November 1, 2010
October 19, 2010
August 21, 2010
To my Angelics and divine Daughters in Christ: Mother Prioress, Mother Vicar,
Madonna and Angelic Paola Antonia [Negri]
and all the others who are both my daughters,
and daughters of St. Paul the Apostle, in Christ,
at the convent of St. Paul the Apostle.
[IC. XC. +]
My sweetest and beloved daughters, my only strength and consolation, I am overwhelmed with joy when I think that soon I will be among so noble and generous souls as you are, amiable daughters. You are my crown and my glory, so much so that some day I will make our holy Apostle Paul feel envious of me on account of you. In fact you are not inferior to his [spiritual] daughters in your great desire to suffer for Christ, in your total contempt of worldliness and self-denial, and in your striving to lead people to a spiritual renewal and to Jesus Crucified who is despised so much. Moreover, you, my daughters, all of you, not just one, by wholly renouncing any desire for recognition as well as the interior consolation which Paul's disciples in general used to cherish very much, are filled with apostolic zeal in removing from the hearts of people not only idolatry and other big, big defects, but also in routing out the most pernicious and greatest enemy of Christ Crucified, which is nowadays triumphing almost everywhere-I mean, Lady Tepidity.
Unfurl your flags, my dear daughters, for Jesus Crucified is about to send you to proclaim everywhere the vital energy of the Spirit. Infinite thanks to you, Lord, for giving me such generous daughters.
In the meantime, my beloved, please make every effort to gladden my spirit so that on my arrival I may find that you have made great spiritual progress as you compete with one another. May I find that some of you have acquired such stability and fervent perseverance in spiritual matters that you will never again be victim to a will that fluctuates between fervor and tepidity, but rather will enjoy a steady and holy fervor, nourished by life-giving water and enriched by new vigor. May I find that another one has received such great faith that even the hardest things seem quite easy to her, without being deceived in her confidence by either presumption or vainglory. May I find that someone else believes that she has reached perfection by doing her daily chores, no matter how insignificant they may be, with constancy and persistence, not allowing herself to become bored or feel humiliated. May I find that another one has utterly denied herself, putting aside her own interests to care for others, since she has convinced herself that it is a great gain for her not to worry about herself but about others, and mindful to be at all times prudent and mature in her activities. May I find that others have arrived respectively at overcoming their irrational sadness or their discouragement at having lost control in the war against self, or their hardness of spirit, voluntary distractions, or this or that shortcoming. And so from all this progress of yours may I conclude that you have received the teacher of justice, of holiness, and of perfection: the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. He, of course, will not let you go wrong; rather He will teach you everything. He will not let you lose heart, but will always remain with you. He will not leave you in need, but will provide you with everything. He will grant you, in particular, a continuous spirit of self-abandonment on the ignominious cross, and lead you to a life conformed to Christ's according to the pattern of the great saints. Consequently, you will be able to say with your Father, "be imitators of us as we are of Christ."
Be mindful only of this: both our Blessed Fathers, St. Paul and Fra Battista, have left us such a great example of noble and profound love for Jesus Crucified, love for their own sufferings and humiliations, and love for the thorough conquest of souls, that, if we had no such unbounded desire for the aforementioned things, we would not be considered their children, but bastards and mules. You, of course, do not want to be in such company. Your generous hearts want to belong above all to Christ and to please me, your beloved father. And I always think of you with loving care, anxiously awaiting the moment when I can return to you.
To Christ Crucified I recommend you through your worthy Superiors: that they may not fail in their usual care for you, both because of their love for you and because of my prayers, the prayers of this faithful servant who constantly offers you to Him.
I ask you to tell them to cheer up my heart by bringing about your progress and mine too.
May Christ make this a reality. May He bless you all with a special blessing of His, a blessing complete and perfect.
My mother, Cornelia, and our Battista send their greetings.
Special greetings from my dear Isabella and Giuditta.
May Jesus Christ bless you.
From Cremona, May 26, 1537.
Greetings to my Giuliina. I remind you to be generously responsive to the holy and zealous effort of our noble Paola [Torelli] and to give joy to our common Father, our saintly Father Superior.
