Monday, November 4, 2013


Prayer of Saint Charles Borromeo

Almighty God,
you have generously made known to human beings
the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your Son in the Holy Spirit.

Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and

Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them.

Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride,
without ostentation, and without personal gain.

Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the
knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures.

Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me.



Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop

ROM 11:29-36

Brothers and sisters:

The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy
because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given him anything
that he may be repaid?

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To God be glory forever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 69:30-31, 33-34, 36

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

LK 14:12-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


November 4

St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

The name of St. Charles Borromeo is associated with reform. He lived during the time of the Protestant Reformation, and had a hand in the reform of the whole Church during the final years of the Council of Trent (1545-63).

Although he belonged to Milanese nobility and was related to the powerful Medici family, he desired to devote himself to the Church. When his uncle, Cardinal de Medici, was elected pope in 1559 as Pius IV, he made Charles cardinal-deacon and administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan while he was still a layman and a young student. Because of his intellectual qualities he was entrusted with several important offices connected with the Vatican and later appointed secretary of state with responsibility for the papal states. The untimely death of his elder brother brought Charles to a definite decision to be ordained a priest, despite relatives’ insistence that he marry. 
Soon after he was ordained a priest at the age of 25, he was consecrated bishop of Milan.

Because of his work at the Council of Trent, he was not allowed to take up residence in Milan until the Council was over. Charles had encouraged the pope to renew the Council in 1562 after it had been suspended for 10 years. Working behind the scenes, St. Charles deserves the credit for keeping the Council in session when at several points it was on the verge of breaking up. He took upon himself the task of the entire correspondence during the final phase.

Eventually Charles was allowed to devote his time to the Archdiocese of Milan, where the religious and moral picture was far from bright. The reform needed in every phase of Catholic life among both clergy and laity was initiated at a provincial council of all the bishops under him. Specific regulations were drawn up for bishops and other clergy: If the people were to be converted to a better life, he had to be the first to give a good example and renew their apostolic spirit.

Charles took the initiative in giving good example. He allotted most of his income to charity, forbade himself all luxury and imposed severe penances upon himself. He sacrificed wealth, high honors, esteem and influence to become poor. During the plague and famine of 1576, he tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people daily. To do this he borrowed large sums of money that required years to repay. Whereas the civil authorities fled at the height of the plague, 
he stayed in the city, where he ministered to the sick and the dying, helping those in want.

Work and the heavy burdens of his high office began to affect his health. 
He died at the age of 46.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Christ is the chief shepherd,
the leader of his flock:
come, let us adore him.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

O God of truth, prepare our minds
To hear and heed your holy word;
Fill every heart that longs for you
With your mysterious presence, Lord.
Almighty Father, with your Son
And blessed Spirit, hear our prayer:
Teach us to love eternal truth
And seek its freedom everywhere.

Psalm 49 (50)
True reverence for the Lord

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

The Lord, the God of gods has spoken:
he has summoned the whole earth, from east to west.
God has shone forth from Zion in her great beauty.
Our God will come, and he will not be silent.
Before him, a devouring fire;
around him, a tempest rages.
He will call upon the heavens above, and on the earth, to judge his people.
“Bring together before me my chosen ones, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.”
The heavens will proclaim his justice; for God is the true judge.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

Psalm 49 (50)

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
I will not reproach you with your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
But I will not accept calves from your houses,
nor goats from your flocks.
For all the beasts of the forests are mine,
and in the hills, a thousand animals.
All the birds of the air – I know them.
Whatever moves in the fields – it is mine.
If I am hungry, I will not tell you;
for the whole world is mine, and all that is in it.
Am I to eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer a sacrifice to God – a sacrifice of praise;
to the Most High, fulfill your vows.
Then you may call upon me in the time of trouble:
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 49 (50)

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

To the sinner, God has said this:
Why do you recite my statutes?
Why do you dare to speak my covenant?
For you hate what I teach you,
and reject what I tell you.
The moment you saw a thief, you joined him;
you threw in your lot with adulterers.
You spoke evil with your mouth,
and your tongue made plans to deceive.
Solemnly seated, you denounced your own brother;
you poured forth hatred against your own mother’s son.
All this you did, and I was silent;
so you thought that I was just like you.
But I will reprove you –
I will confront you with all you have done.
Understand this, you who forget God;
lest I tear you apart, with no-one there to save you.
Whoever offers up a sacrifice of praise gives me true honor;
whoever follows a sinless path in life will be shown the salvation of God.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Listen, my people, and I shall speak.
– I am God, your God.

First Reading
1 Maccabees 1:41-64

Then the king issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each renouncing his particular customs. All the pagans conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the sabbath. The king also sent instructions by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, banning holocausts, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and the sacred ministers, building altars, precincts and shrines for idols, sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts, leaving their sons uncircumcised, and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination, so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death. Writing in such terms to every part of his kingdom, the king appointed inspectors for the whole people, and directed all the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice one after another.

Many of the people – that is, every apostate from the Law – rallied to them, and so committed evil in the country, forcing Israel into hiding in all their places of refuge. On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year one hundred and forty-five the king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets. Any books of the Law that came to light were torn up and burned. Whenever anyone was discovered possessing a copy of the covenant or practicing the Law, the king’s decree sentenced him to death. Having might on their side they took action month after month against any offenders they discovered in the towns of Israel. On the twenty-fifth day of the month sacrifice was offered on the altar erected over the altar of holocaust. Women who had had their children circumcised were put to death according to the edict with their babies hung round their necks, 
and the members of their household and those who had performed the circumcision were executed with them.

Yet there were many in Israel who stood firm and found the courage to refuse unclean food. They chose death rather than contamination by such fare or profanation of the holy covenant, and they were executed. 
It was a dreadful wrath that visited Israel.


Open your eyes and look upon our desolation.
To chastise us the nations besiege us on every side.
Lord, stir up your power and come to our help.

Take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with boldness.
Lord, stir up your power and come to our help.

Second Reading
A sermon
by St Charles Borromeo

Practice what you preach

I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One priest may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish to be chaste and to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer, the avoidance of evil discussions and harmful and dangerous friendships. Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into church to pray the office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the office or for Mass? How did he prepare? 
What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?

Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time, and so give God more pleasing worship? Listen, and I will tell you. If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out. Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold. In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can. Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.

If teaching and preaching is your job, then study diligently and apply yourself to whatever is necessary for doing the job well. Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, 
but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.

Are you in charge of a parish? 
If so, do not neglect the parish of your own soul, do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself. 
You have to be mindful of your people without becoming forgetful of yourself.

My brothers, you must realize that for us churchmen nothing is more necessary than meditation. We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: I will pray, and then I will understand. When you administer the sacraments, meditate on what you are doing. When you celebrate Mass, reflect on the sacrifice you are offering. When you pray the office, think about the words you are saying and the Lord to whom you are speaking. 
When you take care of your people, 
meditate on how the Lord’s blood that has washed them clean so that all that you do becomes a work of love.

This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, 
are part of our work: in meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men.


You must aim to be saintly and religious,
filled with faith and love, patient and gentle.
This is what you are to enforce in your teaching:
be an example to all the believers.

If you put all this before the brothers,
you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus.
This is what you are to enforce in your teaching:
be an example to all the believers.

Let us pray.

Lord, keep alive in your people
the spirit you gave to your bishop Saint Charles Borromeo.
Shape and renew your Church
until it bears the image of Christ,
and shows his true likeness to the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.