The Life of San Gerardo
S. Gerardo Maiella, Missionary Redemptorist, is invoked worldwide as a special patron of mothers and children. Spentosi to Materdomini October 16, 1755 the young age of 29 years, its short existence will be known as the "wonderful life of St. Gerard Majella"
Like any other character, St. Gerard Majella must take it as it is: a copy of the suffering Christ, a fanatic of the will of God, a charismatic hunter of souls, often in a mystic ecstasy, a sower of miracles. Hiding his miracles would be like refusing the story and write a novel. It would be like denying, Gerardo, the virtue that was the source of all the other: "a faith that can move mountains," according to the promise of the Lord (Mt. 17.20). Certainly the enthusiasm that a taumaturgo leaves behind it thickens and becomes more and more. As in any other saint, it is clear that the light radiated by Gerardo is not independent: he is only reflected light of Christ. His life speaks to us of not only the strength of the Redeemer, who, with the gift of the Spirit, frees us, heals us, renews us; his teaching is faithful echo of the Gospel; horizons, to which we projected , Are open from the cross and the resurrection of Christ. Refer to Gerardo does want to fix our gaze, in an ever more intense, on Christ; recognize him as the only master our (cf. Mt 23.10); repeat with Peter: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life "(Jn 6:68). Writes John Paul II: 'This is not to invent a "new programme". The program already exists: is to always, the Gospel and the living Tradition. It focuses, ultimately, in Christ himself, to be known, loved and imitated, to live in his life Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfillment in the heavenly Jerusalem. It is a program that does not change with shifts of times and cultures, even if time and culture is, for a true dialogue and effective communication.
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Childhood and adolescence
The 'brother useless "was born April 6, 1726. Domenico Maiella and Benedicta Galella the baptism called Gerard. He had a childhood difficult. Poverty was the only thing that always had in his house, and when he lacked the necessary went to take refuge in the chapel of the Virgin to Capodigiano. "The Son of that beautiful Lady" thought to Gerardo, and often staccava the knees of Mother to donate to the little white friend a sandwich. The fact of white bread is repeated several times, 'for a long time ". Only later, from religious, Gerardo tell her sister Bridget: 'Now I know that this child that I gave that bread was the same Jesus ".
The encounter with Jesus present in the Eucharist
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The gift of white bread had led to discover another bread, also white, although smaller. The scorgeva in church, the Mass, when the faithful accostavano the balustrade. Here he understood early that it was Jesus. And˛ also one morning, but the priest saw him and the small rimand˛ seating. In eight years, at that time, had little to the Eucharist, but Gerardo had incamminato from time to the knowledge of his Lord.
The tears paid to church continued to wet the bed of his harsh poor room. The priest had said no, but Jesus would have answered yes to his little friend. At night sent the archangel Michael to porgergli the consecrated bread. The next morning, happy and triumphant, candidly confessed: "Yesterday I was the priest refused communion, last night the archangel St. Michael has led me." Even this episode, apparently fantastic, it will be confirmed by the same Gerardo twenty years later.
The experience of working
The murese Monsignor Albini was looking for a home. It had been many, but no one had survived. The character of the prelate scoraggiava anyone. On the contrary entusiasm˛ Gerard. Maybe he did not know what to expect, but he was looking imitation of the crucified, and for him, sacrifices and accusations were grace. All'episcopio of Lacedonia they found in abundance.
On occasions that offers him monsignor added fasts, flagellazioni, nights of prayer: pale and shaky, but always serene and smiling. Even when an unfortunate distraction to leave get out of hand the keys of the apartment, while draws water from the well. "What will say monsignor?".
Imperturbato in its serenity, sfreccia towards the cathedral, detaches from a niche a statue of baby Jesus and the league instead of the bucket. Then orders: "Go 'down, and riportami the key." Jesus obeys to Gerardo, and return with the key in hand. For the present, realized admired, that will be "the well of Gerardiello.
At Monsignor Albini spent three years of assiduous service, happy to be committed and vilipeso the character of his sweet little shepherd. At his death the wept sincerely, perhaps only him, 'you've lost the best friend. " What had actually lost was the opportunity daily to be abused and maltrattarsi. He returned to Wall and the project failed to get cappuccino, tried with a friend the experience of romitaggio. The loneliness and poverty did withdraw sprovveduto companion, and Gerardo, left alone, was also forced him to retire.
