Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Saint John Leonardi, Priest

A letter to Pope Paul V by St John Leonardi

I will tell you what the Lord requires of you
Saint John Leonardi
Those who want to work for moral reform in the world must seek the glory of God before all else. Because he is the source of all good, they must wait for his help, and pray for it in this difficult and necessary undertaking. They must then present themselves to those they seek to reform, as mirrors of every virtue and as lamps on a lamp-stand. Their upright lives and noble conduct must shine before all who are in the house of God. In this way they will gently entice the members of the Church to reform instead of forcing them, lest, in the words of the Council of Trent, they demand of the body what is not found in the head, and thus upset the whole order of the Lord’s household.
  They will be like skilled physicians taking great pains to dispose of all the diseases that afflict the Church and require a cure. They will ready themselves to provide suitable remedies for each illness.
  As far as remedies applicable to the whole Church are concerned, reform must begin with high and low alike, with superiors and inferiors. Yet the reformers must look first to those who are set over the rest, so that reform can begin at the point from which it may spread to the others.
  Be especially concerned with cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and priests, whose particular duty is the care of souls, and make them men to whom guidance of the Lord’s flock can be safely entrusted. So let us work down from the highest to the lowest, from superiors to inferiors. Those men who must initiate ecclesiastical reform must not be looked down upon.
  Nothing should be left untried that can train children from early childhood in good morals and in the earnest practice of Christianity. To this end nothing is more effective than pious instructions in Christian doctrine. Children should be entrusted only to good and God-fearing teachers.
  These are the thoughts, most holy Father, that the Lord has chosen to inspire in me for the present on this most important matter. If at first glance they appear difficult, compare them with the magnitude of the situation. Then they will seem very easy indeed. Great works are accomplished only by great men, and great men should be involved in great works.

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