August 25. ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ, Priest.
Short bio + Divine Office 2nd reading.
Born in Aragon, Spain, St. Joseph of Calasanz (1557-1648) was ordained priest and went to Rome to found the Piarist Congregation dedicated to the care and education of poor children. He suffered trials, slander, and persecution silently and serenely.
From St Joseph de Calasanz to Cardinal M.A. Tonti
Let us strive to cling to Christ and please him alone
Everybody realises the great dignity and merit of that ministry in which men devote themselves to the education of boys, especially poor boys, so that they may learn the way to eternal life. When, in the interests of soul and body, knowledge is imparted, piety cultivated, Christian doctrine inculcated, their teachers share in a certain manner in the work of their guardian angels.
Help of the most excellent kind is given to young people, whatever their origin or station, so that not only are they preserved from evil but they are more easily and gently drawn towards good. It is universally accepted that when the young receive such aid, they become so much changed for the better as to be no longer recognizable for what they previously were. The young, like tender plants, are easily trained in the desired direction, but if allowed to toughen, we find that our best efforts may fail to correct their wills.
The education of youth, particularly of the poor, while it assists them to grow in human dignity, also concerns all members of Christian society. Parents rejoice to see their children being led along the right path; civil authorities approve the formation of good-living subjects and citizens. The Church especially has cause to be glad, for, as lovers of Christ and defenders of the gospel, the young are more speedily and efficaciously brought into her many and varied fields of life and action.
Those who undertake this work of teaching, surely a task to be carried out with the greatest care, must be endowed with overflowing charity, inexhaustible patience, and, above all, profound humility. So may they be found worthy for the Lord, in answer to their humble entreaties, to make them fellow-workers with Truth itself; may he strengthen them to carry out their noble office, and finally, may he grant them a heavenly reward in accordance with the saying: ‘Those who instruct many in virtue will shine like stars for all eternity.’
They will attain more easily to this, if, having made profession of perpetual service, they strive wholeheartedly to cleave to Christ and to please him only, who said: ‘Whatever you did to one of the least of my little ones, you did it to me.’
℟. In our great longing for you, we desired nothing better than to offer you our own lives as well as God’s gospel,* so greatly have we learned to love you.
℣. My little children, I shall always be concerned about you, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you,* so greatly have we learned to love you.
Let us pray.
O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Joseph Calasanz with such charity and patience that he labored tirelessly to educate children and endow them with every virtue, grant, we pray, that we who venerate him as a teacher of wisdom may constantly imitate him, for he worked in harmony with your truth. Through our Lord.