November 2000, Volume 6, Issue 4

Saint Of The Month

Charles Borromeo

On October 26, 1569 Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, was at evening prayer. He had been attempting to bring to order a corrupt religious group known as the Humiliati, which had no more than seventy members but which possessed the wealth of ninety monasteries. One of the Humiliati, a priest named Farina, shot at the archbishop as he knelt before the altar. When it turned out that the wound was not mortal, Charles Borromeo rededicated himself to the reform of the church.

At this time the diocese of Milan stretched from Venice to Geneva. It comprised three thousand clergy and six hundred thousand lay men and women. Born an aristocrat, Charles Borromeo decided he ought to identify himself with the poor of this huge diocese. He traveled its length and breadth.

In 1575 when the plague struck Milan Charles Borromeo refused to leave the city. During the famine of 1570 he managed to find food for three thousand people a day. He died in the arms of his Welsh confessor in 1584, aged only forty-six, with the words, "Behold, I come. Your will be done.

From A Calendar of Saints, The Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year

Since happiness is nothing other than
the enjoyment of the highest good
and since the highest good is above,
no one can be made happy unless he rise
above himself, not by an ascent of the body,
but of the heart.
But we cannot rise above ourselves
unless a higher power lift us up.
No matter how much our interior progress is ordered,
nothing will come of it
unless accompanied by divine aid.
Divine aid is available
to those who seek it in their hearts,
humbly and devoutly;
and this means to sigh for it
in this valley of tears, through fervent prayer.
Prayer, then, is the mother and source
of the ascent...
Let us pray, therefore, and say to the Lord our God:
Lead me, Lord, in your path,
and I will enter in your truth.

- St. Bonaventure The Soul's Journey Into God