Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Clay God Uses: St. Francis Mary Camporosso

Peace and Good! A brief interlude from musings on Montecasale to mention today’s saint, Francis Mary of Camporosso, a Capuchin lay brother who worked many years as questor in Genoa and helped many people with his prayers and kindness. He died helping victims of a cholera epidemic. Such a death may seem insignificant and perhaps useless. Most of the people he aided during the epidemic probably died anyway. But his death has to be seen in the light of Jesus’ death. We forget that for most of the world the day of Jesus’ death was like any other. The Emperor Tiberius kept up his misrule of the Empire; the dockworkers in Ostia, Piraeus, Alexandria and else kept loading and unloading ships; the soldiers patrolling the borders of the Empire kept up with their watch and their dice games. For most of the world it was an insignificant event, this death of one member of a conquered race in a small corner of the world.
The significance, of course, was tremendous, for in that event the Love of God burst into the world in a new and amazing way. But it did not look that way at the time. Neither did the death of Francis Mary of Camporosso. But we celebrate him today because we believe that the same Love was with him in his sacrifice as was there on Calvary.
What makes our life and actions, and our death, significant? If we believe Jesus, it is only to live out his command: Love one another as I have loved you. How simple, and how hard! Yet, it is life. I am grateful to St. Francis Mary, Bl Teresa of Calcutta, St. Francis, and all the others who show us that truth again and again. And for the sacrament of the Love of the God, the Eucharist. We don’t do anything significant: take some bread and wine, say some words. But what the Love of God does with that!
(Peace to all those with connections to Naples! I know today is also the feast of St. Januarius. It is said that when Januarius (Italian Gennaro) was beheaded by pagan Romans in 305 A.D., a Neapolitan woman soaked up his blood with a sponge and preserved it in a glass phial. Every year on his feast the people wait to see if the blood will liquefy. It did again this year, and Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, then showed the glass phial of blood to the congregation and paraded it to the crowds outside, where fireworks were lit in celebration. "It is a prodigious sign that shows the Lord's closeness and predilection for our beloved and long-suffering city," he said.)
God bless you!

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