Wednesday, March 8, 2006
St. John of God

Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): March 8
Double (1954 Calendar): March 8

Today the Church remembers and invokes St. John of God (1495-1550).  As a young man, he lived a raucous life and one devoid of emphasis on Our Lord and God. St. John of God lived as a mercenary and fought with the army under Charles V throughout Europe and Northern Africa. It was not until he was more than forty years old that he realized the severity of his sins.

He received a brilliant vision of the Infant Jesus, who called him "John of God". To make up for all the misery he caused others as a soldier, he rented a house in Granada, Spain to care for the poor, needy, and unwanted. He lived completely for Jesus Christ during this time and served the Lord. St. John of God gave whatever he had or begged for what he needed. He even converted his patients and those who saw him work with them. St. John of God founded the Order of Charity and the Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of God, building two hospitals through only the alms he raised. He was a friend of St. John of Avila. St. John of God even had the stigmata.

On March 8, 1550, St. John of God died in Granada while praying before a crucifix from an illness contracted while saving a drowning man. He was canonized on October 16, 1690, by Pope Alexander VIII. Pope Leo XIII added his name to the Litany for the Dying.

Dom Gueranger writes of this saint in his "Liturgical Year" volume:
The charity which the world has set up, which it calls philanthropy, and which it exercises not in the name of God, but solely for the sake of man, is a mere delusion; it is incapable of producing love between those who give and those who receive, and its results must necessarily be unsatisfactory. There is but one tie which can make men love one another: that tie is God, who created them all, and commands them all to be one in Him. To serve mankind for its own sake, is to make a god of it; and even viewing the workings of the two systems in this single point of view—the relief they afford to temporal suffering—what comparison is there between mere philanthropy, and that supernatural charity of the humble disciples of Christ, who make Him the very motive and end of all they do for their afflicted brethren? The saint we honour today, was called John of God, because the name of God was ever on his lips. His heroic acts of charity had no other motive than that of pleasing God; God alone was the inspirer of the tender love he had for his suffering fellow-creatures. Let us imitate his example, for our Lord assures us that He considers as done to Himself whatsoever we do even for the least of His disciples.

O God, Who didst cause blessed John, burning with Thy love, to pass through flames unharmed, and dist enrich Thy Church with a new offspring through him: grant in view of his merits: that our sins may be destroyed in the first of Thy love and we ourselves healed unto life everlasting. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

2 comment(s):

del_button March 9, 2006 at 5:55 AM
Matthew said...

A saint is simply defined as a person in Heaven. However, to be officially declared a saint (canonized) there is a process.

See this website:

del_button March 9, 2006 at 3:19 PM
Matthew said...

Yes, they must perform two miracles. However, these miracles must have been done by the saint after his/her death. In this case, the saint has to be in Heaven to work miracles by their intercession.

Any alleged miracle is also very highly examined to ensure that no earthly means could ever cure the person.

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