July 2, 2009

Zaccarian Spirituality Lived Today - No. 2

1. How does the life and example of St. Anthony Zaccaria help the average Catholic in living a more Catholic life?
by. Sr. Rorivic Ma. P. Israel, ASSP

A Saint for All Time

A reformer of the early 16th century, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, tracks the same path as St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Philip Neri. His pervasive and overriding entreaty was: "renew the Christian fervor" everywhere! And which generation would claim it never needed any renewal?

Any Catholic, living in this generation marked by secularism and an apparent decadence of moral values, can certainly look up to St. Anthony Mary, who in his life had shown a great example of how it is to "circumnavigate" the world without being subdued by its lure and oppressive mundane principles. St. Anthony Mary exemplifies a man, or a woman, who keeps his Catholic principles and beliefs despite the warring ideologies around him (one can go back to the history of Catholic counter-reformation), mindful only of doing what is right in God’s eyes and before his neighbor.

St. Anthony reformed "within" the Church, not "without." His way was "ordinary, done in an extraordinary way": as a young fellow, he was sensitive to the needs of his time and showed great kindness toward the poor and the disadvantaged; as a medical doctor, he served the sick with great care and compassion; as a priest, he preached with the fervor of St. Paul, longing only to save souls, and served the spiritual needs of those who came to him for confession and spiritual direction; as a Catholic, he was deeply devoted to the Eucharist: He "promoted devotion to the Eucharistic Christ in the form of the Forty Hours devotion, public and solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by turn in various city churches, which he first celebrated in Milan in 1537," and also "promoted frequent Holy Communion." and to the Crucified Lord: "To promote devotion to Christ Crucified Anthony Mary instituted the practice of the tolling of church bells at 3 p.m. every Friday in remembrance of Christ's death on the cross."

St. Anthony Mary remained "Catholic," notwithstanding the barrage of protests his mother Church experienced in his days. St. Anthony Mary remained a true son – in his fervent and joyful service and love for God and neighbor.

May St. Anthony Mary renew in each one of us that "fervor" of a true Christian, of a true Catholic.

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