The Servant of God Louis of Arazilo, Confessor, First Order
Louis of Arazilo lived in the Spanish province of Valencia in a convent where, by lawful dispensation, several mitigations were permitted in the observance of the strict rule of St. Francis.
He longed to transfer to a unit of the order that observed the Franciscan rule in all its rigor, but his delicate health would not permit the fulfillment of this pious desire. When, however, his longing for perfect observance continued to grow, he resolved to carry out his design, trusting in Him who is strong even in the weak. And lo, as soon as he entered the stricter convent, he felt himself gaining such strength that he could join in the observance of all the austerities. Only for the hardships of preaching did he lack the necessary strength, but his holy life was a continuous sermon, and his loving kindness won all ears to himself.
Chosen guardian of the convent, he administered the office with great solicitude and love. Especially in the care of the sick did he manifest his charity, sacrificing himself for them completely. When a contagious disease broke out in that region, he was untiringly active in visiting the sick, comforting them, and in preparing them for a Christian death.
But his weakened energies began to decline and he himself was seized by the epidemic. After heroically enduring the greatest pains, he died as a martyr of charity in the year 1583. After his death, he appeared to his brethren in the convent radiant with glory!
It is a common temptation to become impatient in times of delicate health and infirmity as if we were no good for anything, and instead of being useful to others, were only a burden to them. This is a serious delusion, which robs us of great merit. If our dear Lord permits us to become weak and unfit for work, He is offering us the opportunity to accumulate merits for heaven by patient suffering and resignation to His holy will. And if others should be put to much trouble in caring for us, that can also redound greatly to their spiritual benefit, for it will bring them precious merits.
Sometimes, too, there is the delusion and the resultant dissatisfaction with life that we are of no earthly use, just because we are not in a condition to do everything. As we see in the life of the servant of God Louis of Arazilo, goodwill and confidence in God often change a weak man into a strong one, and make him much more useful than others who are in the best of health. But even apart from that, it is sufficient in the sight of God that we work according to the measure of strength and ability given to us. That servant in the Gospel who had acquired two talents with the two that had been given him received the same reward as the one who gained five with the five he had received (Mt. 25); but woe to the slothful servant who, though he has been given only one talent, has not used it to gain at least another one with it.
Consider that personal weakness and suffering should especially incline a person to be sympathetic with other sufferers, as saintly Louis was in such a heroic manner. For that very reason, the Son of God took upon Himself the weakness of human nature so that He could “have compassion on our infirmities.”
Prayer of the Church
Succor in Thy mercy our weakness, we beseech Thee, O Lord: and in pity renew that poor strength of ours which of its own nature is ever wasting away. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
*from the Franciscan Book of Saints by Marion A. Habig, OFM
Pelayo's resistance initiated the nearly 800-year-long Reconquista to take back his country from the ruthless invader who had conquered his homeland and sought to erase his culture and his faith. His actions would lay the foundations of a Kingdom for Christ that would eventually reach around the world and spread the Catholic faith to millions of souls. Read more...
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