“We are only human beings like you”
My 13-year-old son joined a secondary school this year, leaving behind his primary school life. One of the changes he experienced was that they were required to work on more projects, often having to work in teams.
Recently, we were talking about the ‘right’ things to do when he used an analogy about what not to do, “Oh… you mean like those people who work in your project team, do nothing and then claim credit for all the work done?”.
Despite his youth, my son has become a keen observer of the human condition and is often spot on with his insights!
In the first reading today, Paul and Barnabas were ministering to the people of Lycaonia. There, they cured a crippled man. Excited, the crowds attributed the healing to the both of them and proceeded to call them gods. Both men were horrified and attempted to explain that they were normal human beings, and were sent there as God’s messengers.
In our lives, we would do well to learn from the example set by Paul and Barnabas. Because in my corporate career, I have often found myself praying hard for God’s guidance and protection, especially during challenging times. These situations would resolve themselves and I often found myself being the ‘lazy team player’ that my son talks about!
This temptation to claim personal credit is always present regardless of who we are. When we experience ‘success’, we tend to believe that this success is a result of our own abilities. Yet, when we take the time to analyse these successes, we realise that there are many reasons behind why one does well. It would be folly for us to forget the biggest part that our God plays in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, let us continue to always remember that we are here to serve our God, and that everything we achieve, we can only achieve through Him.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father, we pray that we may always remain humble in Your love and protection. Help us to remember to always cast our eyes to You.
Thanksgiving: Thank You for blessing us with the Holy Trinity and for always blessing us. Thank You Father for loving us!