Your Father in Christ and indeed your Spirit in Christ,
Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest.
Guastalla, 20 czerwiec 1539
Cremona, 4 January, 1531
To the very honorable
Mr. Bartolomeo Ferrari and Mr. Giacomo Antonio Morigia,
my venerable brothers in Christ.
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Final_letter02.mp3 (18483 KB)
IC. XC. +
My very dear and honorable brothers,
May God, the Changeless One, ever ready to do whatever is good, save you and make you steadfast and determined in all your undertakings and desires according to my deepest expectations.
It is quite true, my very dear friends, that God has made man’s spirit unstable and changeable in order that man would not abide in evildoing, and also that, once in possession of the good, he would not stop short, but would step up from one good to a higher one, and to a loftier one still. Thus, advancing from virtue to virtue, he might reach the summit of perfection. Hence it flows that man is fickle in doing evil, namely, he cannot persevere in it because he does not find repose in it. Therefore, instead of persisting in evildoing, he moves to do good; and moreover, since creatures did not give him peace, he returns to God. Now of course, I could give other reasons for man’s being fickle, but, to our purpose, what I have said is enough.
Oh, how wretched we are! For, when trying to do good, we use the very instability and indecisiveness we should have and exercise to avoid evil. And, indeed, I am often bewildered at seeing such great irresoluteness reign in my soul, and for so many years.
I am sure, my dear friends, that, had I reflected hard enough on the evils which irresoluteness causes, I would have uprooted this evil from my soul long ago. First of all, it hampers man’s progress because man finds himself, as it were, between two magnets without being pulled by either; namely, on the one hand, he neglects to do the present good as he looks at the future one. On the other hand, he leaves aside the future good by lingering on the present and even having doubts about the future. Do you know who he is like? He is like the person who wants to love two opposite things and gets neither one. As the proverb teaches, "he who hunts two hares at the same time will see one fleeing, the other escaping." As long as a man remains undecided and doubtful, he will surely never accomplish anything good. Experience teaches this. There is no need for me to go any further.
Moreover, irresoluteness causes man to change like the moon. Yes, the irresolute person is always restless and can never be content even amidst great joys; for no reason he gets sad and angry and easily looks after his own satisfaction.
In all truth, this weed of irresoluteness grows where divine light is lacking because the Holy Spirit quickly reaches the core of things rather than stop at the surface; man, instead, because he does not fathom the heart of things, is unable to decide what to do. This indecisiveness is at one and the same time cause and effect of lukewarmness. For the lukewarm person, when called upon to give advice on a subject, will give you plenty of reasons but will not decide which are the good ones. Thus, he will never tell you where to go or what to avoid. Consequently, if you were somewhat uncertain before, you are now left completely in doubt. He becomes eternally irresolute. On the other hand the indecisive person loses fervor and becomes lukewarm.
A whole year would not be enough to enumerate the evil results and the causes of irresoluteness. The truth is that if indecision, which we have been talking about, were the only evil, it would be itself more than enough; for, as long as man is in a state of doubt, he remains inactive.
To get rid of this defect, two means or ways have been found for our journey to God. The first helps us when we are unexpectedly forced either to do or not to do something. It consists of lifting up one’s mind to God and imploring the gift of counsel. Let me explain: when something unforeseen and sudden presents itself, demanding that a choice be made, we lift up our minds to God asking Him to inspire us as to what we should do. Thus, following the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, we shall not be mistaken. The second means or way consists of seeking out our spiritual director, when, of course, we have the time and opportunity to do so, to ask for advice and then act according to his suggestions.
If we, dear friends, do not take the proper measures against this evil weed, it will produce in us a pernicious effect, I mean negligence, which is totally contrary to God’s ways. Therefore, when a man has something important to do, he must think it over and over and, as it were, ruminate upon it; but after such serious reflection and after having sought proper advice, he should not delay executing his project; for the primary requirement in God’s ways is expeditiousness and diligence. That’s why the prophet Micah says, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk eagerly with your God?"; and Paul, "Sollicitudine non pigri" ("avoid with care all negligence"); and Peter, "satagite ut per bona opera ..." ("be prompt through good works ..."). "Satagite" ("Be prompt to action") he says. You will find this sense of urgency commanded and praised in innumerable passages of the Scriptures.
