January 20 Optional Memorial
Office of Readings
THE SECOND READING
From The Canticle of “Brother Charity”
In these poor I recognise the greatest person there is, Our Lord Jesus Christ
If I had moved a hand, or taken a step, other than for the love of God, I would consider myself the world’s most ungrateful man, as only for love should we commit ourselves to His service.
We must love God with our entire heart and soul, and love our neighbours, particularly the poor, for then we will feel neither cold nor fear. How much has God suffered for us, to free us from the slavery of the devil, and grant us entry into Paradise? And are we not willing to endure a little discomfort, or cold, or heat, in the service of God and of the poor, and particularly of the sick poor? We must tremble at the cold of cursed sin, which kills the soul and deprives it of God’s fair grace.
In these poor I recognise the greatest person there is, Our Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, when I am committed to serving this great Lord, I must not stop to listen to others.
Whoever mistreats the poor mistreats God, because in the poor we must recognise blessed God, and just as the great of the earth do not threaten or mistreat each other, but, when necessary, correct each other respectfully, so too must be done to the poor - they are not to be despised or abused with deeds and words, but, when necessary, corrected with charity and respect.
We are all equal before God. In the world differences can be made, but in the other life whoever has done more good will have more merit before God; just as we are all children of a Father who loves us greatly, we too must love each other. Where the poor are, there is God. Whoever seeks God, shall find him among the poor. In infirmity and poverty God is to be found.
Give alms wherever you like: charity is pleasing to God in all places and by the hands of all persons.
You can be certain that if charity is to be pleasing to the Lord, it must be practised with secrecy and without glory. When charity is given, one hand must not see the other.
[To justify why he would dress very lightly, he would say:] The poor have greater need than I: better that I suffer than them.
When one is serving the poor, one is serving God, and one must not stop serving God to listen to men of the world.
The greater the number of poor, the greater is Providence. Let all the poor in Rome come to me, they will not distress me: because the more that come, the greater the holy Providence that God sends to me with which to provide for them... When there is faith in God, His Providence is never lacking: I have a great provider and a great pantry, and therefore I shall give to the poor what I have, as I have faith in God that these things will become more every day.
The poor have greater need than I: better that I suffer [cold and hunger] than them.
The poor must be justly paid, and with the poor we must not be so attached to our interests.
Brothers, to be poor and to suffer can be of great benefit to our souls [...] if you can become accustomed to suffering, you will be true friends of God. [...] We who live the simple life, can we not bear a little hardship, if that is the path that leads to Paradise? The good that awaits us is infinite, and it is up to us to gain it, to walk the path shown to us by the Redeemer and longed for by the holy Apostles and Martyrs.
The greatest grace that God can give me would be that of sacrificing my life for charity, as I could not sacrifice it for faith, as I desired for so long.
RESPONSORY 2 Cor 8:9, 9:7
℟ Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake * so that you should become rich through his poverty.
℣ God loves a cheerful giver, * so that you should become rich through his poverty.
In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.
O Lord, living God, who called Blessed Angelo (Paoli)
to live in your presence
and graced him with your charity to the end,
grant that we may see
the face of Christ in the needy,
as by lovingly serving them we find your Son
and share with him your charity towards all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.