Thursday, August 13, 2020
St. John Berchmans
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August 13th is kept in some places as the Feast of St. John Berchmans. 

The following is taken from CatholicTradition.org:

St. John Berchmans was born the eldest son of a shoemaker in 1599 at Diest, Belgium. At a very young age he wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen he became a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons at Malines. After his mother's death, his father and two brothers followed suit and entered religious life. In 1615 he entered the Jesuit college there, becoming a novice a year later. In 1618 he was sent to Rome for more study and was known for his diligence and piety, and his stress on perfection even in small things. That year his father was ordained and died six months later. John was so poor and humble that he  walked from Antwerp to Rome. He died at the age of 22 on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death; he was canonized in 1888 and is the patron saint of altar boys.

Although he longed to work in the mission fields of China, he did not live long enough to permit it. After completing his course work, he was asked to defend the "entire field of philosophy" in a public disputation in July, just after his exit examinations. The following month he was asked to represent the Roman College in a debate with the Greek College. Although he distinguished himself in this disputation, he had studied so assiduously that he caught a cold in mid-summer, became very ill with with an undetermined illness accompanied by a fever, although some think it now to have been dysentery, and died a week later. He was buried in the church of Saint Ignatius at Rome, but his heart was later translated to the Jesuit church at Louvain.

So many miracles were attributed to him after his death at the age of 22, that his cultus soon spread to his native Belgium, where 24,000 copies of  his portrait were published within a few years of his death. He was known for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady, to whom he composed a Chaplet in honor of her Immaculate Conception.

Collect:

Lord our God, you invite us always to give you our love, and you are pleased with a cheerful giver. Give us a youthful spirit, to be like Saint John, always eager to seek you and to do your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Taken from Supplement to the Divine Office For the Society of Jesus.

Indulged Prayer from the Raccolta:

Saint John, angelic youth, sweet-scented flower of innocence, stalwart soldier of the Company of Jesus, ardent defender of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, whom the all-wise Providence of God hath set forth as a light and pattern, in order that He might reveal in thee the treasures of that holiness which consisteth in the devoted and holy fulfillment of the common duties of life,  I earnestly beseech thee to make me ever constant and faithful in observing the duties of my state of life, pure in heart, fearless and strong against the enemies of my eternal salvation, and cheerfully obedient to the promptings of God's holy will.

By thy singular devotion to the loving Mother of Jesus Christ, who looked upon thee also as her dear son, obtain for me the grace of a fervent love for Jesus and Mary, together with the power of drawing many others to love them in like manner. Wherefore, dear Saint John, I choose thee as my special patron, humbly beseeching thee to make me zealous in the things that pertain to the praise of God, and to assist me by thy mighty help, to lead a life filled with good works. Finally, when the hour of death cometh, do thou, of thy loving kindness, cherish in me those motions of humble confidence, which at the moment of thy departure from this world to thy mansion in the skies, as thou didst lovingly clasp to thy breast the Image of Jesus Crucified, together with Mary's Rosary and thy Book of Rules, impelled thee to utter these sweet words: "these three things are my dearest possessions; with these I am content to die."

Pray for us, Saint John, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Grant, we beseech Thee O Lord God, unto Thy faithful servants, to copy the pattern of innocence and faithfulness in Thy service, wherewith the angelic youth, John, did consecrate to Thee the very flower of his years. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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