Feast of St. Charles Borromeo
As we continue our journey through our special November commemoration of saintly people, today we thank God for the person of Charles Borromeo. He was a zealous man of the Church who lived during the 16th Century, credited for helping reform the Church in a variety of ways.
As a bishop and Cardinal, Charles was one to encourage the intellectual and moral growth of clergy and religious, especially in forming new seminaries; he helped author the catechism that was called for during the Council of Trent; he started the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) for children’s growth in their faith; he held many special meetings in his home diocese of Milan, seeking to incorporate the message and teachings of the Council of Trent. He reached out to the poor and needy of his day, sacrificing wealth, honor and influence to serve them – even in the challenges of the plagues and famines of his day, ministering to the sick, the hungry, and the dying. Truly a zealous man during his 46 years of life!
We have the same opportunity to reform ourselves, to grow and serve the Church. We have to change, and like St. Paul in today’s first reading to the Romans, we can help others change – if we first change ourselves…both in word and deed, as well as our prayer and service of others. The parable of Jesus in today’s Gospel highlights another example of zeal – human zeal – leading to wise and even clever actions; the man in the story admits he is not about to work harder so he works smarter! Indeed, a change of heart and true human growth are part-and-parcel in following Jesus. No doubt, Charles Borromeo took this message of Jesus to heart!
May the creative and zealous example of St. Charles Borromeo help motivate us as 21st Century Christians: called to personally grow and be women and men of prayer and action, building up the Church in our day. Holiness and wholeness are God’s ongoing gifts to the Church of all time.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.