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20130211 Saints built up the Church 聖賢建設教會

The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) and the Hundred Year War (1337-1453) caused hardships and disorder for both the fourteen and the fifteen centuries. Despite the decline of the Middle Ages, the Church still saw holiness in many of her member in the fifteen century.

Powerful preachers

The fifteen century was blessed with the presence of miracles-working preachers. St. Vincent Ferrer (1357-1419) was a Dominican of Valencia. He is the patron saint for builders, for he “built up” and strengthened the Church through his preaching.

St. Vincent is called the “Angel of the Judgment”, who preached the four last things to the people. He preached in the town and villages of Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, Ireland and Scotland. He had the gift of miracles and brought large number of Jews and Moors to the Catholic Faith.

St. Vincent always prepared his preaching by prayer. Once, however, when a nobleman came to hear his sermon, St. Vincent carefully prepared the sermon by study but neglected prayer. The sermon didn’t touch the heart of the nobleman. The nobleman came a second time to hear St. Vincent, without informing him. The second sermon made a deep impression on his soul. When St. Vincent heard of the difference, he remarked that in the first sermon it was Vincent who had preached, but in the second, Jesus Christ.

The Church at the time was divided by the Great Western Schism, but St. Vincent was honorably welcomed in the districts subject to the two claimants to the Papacy. The saint lived to see the end of the schism in 1417 at the election of Pope Martin V. St. Vincent died on April 5, 1419.

In 1408, St. Vincent suddenly interrupted his sermon to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would one day be a greater preacher than himself. This unknown friar was St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444).

During a plague, the twenty years old St. Bernardine tended the sick and the dying. Two years later, he became a Franciscan. As a preacher, his style was extremely simple, direct and colloquial. He preached on the Passion, repentance, virtues and vices.

St. Bernardine fostered devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He popularized the familiar “IHS”—Greek abbreviation for the name of Jesus.

St. Bernardine obtained miraculous conversions and reformed the greater part of Italy. He died on Ascension Eve, 1444.

St. John Capistran (1385-1456) and St. James of the Marches (1391-1476) studied theology under St. Bernardine. They both became popular preachers and miracles workers.

Great mystics

A number of great mystics and the spiritual classic, Imitation of Christ, were from the fifteen century.
In response to the command of St. Francis in a vision, St. Colette (1381-1447) reformed the Poor Clares and observed the Primitive Rule with absolute poverty.

St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431), obeying the voices and visions from heaven, led a French army and turned the tide of the Hundred Years War. She was unjustly condemned as a heretic, and died at the stake pronouncing the name of Jesus. The Church vindicated her memory and canonized her in 1920.

St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) founded the Minims order. The Minim’s life is a perpetual lent with no meat, fish, eggs or milk. Francis was known for his ascetic life and miracles.

St. Nicholas of Flue (1417-1497) was a father of a big family. He became a hermit at fifty and lived the last nineteen years of his life without food except Holy Communion. St. Nicholas helped bring about the inclusion of Fribourg and Soleure in the Swiss Confederation in 1481, thus preventing a potentially bloody civil war.

西方教會的大分裂(1378-1417) 和歐洲的百年戰爭(1337-1453),帶給十四及十五世紀的教會,十分困難和紛亂的時刻;儘管中世紀時也經歷過內部腐敗,教會在十五世紀,仍出現很多賢人,聖德昭彰。













聖女貞德(1412-1431) 聽從神視和天上的聲音,帶領法國軍隊加入戰團,將百年戰爭引到一個轉捩點。可惜後來被誣蔑為異端邪說,被火燒死,死時仍在呼喚著耶穌聖名。教會後來給她平反,1920年立為聖品。

聖方濟各.保拉(1416-1507) 是「最小兄弟會」會祖,修會會士長期守嚴齋,不但戒吃肉,連魚、雞蛋和牛奶也不吃。聖人因祂的清苦生活和行聖蹟,而廣為人知。

聖尼閣. 伏物洛(1417-1497) 是一個大家庭的父親,五十歲時在家人同意下隱修,在他死前的十九年隱修生活中,只恭領聖體而點食不進。