St. Charles of Sezze
Welcome to KNOW YOUR SAINTS! a Sunday blog that features a saint whose feast day is celebrated during the following week.
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St. Charles of Sezze
1613 – 1670
Feast Day January 18th
To introduce this humble saint, let’s begin with a quote…
“The autobiography of Charles stands as a very strong refutation of the opinion, quite common among religious people, that saints are born saints, that they are privileged right from their first appearance on this earth. This is not so. Saints become saints in the usual way, due to the generous fidelity of their correspondence to divine grace. They had to fight just as we do, and more so, against their passions, the world and the devil.” – Father Serverino Gori
Isn’t that beautiful? Let us not forget, when we read about the saints, that above all they are PEOPLE- human beings that allowed the grace of God to make them more perfectly themselves. It seems that St. Charles did just that. He always was outwardly imperfect; too sickly to become a traveling missionary, too poor at his studies to become a seminarian, too clumsy to be anything but a hazard to those he was around. Undeterred, he followed his calling and became a lay Franciscan friar in 1635.
He was a Franciscan to the best of his abilities, living a simple life of obedience and simplicity. He was a gardener, cook, beggar, and anything else his order required of him. Through living his vocation and doing as God willed, he received great grace, enough so that his confessor convinced him to write mystical works and his own autobiography, about which the above quote speaks. He used his writing to discern whether or not his ambitions and desires were of God, and acted accordingly.
Despite, or perhaps because of, his simple faith, he was sought out for spiritual advice, even by then Pope Clement IX. St. Charles was not a heroic saint, fighting demons, dragons, or desperation. He simply sought out the will of God and adhered to it. This, and his devotion to the Eucharist and Christ’s Passion enabled him to bear the side wound of the stigmata till his death, when it was sealed with a scar of the Cross.
St. Charles of Sezze died naturally on January 6th, 1670 at the age of 57. He was canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1959. He is buried in Rome.
St. Charles of Sezze, as we begin this new year with our resolutions and detetmination to change our lives for the better, help us to remember that, if we are to gain acceptance into heaven, we must conform ourselves to the will of God, whether it make us great or small. Pray that we recognize God’s hand in even the smallest part of our lives, and thank Him for even that small part. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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