Please listen to Father Broom's talks on these great Saints
The saints are heroes of God and at
the same time splendid examples for us to follow in their path of virtue, and
also to invoke their powerful intercession.
In these critical days in which our
religious liberty is being jeopardized, now more than ever we need to lift up
our minds and hearts to these shining stars in God’s firmament and be drawn
magnetically to imitate their heroic virtue.
We will present three “Valiant
champions of God and 5 of the virtues that they can encourage us to
emulate. Off we go!!!
Of all the compliments that Jesus
gave in His three year Public ministry, the words exalting the virtue of John
the Baptist, were among the most sublime. “Of all men born of women, none was
greater than John the Baptist.” From
this spiritual goldmine of virtue, in the person of John the Baptist, what can
HOLY AND CONFIDENT MOTHER. You can know the fruit from the tree. Old and way beyond the age of child-bearing,
upon learning of her pregnancy, Elizabeth rejoices in this great gift of
God. Hoping against all hope and
trusting in God’s promise, despite her many years, her pregnancy culminates in
the birth of JOHN THE BAPTIST. May pregnant and doubting women invoke St. Elizabeth
for greater confidence in God who is the origin, author, and sustainer of human
life form conception until natural death!
MARY’S WORD OF SANTIFICATION AND
JESUS AS REDEEEMER. Upon the
visitation, Mary greets Elizabeth and the baby in her womb--- John the
Baptist—leaps for joy! This sanctified
encounter of these two holy women results in the baby John being purified from
the stain of Original sin, through the word of Mary and the silent but
efficacious presence of Jesus the Redeemer!
PRAYER AND PENANCE IN THE DESERT. To accomplish any mission, preparation is
indispensable! John spent long years in the silence of the desert, where his
spirit was fortified. The fortification
of his spirit came about through long hours of prayer and demanding acts of
fasting and penance. Jesus said that
certain devils can be expelled only through prayer and penance.
HUMILITY. Upon entering the scene of his public
ministry, John manifests a profound humility. Humility is nothing more than
recognizing that all the evil is my own doing whereas all the good I have been
able to accomplish is simply collaboration with God’s grace. Listen to the unction
of the words of the Baptist on humility.
“He must increase and I decrease.”
Then, “I am not worthy to untie his sandal strap.” Still more, “I am no more than a voice that
cries out in the desert: prepare the way for the Lord.” Finally, “once the
wedding groom comes, I disappear.” Humility is the rock foundation of an
authentic life of holiness.
FORTITUDE. Confronted by the wickedness of King Herod
who publically flaunted his adulterous, incestuous relation, having taken his Brother
Philip’s wife and living with her, only the Baptist had the courage to confront
him and rebuke him. The end result of
this was imprisonment, and decapitation.
Why did John die? For the most noble of reasons: to denounce adultery,
but also to defend the indissoluble character of Holy Matrimony. St. John the Baptist prays for us!
ST. JOHN FISHER--- ENGLISH BISHOP
INTELLECTUAL TRAINING AND SPIRITUAL
FORMATION. In a world in which there is
a sea of information but at the same time widespread ignorance, this great
saint--- like that of Cardinal Newman—point to the importance of a solid
intellectual /spiritual formation. Priest, Bishop, Vice-Rector of Cambridge
University in England, John Fisher studied the truth, assimilated the truth and
died for the truth.
EXEMPLARY PRIEST AND BISHOP. At 25, he was ordained to the priesthood, and
immediately carried out his responsibilities with dedication, with true love of
God and neighbor. At 35, he was already named as Bishop of Rochester, and with
intense zeal tended his flock, of a rather poor diocese. He visited the
parishes of his diocese, encouraged the priests to carry out their mission as
true shepherds of souls, and had a very tender heart especially for the poor.
DEFENDER OF TRUTH. The Protestant Revolution already exploded in
Europe--- in Germany with Martin Luther. In response to the errors that Luther
was disseminating, poisoning thousands of minds, Fisher wrote four enormous
volumes to refute the Lutheran errors; this made the young Bishop famous! His friend Erasmus with words of admiration
said of Fisher: “There is not a man more
cultured, more admired, nor more holy.”
FRATERNAL CORRECTION. In one of the Synods, Bishop John Fisher had
the courage to denounce worldliness in the clerical life and especially did he
condemn those who sought out high ecclesiastical positions merely as posts of
honor and praise!
FORTITUDE AND PALM OF MATRYRDOM. When King Henry VIII announced his intention
to leave his wife and arrange a new marriage with Ann Boleyn, the King wanted
all of England to support him in this decision. All of the Bishops collapsed under
the pressure of the Kingly mandate, except one BISHOP JOHN FISHER. Despite the
coaxing and allurements to cave in to human respect, Fisher held his ground,
resulting in imprisonment in the infamous tower of London and eventually
beheading! This took place on July 6
(now the memorial of Saint Maria Goretti) Fisher was 57 years old!
SAINT THOMAS MORE/ “CHAMPION OF
INTENSE PRAYER LIFE. Few are aware of the intense prayer life of
Sir Thomas More. Up way before dawn, he would spend a long period of time in
prayer before starting his day. He loved the Psalms and the meditation on the
Passion of Christ. His deep union with the Lord, through a profound prayer
life, filled him with great lights and formidable strength to accept the cross
and martyrdom that the Lord would offer him!
ORNAMENT OF THE DOMESTIC LIFE. One of the beautiful titles for St. Joseph,
in the Litany to St. Joseph is “Ornament of the domestic life”. Unlike Fisher—priest and Bishop—More chose
the marriage vocation and lived it to the full with his wife and four children! A faithful spouse, loving and tender father,
witty conversationalist, and superb and genius statesman--- More teaches
fathers how to really live out their marriage vocation in an increasingly
FORMATION. Like Fisher, St. Thomas More
was endowed with a keen intellect. He was lawyer, writer (Utopia, his most
famous), statesman, politician, but especially man of God and saint. May this
man who cultivate so many of his God-given talents, encourage us likewise to
cultivate our intellects, so that we will pursue the Truth and the truth will
set us free!
CHAMPION OF CONSCIENCE. Like Fisher and like the Baptist, More was
confronted with a dilemma--- either to accept the entreaties of accepting Henry
VIII’s adulterous relation and accepting Henry as the new head of the Church of
England or to forfeit his life. Many
tried to coax More into some type of compromise, so as to save his life. But,
St. Thomas More firm in his convictions, rooted in the Truth, following a
well-formed and enlightened conscience, like Fisher and the Baptist chose death
over life. Like the other two saints, St. Thomas More was beheaded on June 22,
1535, with the words: “I am the King’s loyal servant, but God’s first.”
LOVE FOR GOD OVER LIFE! One of the most marked contrasts between the
saints—and especially the martyrs who shed their blood for Jesus—and the
majority of humanity—is that the martyrs love life as a precious “Gift” from
God. However, they treasure their “Friendship” with God and the life to come
more than their physical life. That is
why Dominic Savio could say, “Death rather than sin.” Or St. Maria Goretti
could endure 14 stabbings rather than sin. That is why St. Ignatius of Loyola
in the Spiritual Exercises in his meditation on the three grades of humility,
insisted on preferring death rather than mortal sin; death rather than venial
sin; finally, a willingness even to suffer humiliations so as to imitate the
Master all the more closely. For that reason before dying St. Thomas More
encouraged the nervous masked swordsman, “Be not afraid, for you send me to
God.” Finally, this champion of conscience cried out to the crowd: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s