My very dear friends, I have to tell you the truth: it is mainly this irresoluteness in my soul, besides, perhaps, some other shortcoming, that has caused in me this great and blamable negligence and sluggishness to the point that either I never start anything at all or at least I linger on it for so long that I never accomplish it. Consider closely those brothers, the children of a recently deceased father who, having heard Jesus’ counsel, "Let the dead bury their dead," right away followed Christ. And also Peter, James and John, once called, immediately followed Christ. And so, again and again, you will find that those who truly love Christ have always been, to our shame, fervent, diligent, and not sluggish.
Take courage, my brothers, stand up now and come along with me, for I mean we should root out these pernicious plants if perchance they are present in your souls; but if they are not, do come and help me as they are rooted in my heart; and, for God’s sake, cooperate so that I may uproot them and imitate our Savior, who, by His obedience unto death stood up against irresoluteness and, to avoid being negligent, ran toward the cross regardless of its shame. And, if you can now offer me no other aid, help me at least with your prayers. Alas, dear friends, to whom do I dare to write? Indeed, to those who do act and do not merely talk, as I do. If this is the case, at least on my part, I can assure you that only my love for you has impelled me to write these few lines to you.
But I have to tell you something else: I am very much afraid that the two of you are very careless about finalizing the publication of the book. And I mean here in particular Mr. Bartolomeo [Ferrari] with regard to that poor fellow, Giovanni Hyeronimo; for not only have you allowed so many days to pass without sending any information but you have not even written a word about what you have done so far. As far as I am concerned, I am willing to excuse you, but search your conscience to see whether or not you deserve reproach or excuse.
Come then, brothers! If, up to this time, irresoluteness and, side by side with it, negligence have taken hold of our souls, let us get rid of them; and let us run like madmen not only toward God but also toward our neighbors, who alone can be the recipients of what we cannot give to God, since He has no need of our goods.
Give my greetings to Rev. Mr. Don Giovanni. Fra Bono asks him and the two of you to keep him in your prayers. Do the same for me.
From Cremona, January 4, 1531.
Your loving brother in Christ,
Anthony M. Zaccaria, Priest
Milan, July 28, 1531
To the honorable Mr. Carlo Magni,
a most upright attorney, whom I honor as a father.
At St. Anthony’s.
IC. XC. +
Very dear father and brother in Christ, greetings,
I have received your letter of the 23rd of this month, and I set out to answer it only after kneeling a long time before the Crucifix on your behalf, for I think it is necessary to learn from Him what I have to teach you. Had you not employed such a warm and amiable insistence, I would have almost preferred to keep silent; but moved by your entreaty, I will stammer out what I am unable to express clearly.
Thus, dear father in Christ, since your professional activity is quite binding, taking much of your time and energy, necessity suggests choosing a fitting method of prayer. That’s why I would like you to practice, as much as you can, the following three exercises:
First, give yourself to prayer in the morning and at night, as well as at any other hour within a set schedule or not,
--at any time, that is, day or night,
--in any position, that is, in bed or out of it, kneeling or sitting or as you think best,
--and most of all before you start your professional work, usually without any set order, for a short or a long time, as God may grant it to you.
Discuss with Christ everything that may be happening to you: your doubts and your difficulties, especially the hardest ones. Present to Him your reasons, thoroughly but as briefly as possible. Then, only propose to Him the solution you think is the right one or, even better, ask for His opinion; for He will not refuse it if you gently insist. I can assure you that He will let Himself be compelled to give it to you, if, again, you really want to have it.
I am indeed deeply convinced that we can learn more about human laws directly from the legislator than from anybody else, especially when that legislator is himself the rule and the pattern of all things, and knows how to explain and disentangle the sophisms of the devil. Indeed how much more thoroughly will he be able to unravel those of men? Needless to say, if one does not believe this truth, he believes still less that God takes such good care of us that He will not let a single hair of our heads be lost; and again, that He is so wise that He will show the wise of this world for what they are: fools and know-nothings.
