Guide us through this present life

Saturday, February 27, 2016

 Guide us through this present life
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862) .  He was a Passionist and devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is part of their spirituality.   It took a long time for him to internalize this spirituality.   He was born in Assisi, the 11th of 13 children  and baptized “Francis”  the same day he was born.  He was baptized in the same font that St. Francis of Assisi had been baptized.  He was educated by the Christian Brothers and the Jesuits but ended up joining the Passionists.  In his youth, he was a very social person- he was known as “the dancer,”  and was expected to marry; but, personal sickness and traumas of his family members lead him to promise that he was going to enter a religious order.  After recovery, he avoided his promise until he attended a procession in honor of the Virgin Mary and he felt an interior voice asking why he remained in the world.  He applied to the Passionists and was given the name “Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.”  He was an exemplary religious.  He contracted cholera and died at the age of 24.  His spiritual director was present at his death and reported that “at the moment of death, he sat up in bed and his face became radiant as he reached out to an otherwise unseen figure that was entering the room. It was the opinion of Father Norbert that Saint Gabriel had seen the Virgin Mary at the very moment of his death.

Today’s gospel is that of the Prodigal son (or the prodigal father)  Like the prodigal son, St. Gabriel  choose many paths to travel before coming home to the Passionists.  And his father was very opposed to St. Gabriel joining a religious congregation; but after witnessing his faith, he gave him his approval. 

Collect for today
O God who grant us by glorious healing remedies while still on earth
To be partakers of the things of heaven,
Guide us, we pray
Through this present life
And bring us to that light in which you dwell. 

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