They remembered that he was tailor. He opened shop alone. It was not good in the trade, and the desire of prayer was stronger than that of work. It became known as "the tailor make you" for its reduced capacity and for his very little profit.
At his little skill but sopperiva with prodigies: good for nothing perhaps, but a saint. Why are the hours spent in church that shop. He had to be violence for strapparsi his Jesus, "prisoner" of the tabernacle. When he could not go with him the hours of the day, approfittava night, sacrificing sleep to talk with his Buddy. Once tabernacle came out from a mysterious voice of sweet rebuke: "Pazzerello." And Gerardo spontaneous: "More fool you, Lord, who out of love there been a prisoner in the tabernacle.
Pazzia of love that manifested itself in other circumstances. The third Sunday of May, Wall, prepared the solemn procession of the statue of. The eyes of the people were focused on the sweet image. Even those of Gerard, immobile and ecstatic. Suddenly, he jumped on the platform of the throne, took the ring finger and had to thread to the finger of the Virgin, cried out loud: "I have boyfriend to Our Lady."
To implement his plan of holiness environment Muro not enough.
Gerardo knows the Missionaries Redemptorists
In early August 1748 two Redemptorist religious - talare dress decorated with a long crown to the belt and white collar - crossed the Sella di Conza, came in Castelgrande and headed towards Muro Lucano. For their eyes appeared a cascade of white houses with green picchiettate: something fabulous.
After a short break of naive astonishment, father and brother Francis Garzilli Onofrio Rich began knocking on the doors questuando bids for the sanctuary of Materdomini, Caposele. It was under construction a new home of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
The Redemptorists were designed by Alfonso Maria de Liguori in 1732 to Scala, on Amalfi. Up to over 1000 metres, this noble Neapolitan, former lawyer in sixteen years, then priest and missionary, in the solitude of a mountain church, Santa Maria dei Monti, ripens˛ to his city, scene of sfarzi and culture, and experienced l ' abandonment of pastors in poor and desolate land. The impact between two realities so stridenti was the last push to its "conversion". The Congregation newborn should have had as purpose cure of souls more abandoned, devoid of any spiritual relief. They were constructed so the colleges of Ciorani, Pagani, Deliceto. Now it was thought to Ca-po-selection. The Archbishop of Conza, Monsignor Joseph Nicolai, had offered to Alfonso romitorio and the church of Materdomini to make it a center of spirituality in the diocese.
Continuing their tour, the two ambassadors of Alfonso de Liguori and the Virgin Materdomini, apportatori unaware of a divine message, imbatterono in a couple tall and frail from head and big eyes deep, which agucchiava in its botteguccia of tailor. That couple, against any human prediction, a day would have been Redemptorist.
The April 13, 1749 some Missionaries Redemptorists undertook in the town Lucanian a sacred mission. Scocc˛ the final hour of the call. The ideal of holiness living in those missionaries was his ideal: felt that this was his way, his vocation.
But its official request found the obstacle of his frail physical constitution. Father Paul Cafaro, a man of virtue and intelligence, the fixed and was relentless: "Our life is not for you." Even mother Benedetta, for some reason, were against the decision of his son, and he spoke to top of the mission. Knowing well the stubbornness of his son, the serr˛ at home on the day of departure of missionaries. Could a closed door stop the will of God?
GO TO THE HOLY FARMI
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The bells of all churches played to the glory respects the people of Muro to evangelizers partenti. People riversava on the streets, porgeva a last farewell, demanded last blessing. Only at home, recluso, the young seeker of God, from the window upstairs listening to the riot of bells and the buzz of the crowd. Smaniava. Every minute was an ever greater distance between him and missionaries. Two obbedienze fought in his mind: the mother or God? The crossroads tremendous demanded ready solution. He wrote on a sheet of paper: "Mom, forgive me. Do not think of me. I'm going to make me holy. " Annod˛ two sheets, scavalc˛ the windowsill and was in the street, running from desperate. The missionaries had left the village and initiated towards Rionero in Vulture.