Well, then, if in favor of those who have recourse to Him God destroys all the sophistic stratagems of modern men, who seem so intent in separating man from God, can’t you imagine how He will disperse other less complicated machinations much more easily? And if, in a sense, one can unite himself to God, even in the midst of worldly distractions, how much more easily will he be able to unite himself to Him in circumstances more favorable to recollection?
Then, my very dear father in Christ, enter into conversation with Jesus Crucified as familiarly as you would with me; and discuss with Him all or just a few of your problems, according to the time at your disposal. Chat with Him and ask His advice on all your affairs, whatever they may be, whether spiritual or temporal, whether for yourself or for other people.
If you practice this way of prayer, I can assure you that little by little you will derive from it both great spiritual profit and an ever-greater love relationship with Christ. I am not going to add anything else, for I want experience to speak for itself.
The second exercise, which will help you practice the first one and will obtain from God a greater abundance of grace, is the constant lifting up of the mind to God. You, my dear friend, cannot do without it; for the greater the danger and the more important the matter, a steadier application and sharper sight are required from you.
By nature, man finds it difficult to be recollected and, much more so, to be united with God because his spirit is naturally driven in different directions and is unable to focus on one thing. This exercise of lifting up one’s soul to God is, of course, more difficult for the person who has gotten into the bad habit of being dissipated. But the most difficult thing for anybody is to find oneself involved in activities that, by their very nature, (according to my judgment) are not conducive to union with God, and still not be distracted. Who would think it possible to stand in the rain and not get wet? This is true. But what seems to be impossible in itself becomes very easy with God’s help if only we do not refuse Him our cooperation and that diligent practical commitment with which He has endowed us.
Thus, if we want to maintain our union with God and, at the same time, to go on working, talking, thinking, reading, and taking care of our affairs as usual, let us often lift up our minds to God for a long or a short period as, for example, someone would do while entertaining a friend. If he were unable to entertain him on account of pressing business as, for instance, keeping track of the goods which were to be shipped at that moment, he might tell him: "Will you excuse me if I don’t chat with you? I’ve this and that to do; but if you don’t mind waiting, as soon as I’m finished, we’ll talk at leisure." Then, interrupting his writing for a moment, he will occasionally turn his eyes and look at him; sometimes he will utter a word or two about what he is doing; at another time, while still writing, he will say: "In a short while, I’m almost finished." In these and similar ways, he will entertain his friend, though unable to talk at leisure with him. At the same time, he will not be distracted from his job by these gestures nor hindered in his work by such forms of entertainment.
You, too, dear friend, should act in this way, and your studies and works would suffer almost no disadvantage.
Before starting your activities, offer Jesus a few words of your choosing; then during your work often lift up your mind to God. You will benefit much and there will be no detriment to your job.
First and foremost, watch how anything concerning yourself or others is begun, whether foreseeable or not, whether at work or at play. Direct it first to God with any short prayer with which He may inspire you, mentally or also in words that express your thoughts and wishes or in some other manner; then, while working, thinking, or planning, frequently lift up your mind to God. Should your activity continue, break it up, perhaps, for the time it takes to say a "Hail Mary," or as it may seem convenient to you, always, of course, following God’s inspiration. Depending on the length of your activity, you can interrupt your work more than once.
If you follow this practice, you will get used to praying easily and without detriment to your work or to your health; you will be praying incessantly, even while drinking, eating, acting, talking, studying, writing, etc.; and the external actions will not hinder the interior ones and vice versa. If you act otherwise, you will be a decent person but not the Christian Christ wishes, and has called, you to be. This will be clear to you if you consider closely the way by which Christ has been trying to bind you to Himself. I warn you and offer you the means to become such a Christian (if you really want to be one, as I truly think you do), so that you may not change your mind. If this were to happen, it would cause me very great pain indeed.
