Posted by: fvbcdm | January 7, 2015

Feast of Saint Raymond of Peñafort (7 Jan 2015)

Today is the feast of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, a Dominican confrere of ours, who very surprisingly lived to be 100 years old, even back in the 13th century when that was unheard of.  He was a Catalan, a native of northeastern Spain, and is buried in the cathedral of Barcelona, the principal city of that region of Spain and one of the charm spots of Europe.  The cathedral is a magnificent Gothic building of the middle ages.

Just about the time that our founder, Saint Dominic, was born in that part of Spain called Castille, Saint Raymond of Peñafort was born in Catalonia. Saint Raymond was a brilliant scholar. He studied at the cathedral school in Barcelona. Then he went to the University of Bologna in Italy to study law, and he majored in the law of the church since there is always the need for people expert in that field. On returning to Barcelona, he met Saint Dominic who had just founded the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans as we are usually called. Raymond was immensely impressed by this priest from Castille, and the year after Dominic died, Raymond joined the new Order. He was forty-seven at the time—old for a novice in a religious order and seminarian in those days.

According to an ancient legend which may be true, Saint Raymond was forced by the immoral king to accompany him to the island of Mallorca off the coast of Catalonia. Uncomfortable in the company of the dissolute king, Raymond wanted to return to his work on the mainland, but the king forbad anyone to transport him. So Saint Raymond tied one corner of his Dominican cloak to a walking stick and, with this makeshift sailboat and the grace of God, he was able to return to his home and work. Since I am now forced to walk with a cane, I can identify with my Dominican brother.

Saint Raymond of Peñafort read the Koran, the holy book of Islam. He asked his colleague Saint Thomas Aquinas, to write a catechism for use in evangelizing and catechising the Muslims. He is now one of our advocates in Heaven; let us ask him to help us in the great crusade of prayer, love, and peace in bringing the crescent to the cross—in introducing the children of Mohammed to Our Divine Lord Jesus. Please pray for that intention regularly, my dear friends. This tremendous goal can be achieved only with God’s help. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note: This message was composed some years ago.


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