Saturday, January 7, 2023

Saturday before Epiphany

The Month of January Dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus

First Saturday of the Month

Saint: Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest, Patron Saint of Lawyers in general and Canon Lawyers in particular (c. 1175-1275)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Prologue 45-50 

Mass: 1 Jn 5:14-21; Resp Ps 149; Jn 2:1-11 

From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.



Children, be on your guard against idols.
(1 Jn 5:21)

Looking to our saint of the day, another remarkable one, Saint Raymond of Penyafort, I think of a phrase I have never quite understood and one I avoid. It is in regard to religious life and a "late vocation." First, I am not sure exactly what the person is late for. And if everything is on God's time and not ours, what does it even mean to be late, or early for that matter. I have been told that a "late vocation," is someone who enters religious life in later years, or after a career, or after marriage, or after other things. What about Raymond of Penyafort then? 

Born in Barcelona in the late 12th century, Raymond was well educated and taught philosophy at the university for a number of years. At one point, around the age of 30, the scholar was sent to study secular and Church law at Bologna in Italy. After earning a terminal degree, he taught until 1219. Around 1222, the 47-year-old joined the Order of Preachers, that is, the Dominicans. Not idle, he wrote a manual of moral theology for use by confessors, and preached the faith in true Dominican fashion, bringing back many who had wandered from the fold. Raymond and others established the Order of Our Lady of Mercy and he promoted the Crusades. Did I mention that Raymond was a contemporary of Saint Thomas Aquinas and inspired the Angelic Doctor to write the Summa Contra Gentiles for conversion of non-Catholics? It is said that 10,000 Muslims converted to the faith as a result of Saint Raymond's evangelistic labors. Called by Pope Gregory IX (Pontiff from 1227-until his death in 1241), Raymond produced a work that resulted in five books that for centuries served as a basis of the Church's internal legal system. There are many other things that followed in Raymond's work for the Church and the Order. For example, he established language schools to aid in evangelization of non-Christians. He went on like this until his death in 1275 at the ripe age of around 100 or so.* 

So, was Raymond a "late vocation" or was he just responding to God's will for him over a lifetime, when it was God's "time" to call him to this or that? Or maybe it is something else altogether. We pray especially today for all lawyers in general, and all canon lawyers in particular. May Saint Raymond of Penyafort intercede for them. 

May the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest and speed you on your journey; may He meanwhile shelter you from disturbance by others in the hidden recesses of His love, until He brings you at last into that place of complete plenitude will you repose for ever in the vision of peace, in the serenity of trust and in the restful enjoyment of His riches.
(From a letter by Saint Raymond, priest, in Office of Readings, January 7)


* For all of this and more, please see Catholic News Agency, "Saint Raymond of Penyafort."

Today's photo: With the abundance of rain this season, we have been blessed with Chantarelles, Chantarelles, and more Chantarelles. And the rain just keeps on coming. Maybe the Chatarelles will too. The earth and its fullness.

© Gertrude Feick 2023

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