My very dear friend, if my words have any value in your eyes, I invite you, I entreat you, and I compel you in Christ and for Christ to open your eyes and consider well what I have written to you and try to practice it by deeds, not just by words. I can assure you that you will become a new person, such as you should be in view of the charge that God has placed and will continue to place on your shoulders in different ways. But, if you act otherwise, you will not fulfill your obligation toward God and your neighbor, and, far from being justified, you will be condemned as a transgressor.
Try hard, then, to understand what I have just said, and apply yourself to practicing it; but above all else, while observing the first exercise, keep the third one which I am about to show you; otherwise all your works will be of little value and honor before Christ.
Now, here is the third exercise. In your meditation, prayers, and thoughts, strive to pinpoint your principal defects, most of all the chief one, the Captain-General, as it were, which dominates all the others. While concentrating on trying to kill that one, make every effort also to kill the other defects which may come under your attack, thus imitating the soldier who wants to kill the Commander-in-chief of the enemy who is in the middle of his army. Striving to reach him, the soldier keeps his eyes fixed on him as the target, but at the same time he fights his way toward him by killing the other enemies he may encounter. Do likewise with your defects.
Now, if you asked me which defect, in my judgment, is the dominant one in you, I would answer that, according to my poor insight, there is some sensuality in you. But no, your main defect is not sensuality (you understand what I am talking about, don’t you?), but anger and a sudden change of mood caused by pride, which, in turn, is born of the knowledge and education that you have acquired by your studies and by the expertise which you have obtained naturally and through long practice. Think about it and you will see that this is what makes you discontent, disturbed, prone to use bad manners and to say unbecoming words. Besides, this root of pride produces other bad fruits and effects in you.
I have just shown you the evil that in you is the mother of all vices. Kill it, then, and it will not produce any more offspring. It is up to you now to search the manner and the means of how to do it. But, if you do not know how, at some other time I might possibly write to you about it or explain it to you in a conversation. If perhaps this were not your main defect (although for many reasons I am convinced that it is), find out which one it is and kill it.
If you treasure the counsels that I have just given you, you will fall in love with Jesus Crucified quite easily. Any other way will keep you away from Him: a sad thing that I hate to see in you, for I love you and feel impelled to love you and see you forever in Christ Crucified. Amen.
I have bought a device to produce good and updated printing, and I will send it to you. It costs three liras and ten pennies.
I am about to send out some books on the spiritual life, which I believe to be more useful than any others you might read. I will send them to you. Try to convince the A. to buy them, for they will serve well those who want to make progress here in this life.
Our Fra Bono? Well, both you and I have lost him. He keeps away from me, or just seems to avoid me, on account of some obstacle. Some three or four days go by without seeing each other; and when we do, I can barely speak to him. He must be afraid that I want to convince him to join us. I like the letter you wrote to him, but he needs stronger exhortations; so do give them to him.
I will be writing to the A. Greet them all, each and everyone, on my behalf. Recommend me very warmly to the prayers of our ReverendPrimicerio, etc.
From Milan, July 28, 1531
Your son and brother in Christ,
Anthony M. Zaccaria, Priest
August 19, 2010
August 6, 2010
August 2, 2010
August 1, 2010
June 22, 2010
June 8, 2010
June 7, 2010
Cartoon about life of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, (1502 -1539). Founder of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabites) and Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, and Laity of St. Paul (in PORTUGUESE)
Cartoon about life of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, (1502 -1539).
Founder of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabites) and Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, and Laity of St. Paul
May 11, 2010
March 30, 2010
March 16, 2010
"Religious life is a cross to be carried a step at a time and in a steady fashion, "for your sake we face death all day long," as the Apostles used to say; and the Lord told us to take up our cross daily. Are you disciples of Christ? Then, carry your cross, mortify your bodies with fasting and toiling, watch in prayer, spend your time helping your neighbor, nail yourselves to holy obedience never withdrawing from it. So, for Christ's sake, do not make any more idols." (Sermon 1)
"He will grant you, in particular, a continuous spirit of self-abandonment on the ignominious cross, and lead you to a life conformed to Christ’s according to the pattern of the great saints. Consequently, you will be able to say with your Father, “be imitators of us as we are of Christ.” (Letter V)
March 9, 2010
A history of St Anthony Zaccaria in Italian
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