SAINT OF THE DAY: 2 JANUARY, 2015

Saint Peter Nolasco

Founder
(1189-1256)

 Saint Peter Nolasco

In the early thirteenth century the Moors still held much of Spain, and in sudden raids from the sea they carried off thousands of Christians, holding them as slaves in Granada and in their citadels along the African coast.

A hero of these unfortunates was Saint Peter Nolasco, born about the year 1189 near Carcassonne in France. When he went to Barcelona to escape the heresy then rampant in southern France, he consecrated the fortune he had inherited to the redemption of the captives taken on the seas by the Saracens.

He was obsessed with the thought of their suffering, and desired to sell his own person to deliver his brethren and take their chains upon himself. God made it known to him how agreeable that desire was to Him.

Because of these large sums of money he expended, Peter became penniless.

He was without resources and powerless, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said to him: Find for Me other men like yourself, an army of brave, generous, unselfish men, and send them into the lands where the children of the Faith are suffering.

Peter went at once to Saint Raymond of Pennafort, his confessor, who had had a similar revelation and used his influence with King James I of Aragon and with Berengarius, Archbishop of Barcelona, to obtain approbation and support for the new community.

On August 10, 1218, Peter and two companions were received as the first members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, dedicated to the recovery of Christian captives.

To the three traditional vows of religion, its members joined a fourth, that of delivering their own persons to the overlords, if necessary, to ransom Christians.

The Order spread rapidly. Peter and his comrades traveled throughout Christian Spain, recruiting new members and collecting funds to purchase the captives.

Then they began negotiations with the slave-owners.

They penetrated Andalusia, crossed the sea to Tunis and Morocco, and brought home cargo after cargo of Christians. Although Peter, as General of the Order, was occupied with its organization and administration, he made two trips to Africa where, besides liberating captives, he converted many Moors.

He died after a long illness on Christmas night of 1256; he was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1628.

His Order continues its religious services, now devoted to preaching and hospital service.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2)

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READING OF THE DAY: 28 JANUARY, 2015

Friar-with-bread-LT

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?

Can such faith save them?

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” -James 2:14-26