The Servant of God Zachary of Alemquer, Confessor, First Order
At the time St. Francis went to Rome to ask the vicar of Christ to grant him authority and blessing to preach the Gospel to the infidels, a young Roman presented himself to the saint and earnestly begged for admission into the order. St. Francis received him and gave him the name of Friar Zachary.
Zachary distinguished himself in the order by his deep piety and ardent love for God and for his neighbor. So the holy Founder considered him capable and worthy of spreading the order in other countries. When he was sufficiently trained in the religious life and had received the holy priesthood, he was sent to Spain with several other brothers. He did not, however, find a favorable opportunity to found a new convent.
So the band of friars continued their journey to Portugal. There they succeeded, although only after overcoming many an obstacle, in founding convents at Coimbra, Lisbon, and also at Alemquer, where Father Zachary resided and died as guardian.
The power of his prayers was remarkable. Once there was no
food in the convent. Nevertheless, when mealtime came around, he ordered all
the brothers to sit down at table with confidence. Then he knelt down in prayer
before a crucifix, and presently there appeared at the door of the convent a
charming young man who brought just as many nice white loaves of bread as there
were religious in the convent for their meal.
On another occasion, a man came to the guardian and told him that he had doubts regarding the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and that he was unable to overcome them. Zachary instructed him, but it was all to no avail. Then he asked the man to attend the Mass which he was to say on the following morning. In answer to the devout prayer of His faithful servant, our Lord deigned to show Himself to the doubting man as the Sacrificial victim, from the time of the Consecration to the Communion, whereupon all his doubts vanished.
Zachary was glorified by God through many other miracles, and the Franciscan Order continued to spread throughout Portugal.
Christ our Lord has said, “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” And speaking in general, He solemnly declared: “Amen, amen, I say unto you: if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you.” That was said by the Almighty and true God, who is able to keep His word, who is minded to keep it, and who will keep it. Numerous examples from Holy Scripture, as well as the examples just related in the life of the servant of God Zachary, show how God kept His word.
But in order to be worthy of the response promised, our prayer must be performed in the proper manner, especially with firm trust and with perseverance. For thus says Christ our Lord: “Whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe and it will come unto you.” And St James says: “He who wavers, let him not think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.” That our prayer must be persevering, may be learned from the expressions with which our Lord exhorts us to it – ask, seek, and knock. How successful, persevering, and trustful prayer is, we learn from the fine example of the Canaanite woman. (Mt. 15)
“And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by the devil. Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us: And he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me.
Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters. Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.
Consider that the answer to our prayer does not always take a form that is in accordance with our wishes. Rather, sometimes it takes a much more perfect form. We, of course, believe that the granting of our desires is the best thing for us; yet, often the all-knowing and all-wise God sees that that is not the case. So He answers our prayer, if it was otherwise a good prayer, in a more perfect way: as by granting us the grace of resignation to His holy will; by strengthening our hearts with patience in the distress and suffering which He permits to continue because they are for our welfare; by giving us the grace to resist the temptations which He intends should purify and humble our soul. In that way, we always receive what Jesus Christ would ask for us, and what we also mean to ask for when we petition the Father in His name.
Prayer of the Church
Let the ears of Thy mercy, O Lord, be open to the petition of Thy suppliants; and that Thou mayest grant their desires, make them to ask what is pleasing to Thee. 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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