Archive for October 10, 2017

“NUNCA MAS!” – A VERY PERSONAL DAY

October 10, 2017

(A meditation recorded for myself.   Important info.)

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October 10.      The day the Christian world remembers that remarkable man, St. Francis de Borgia.

The training of St. Francis:

Born to a family of status and responsibility with the wealth and royal connections to be able to carry out those responsibilities,   Francis was brought up in a loving family under stern tutors and attentive spiritual directors to train him in the abilities – and attitudes – that would make him a good leader in his area of Spain.

He was trained in the courtly skills of competitive physical games,  swordsmanship,   dancing;   he loved music,  he really loved ball games (alas,  not football exactly,  but the equivalent of it – and I understand him!  I take that personally! )  He loved literature, and above all he took his faith seriously, which,   by my own personal experience,    enhances and adds new enjoyment to everything you like to do.

The character of St Francis:

You can give a child a lot of good opportunities, a lot of good attention,  a lot of good education,  but you can’t make him become a good person,  unless the young man is wise and willing and disciplines himself according to the worthy things he’s being taught.

What’s more important?  Where do you find a balance between demanding,  severely demanding,   that a child learn well and develop a good character, on the one hand,  and giving him the freedom to develop himself, on the other hand?    That is called the Art of parenting,  the Art of teaching,  the Art of spiritual counsel. . . .

Well, it all worked together in the case of St. Francis de Borgia.

The adult life of St. Francis:

Born in 1510, in Catalonia, by the time Francis was 33 years old  he had taken on adult duties, was a trusted and valuable government official,  married and  fell  deeply in love with his wife, and had eight children,  never turning away from God or his Catholic faith in all that he did.

Being a good man does not keep tragedy away,  and soon, in his young adult life,  tragedy struck.   His beloved wife died,  in spite of constant fasting,  supplications,  prayers and mortifications in his private chapel.   Those particular prayers were not answered.    As we can imagine,  it caused some very deep thinking.

Francis had continuing duties in the court of Charles V, including accompanying the beautiful Empress Isabella at various times.   She was well-loved and respected.  St. Francis admired her  piety but was also impressed by her beauty,  her popularity,  her skill at carrying out royal duties.

Nunca Mas (*) ! –

This is the famous statement of St. Francis.   It came about by this:   the beautiful Isabella died.    A national tragedy and  a personal one for St. Francis.    After a state funeral,  her body had to be transported to the royal burial city –  transported through hot weather, for several days, through uncertain roads, and heavily  guarded .   St Francis was given the honorable and serious responsibility of not only helping to guard, but also to be the one trusted royal courtier to identify the body once it arrived at its destination.

After hot jiggly days in the wagon that had carried her coffin,  St. Francis had to look upon the beautiful Isabella – who was by now a half-decomposed corpse.   Of course Francis knew what he might see  . . .  but actually experiencing the horrifying disfigured face of the Lady he had served . . .  that is what changed his life.

If all the beauty and riches and power of this world come to . . .  this terrifying and revolting object,    then St. Francis decided to put away all the time and effort that he had used to serve the things that this passing world  thinks is important.

Career?  Career advancement?  Education?  Sophistication?   Beauty?   Riches?   Talent?

It all becomes what St. Francis saw in the coffin.

From then on his attention changed;  and writings and his influence became, by our standards,  severe and stern, and focused on our preparation for the Next World.

It is at that point in his life that I became acquainted with St.  Francis de Borgia,  shortly after I finally  entered the Church.     It took me way too long to go in,  but when I did,  my mind, my life, my opportunities, my future,   everything opened up for me!   (Much to my surprise!)

One thing upon becoming Catholic, is that all the saints before you,  named and unnamed,  canonized and uncanonized,  all become available, as inspiration,  guides,  teachers,  helpers,  coaches,  encouragers,

Two came to my mind:  St. Francis de Borgia was one.  Stern,  severe words that point the way to the loving faithfulness of God our Savior.

What’s not to like (for me?)     Music,  literature, a thorough education,  a career in which you’re responsible for the well-being and development of other people.  Football!  (or ball games),   sports and vigorous physical training,   but then the Reality that put it all in perspective:   “Nunca mas”   St Francis tells us….  “No more” – “No more of this” –  No more putting these things first, all these things that lead only to death and corruption.

I’m going to die, personally speaking.  Might be at an outdoor music concert.   Might be out on the “wild western roads” I love to drive.   Might be an  accident or a disease.    I had a dream a long time ago, a dream-vision of being shot in the chest by a small Chinese man in a brown uniform.    Don’t know what that means.  The dream ended abruptly.

St. Francis has told me, reminds me every day,  that some things are not so important,  not as important as making sure you that you will  go to heaven.  No more try to please the world –  Nunca mas! –  but live so that you are pleasing to God, the One who gave you your life in the first place.

Omigosh!   Life in this world becomes so much larger then!

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And another big thank you to Mr. Y for sending me a third-class relic,  which  “warns”  every day . . . .     (I miss your blog.)

 

*  Nunca mas voy a servir a un maestro que conduce a la muerte . . .  (something like that)

 

 

 

 

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