Just past the missionaries, without stopping, he began to shout: "Fathers, aspettatemi." In the middle of the street, in the sun and dust, renewed demand. Father Cafaro, for its part, renewed the refusal: "Son, go back home; you can not succeed in our Institute. "Sperimentatemi, and then I licenzierete 'logically insisted the postulant.
The insistence opened his mind to the holy missionary who chose a middle way: sent to the upper Deliceto with this form of presentation: "We send a brother useless, with regard to fatigue, because it is very frail conformation; moreover I did not could do without it, given the insistence of him and credit of a young virtuoso who enjoys in the city of Berlin Wall. "
Gerado enters the Redemptorists
From Redemptorist his life changed. He entered the house of Deliceto, in Puglia, a true hermitage, Gerardo seemed to enter nell'anticamera of paradise.
The reception which took was not encouraging: all to see, scrollarono his head. What would have made of a person who seemed to sustain the soul with teeth? But he had asked to be tested, and the father D'Antonio, which reggeva that community, put to the test. In the forest, the kitchen, refectory, baked, under construction, cleaners, wherever faticasse invariably Giocondo and willing, this was Gerard. A great miracle of will and energy, lasted six months, how many happiness to change the opinion brothers on his behalf. As if he had provided short course of his life, tried to gain in intensity what they could build in many years. She chose the rigid father Cafaro as a model and moderator in virtue. This is his first commitments:
"First way: posuit me Deus in paradise voluptatis. Sappi, or Gerardo, whom God has snatched you from the world and you asked what the new Adam in this paradise of the Congregation for the sole purpose to work and put running the precepts and recommendations of his holy Gospel, you have rules. Put yourself, if neglected.
According to the way: I will have to be carefully minute observer of everything the rules, to persevere and grow in goodness, mainly engage in union with God. "
Despite these intentions, the brother Gerardo seemed many times interpreter free of the rules of the congregation. He was guided by the law of the Spirit, which often freed from that written. He however believed that it was not yet enough subjected to the Spirit, and then put us all to pray and mortificarsi. Its director Cafaro father taught: "To be holy must agonizzare and agonizzare always, taking into mortificarsi in all, in eating, drinking, sleeping, and everything else." And Gerardo resolutely proposed: "Once I have the only chance to make me holy, if I lose, I lose forever." It helped in this effort to imitate the Master environmental circumstances. Already in the Wall street children had found in him the bait of fun. Following was a rural guard of the Duke of Bovino malmenarlo with a football team rifle and affect up to offendergli a rib. The brothers, who just believed her holiness, the derisero calling fannullone and crazy. Not to mention abandonment he was left, the loneliness of the spirit or dell'ariditÓ. His father Antonio Tannoia, his biographer and contemporary, said that it was drawing on a cross, in the likeness of Jesus, who is in Holy Week with straziava cardoons, chains, disciplines blooded, night vigils and fasting, that on the evening of Thursday seemed enter into un'agonia internal mysterious and torturante. His cell, with a saccone filled with stones to bed and skulls of dead around, was his paradise, where flagellava with peaks of iron and slept banded by cilizi.
All this heroism has an explanation: Gerardo had directed his life on this maxim: "To love God very, always united to God. Far everything to God. Amare everything to God. Conformarmi always to his holy will. Patire much for God. You penalty endless suffering, and not suffer for God. Patire everything and patirlo for God is nothing. "
That's right: quell'esemplare brother was reached this degree of resignation not to have a more free will, but to live and work in him the will of God. Hence blind obedience to the letter until rasentare the incredible, the impossible.
This is about another way: 'My God, for your sake, I obbedir˛ to my superiors as they mirassi You ubbidissi same and to your divine person. And I will be more like you were not my own, but what you are nell'intelletto same and will of those who commanded me. " A decision was so radical result in obedience heroic. And God answered by miracles. Since his assiduous thought was the Lord, you saw absorbed and often in ecstatic contemplation, they seem neglected and distracted. But a mention of higher scattava as a spring: "Brother Gerard, immediately get on the road for Ascoli Satriano. And Gerardo part immediately, dressed as found: a shred of tunic and a pair of slippers that drag on the floors of the house.