FEAST OF ST. JOHN OF CAPISTRANO
Proverbs, Chapter 1, Verse 33
But whoever obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm.”
We must move toward inward peace!
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
In modern times, with all the violence that is going on in the whole world and with America at the center of any response to terror and terrorists, and rogue nations how should we respond? First and foremost without fear for the Lord is our King. We should search our hearts and seek to retain a heart of peace. Our response must be measured and used with no malice. We must stop evil but not with hatred. We should love the humanity of our enemies, pray for them and do good to them if we can.
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." (Romans 12:20)
According to the CIA world fact book many of the countries in which we have the greatest troubles have the lowest per capita income per person in the world. For example per capita in the US is $57,400 a year versus $1700 in North Korea (note the US is 20th in per capita (Hong Kong is 19); it is interesting to note the number one nation in per capita is Lietchtenstein (big money launders) at $139,100). Our enemies are hungry and used or abused by ruff creatures of men. Imagine what could happen if we could use the great economic power of this country and other countries of goodwill to raise the good men in these regions up: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty: to empower men of goodwill and remove the ruff creatures of men from power.
716 The People of the "poor" - those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord."
2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."
St. John was born in 1386 at Capistrano in the Italian Province of the Abruzzi. His father was a German knight and died when he was still young. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, St. John tried to broker a peace. Unfortunately, his opponents ignored the truce and St. John became a prisoner of war. On the death of his wife he entered the order of Friars Minor, was ordained and began to lead a very penitential life. John became a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena and a noted preacher.
· The world at the time was in need of strong men to work for salvation of souls.
· Thirty percent of the population was killed by the Black Plague, the Church was split in schism and there were several men claiming to be pope.
· As an Itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, St. John preached to tens of thousands and established communities of Franciscan renewal.
· He reportedly healed the sick by making the Sign of the Cross over them. He also wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.
· He was successful in reconciling heretics.
Things to Do
· St. John struggled with finding his vocation. Younger people can pray to St. John for help in discerning God's will for their lives.
· Learn more about the times that St. John Capistrano lived, such as the Crusades, the Black Plague, anti-popes.
· St. John is the patron of jurists. We can turn to him to help discern major decisions. We can also follow his example of strict self-discipline in order to think more clearly.
· In 1776 in Southern California, Father Junipera Serra founded the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, named for St. John, for mission work to the Indians. The mission is a historical site, and has both a Catholic Basilica and the original smaller chapel that are still used for Catholic liturgy. See the Wikipedia page. There is also a tradition of the swallows returning to San Juan every March 19. Find out more about this annual event.