Sunday, August 31, 2008

St. Raymond Nonnatus

From the legend in todays office:

This Raymund is commonly called Nonnatus, or Unborn, because his was one of the rare cases in which the child is not brought into the world in the course of nature, but by a surgical operation after the death of the mother. He was the son of godly and noble parents, at Portel in Catalonia. The tokens of his holy after-life appeared even in his childhood. The things that delight children, and the attractions of the world, had no charm for him. He was so earnest in godliness that all men marvelled at his habits of premature old age. As he grew older, he gave himself to the study of letters, but, at the command of his father, turned to farming. He went often to the Chapel of St. Nicholas, in the suburbs of Portel, to visit the sacred image of the Mother of God, which is still sought with great tenderness by the faithful. There he poured forth his soul in prayer, and earnestly entreated the Mother of God herself to be pleased to take him for her son, to shew him the way wherein it should be safe for him to walk, and to teach him the science of the Saints.

And the most gracious Maiden was not deaf to his prayers. From her he understood that it would please her right well, if he would join the Religious Order which had just been founded at her own inspiration, styled Of Ransom or Of Mercy, for buying up and freeing slaves. As soon as he had received this intimation from her, he went to Barcelona, and entered the Institute so nobly dedicated to love for our neighbour. Once enlisted in the Regular Army, he guarded unspotted for ever the virginity which he had already consecrated to the Blessed Virgin for ever. But he was a bright and shining light of all other good words and works, especially of tender compassion for Christians who were passing a life of grievous bondage in the possession of unbelieving masters. To free such he was sent into Africa, and delivered many. But his money ran short, and as there were still many in imminent danger of denying the faith, he pawned himself. He was enkindled with a most vehement longing for the salvation of souls, and by his exhortations brought divers Mohammedans to Christ. The Moors therefore threw him into close prison, and put him to divers tortures, at last making holes through his lips and locking them together with an iron padlock, which horrid cruelty he long endured.

On account of these, and other brave things that he did, he got the name of a Saint far and wide. Gregory IX was moved thereby to make Raymund a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, but in this place of honour the man of God shrank from all outward shew, and clung ever tightly to the lowliness that beseemeth a Religious man. He had started for Rome, but had only got as far as Cardona, when he was seized with his last illness, and earnestly called for the strengthening Sacraments of the Church. But his position became critical, and the Priest had not arrived. Then Angels came unto him, clad in the habit of his own Order, and ministered unto him the wholesome Provision for the last journey. When he had taken it, he gave God thanks, and departed hence to be ever with the Lord. It was the last Lord's Day in August 1240. After his death there was some dispute arose as to where his body should be buried ; so they shut it up in a box, and laid it upon a blind mule, and the beast was guided by God to carry it to the chapel of St. Nicholas, that he might be buried where he had laid the foundations of his nobler life. There was built there a Convent of his Order, and the faithful come together thither from all parts of Catalonia to honour him, and he is famous for divers signs and wonders.

Prayer to St. Raymond:

V. The Lord guided the righteous in right paths.
R. And shewed him the kingdom of God.

Ant. on Magnif: Lo, a servant of God, *
who esteemed as naught all things earthly,
and by word and work laid him up treasures in heaven, Alleluia.

O God, who didst endue thy blessed Confessor
Saint Raymund with wondrous powers
for the deliverance from the capitívity of the infidel:
grant that, by his intercession ; we may be delivered
from the bonds of all our iniquities, and perform those
things that are acceptable unto thee with perfect freedom.

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