Saint Charles Borromeo, Pray for Us
Readings: 1st: Phil 2:12-18; Ps 27; Gos: Lk 14:25-33
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the Wednesday of the thirty-first week of ordinary time, the church honors a great figure of faith, Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop
Charles Borromeo was born in 1538. He was a member of a noble family and the nephew of Pope Pius IV. He was made a cardinal at the age of 23 and assisted the Pope in administering the Holy See’s affairs.
Charles combined the love of the good life with the self-sacrificing zeal that one would expect of a dedicated and good Christian. The love of Charles for his neighbor and his liberality toward the poor was very great.
During the famine of 1570, he brought in food to feed three thousand people a day for three months. When the plague was severe in Milan, Charles sold his household furniture, even his bed, to aid the sick and needy.
During the plague, he walked barefooted in the public streets, carrying a cross with a rope around his neck, and offering himself as a victim to God for his people’s transgressions.
He died in 1584 at the age of forty-six, dressed in sackcloth and ashes while holding a picture of Jesus Crucified in his hands. His last words were, “See, Lord, I am coming. I am coming soon.”
In today’s Gospel, Christ tells us, “Whoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
Today, Christ presents us with another dimension of how to express this love. This is by also loving God with all our heart and mind above every other thing.
Christ invites his followers to make a radical decision, and only those ready to make that decision can be faithful disciples.
This is what Saint Charles Borromeo did. He loved God and showed this love through his service and sacrifice for his brothers and sisters, even to the point of offering his own life.
Today, Christ reminds us of the first commandment of loving God before all else. This demands active faith and sacrifice. So, let us ask God for the heart of a real disciple of Jesus.
Peace be with you