June 23, 2008

INTRODUCTION -Life of St. Anthony Zaccaria

by Fr. Robert. B. Kosek, CRSP, Ph.D.

The saints are the true interpreters
of Holy Scriptu
Benedict XVI (Jesus of Nazareth, 78).

When we plan a road trip, we usually begin by researching the best route to follow. We check a road atlas for an overall picture and the best information for traveling. The atlas has been for years the best place to look for facts about the highways and routes to get us to our destination in the best way possible. However, we often need something a little more compact to take with us. So we get maps to help us to be better prepared. Sometimes the roads are clearly marked making our journey easy so that everything goes according to plan. Then, there are times when we come to detours or crossroads that are poorly marked. What then? If we choose incorrectly we become lost and bewildered. The longer we go, the worse it gets and the more confused we become. The best thing we can do at this point is to stop and ask for help. We look for someone who is familiar with the area, someone who has traveled these roads before and who can give us the benefit of their experience. So it is with our spiritual journey toward heaven, where Jesus is the Way to the Father. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6).

Each day we travel the path of our spiritual journey toward God’s everlasting dwelling place. If we begin by using the "atlas" God has given us, the Holy Bible, we have all the best information at our disposal to make it a worry-free journey. But life is also full of detours and poorly marked crossroads. It is at these times that we search for help in order to reach our destination without confusion. "People have always needed models to imitate—writes John Paul II—that need is all the greater today, amid such a welter of confusing and conflicting ideas" (Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way, Warner Books, 2004, p.192). Well, when we need guidance, we look to those who have traveled these roads before us, the saints. But where to look for them? One of the surest places, to find those models are in hagiographies, sacred biograhies. In just a few moments you are about to read one of them. It is going to be a journey into the life-story of a man, who lived in an ordinary place, in an ordinary time but whose life, however, was far from ordinary. The man is Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria. He is the founder of the Clerics Regular of St Paul, the Angelic Sisters of St Paul, and Laity of St Paul. Hopefully, his life story will assist you on your journey toward our Father’s house in heaven. As you travel, remember that the road to peace has many crossroads, the most important of these being the crossroad of Love. Without Love there is no Peace. Our wish for you is abundant love —of and for God and humanity. We pray that whatever path you take it always leads you “home.” O Lord, guide our feet into the way of peace. (Lk 1:79)

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