A Saint for Holy Week
Un Saint pour la Sainte Semaine
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, the 18th Century mendicant pilgrim, reached the end of his life of poverty and humility in April 1783. On the morning of the 16th of that month, he collapsed on the front steps of his favorite Roman church, Santa Maria ai Monti, was carried to the home of a local family who tried to assist him in his final hours, and fell asleep in the Lord in the evening of that day - the Wednesday in Holy Week. This year the calendars again align, and April 16th is the Wednesday in Holy Week once more ...
on which we remember this 'living likeness of God's crucified Son.'
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre
[From the Raccolta]
O wondrous pattern of Christian perfection, Saint Benedict Joseph,
from thy earliest use of reason even to thy dying day,
thou didst keep unspotted the white robe of innocence,
and, forsaking all things and becoming a pilgrim on the earth,
thou didst gain naught therefrom save only suffering, privations and reproaches.
Miserable sinner that I am, I kneel at thy feet,
and return thanks to the infinite goodness of the Most High God
Who hath willed to imprint on thee the living likeness of His crucified Son.
At the same time I am filled with confusion
when I consider how different is my life from thine.
Do thou, beloved Saint, have pity on me!
Offer thy merits before the throne of the Eternal,
and obtain for me the grace to follow thine example
and to direct my actions according to the precepts and teachings
of our divine Master:
Thus let me learn to love His sufferings and His humiliations,
and to despise the pleasures and honours of earth:
So that neither the fear of the former, nor the desire of the latter
may ever induce me to transgress His holy law.
May I merit in this manner to be acknowledged by Him
And numbered amongst the blessed of His Father. Amen.