Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 23 January

detail of a painting of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, date and artist unknownSaint Raymund of Pennafort, Confessor, O.P.

At the age of forty-seven Saint Raymund renounced his canonry, the fame of which he enjoyed throughout Spain and Italy and the privilege attaching to a former professorship, in order to enter among the Friars Preachers. Later on he became General of the Order, and the Pope not only gave him the most important work with regard to Canon Law, but also confided to him the care of his conscience. One of the penances which he most willingly gave the Holy Father in confession was to take in hand with care and solicitude the affairs of the poor. In order to quit the court of the King of Aragon, who led a scandalous life and nevertheless refused to let the saint go, knowing that to do so would bring on himself a sure humiliation, Saint Raymund travelled one hundred and sixty miles over the sea with his black cappa for a boat and his staff for a mast. He died at the age of nearly a hundred years (1275).

Four sentences from the lessons of his Office will suffice for his praise and for our imitation:

(1) Fame, far from dazzling him, inspired him with an ever more lowly opinion of himself.

(2) By his obedience, he always held himself in readiness to act on the least sign from his superiors.

(3) He practiced poverty most exactly, as a short path to salvation.

(4) Prayer was his nourishment and, if he lacked time for it, he understood how to steal it.

He is invoked in the Liturgy as the special minister of the sacrament of penance (1275).

Prayer

Saint Raymund, obtain for me grace to guard carefully the grace of absolution and to remember the counsel given me in confession.

Practice

Do nothing, and avoid even a look, which may seem to approve of scandal or evil words.