SAINT OF THE DAY: 17 FEBRUARY, 2015

The Seven Holy Servite Founders

(Mid 13th century)

The Seven Holy Servite Founders

Can you imagine seven prominent men of any large modern city banding together, leaving their homes and profession, and going into solitude for a life directly given to God?

That is what happened in the cultured and prosperous city of Florence in the middle of the 13th century.

At this time, the city was torn with political strife as well as by the heresy of the Cathari; morals were low and religion neglected.

On the feast of the Assumption in 1233, seven of the members of a Florentine Confraternity devoted to the Holy Mother of God were gathered in prayer under the presidency of Alessio Falconieri.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to the young men and exhorted them to devote themselves to Her service, in retirement from the world.

It was in 1240 that they decided to withdraw together from the city to a solitary place for prayer and the service of God.

The eldest was Buonfiglio Monaldo, who became their leader.

The others were Alexis Falconieri, Benedict dell’Antella, Bartholomew Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and John Buonagiunta.

Their aim was to lead a life of penance and prayer, but they soon found themselves disturbed by increasing numbers of visitors.

They next retired to the deserted slopes of Monte Senario near Florence, where the Blessed Virgin appeared to them again.

There the nucleus of a new Order was formed, called Servants of Mary, or Servites, in recognition of their special manner of venerating the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.

In 1244, under the direction of Saint Peter of Verona, O.P., this small group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominican habit, choosing to live under the rule of Saint Augustine.

The new Order took a form resembling more the mendicant friars than the older monastic Orders.

One of the most remarkable features of the new foundation was its wonderful growth.

Even in the fourteenth century, the Order had more than one hundred convents in several nations of Europe, as well as in India and on the Island of Crete.

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows is one of their regular devotions, as is also theVia Matris, or Way of the Cross of Mary.

(SOURCE: Saint of the Day: The 173 Saints of the new Missal. Edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Vol. I (Saint Anthony Messenger Press: Cincinnati, 1974); The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).)

COMMENTARY ON THE READING: 17 FEBRUARY, 2015

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Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by :

Saint Hilary (c.315-367), Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church
The Trinity, I, 37-38

(SOURCE:Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers)

“Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?”

I know, O Lord God Almighty, that I owe you, as the chief duty of my life, the devotion of all my words and thoughts to yourself… In our want shall pray for the things we need.

We shall bring an untiring energy to the study of your prophets and apostles, and we shall knock for entrance at every gate of hidden knowledge.

But it is yours to answer the prayer, to grant the thing we seek, to open the door on which we beat (Lk 11,9).

Our minds are born with dull and clouded vision, our feeble intellect is penned within the barriers of an impassable ignorance concerning your mysteries.

But the study of your revelation elevates our soul to the comprehension of sacred truth, and submission to the faith is the path to a certainty beyond the reach of unassisted reason.

And therefore we look to your support for the first trembling steps of this undertaking, to your aid that it may gain strength and prosper.

We look to you to give us the fellowship of that Spirit who guided the prophets and apostles, that we may take their words in the sense in which they spoke and assign its right shade of meaning to every utterance… Grant us, therefore, precision of language, soundness of argument, grace of style, loyalty to truth.

Enable us to utter the things that we believe.

READING OF THE DAY: 17 FEBRUARY, 2015

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“The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.

He enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread.

When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?

Do you not yet understand or comprehend?

Are your hearts hardened?

Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?

And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”

They answered him, “Twelve.”

When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?

They answered (him), “Seven.”

He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”” -Mark 8:14-21.