The Catholic Defender: The Saint Raymond of Penafort Story


When looking at the lives of the Saints, it can be very interesting at how the Lord used the gifts of each person.

Although their gifts varied, they were sold out to God with all their hearts, minds, strengths, and souls.

They had many struggles as we all do, that is important to remember, but they are with the Lord.

We want to imitate their strengths and know their weaknesses to help inspire us.

It is also interesting how Jesus still uses the lives of the Saints for His glory. Chapter 4 of Revelation is relatively a small chapter, but there is a lot of meat and potatoes there giving us a glimpse of the worship taking place before the Throne of God.

There are the twenty-four thrones on which twenty-four elders sits wearing white robes crowned with glory. These thrones represents the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles and their authority seats.

There are the four living creatures resembling the lion, a calf, a human face, and an eagle in flight exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come (Revelation 4:8).”

Ezekiel was first given a vision of this (Ezekiel 1:5-21)who identifies them as cherubim angels (Ezekiel 10:20). These images represent what is noble, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in creation.

These images also are used by the Catholic Church to symbolize the evangelists Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John.

Notice the focus given the gospel readings at Mass! There is much more to this, but I want to touch upon the Holy Mass which benefits from this Heavenly worship taking place. The twenty-four Elders place their crowns before the Throne of God exclaiming, “Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created (Revelation 4:11).”

Revelation Chapter 5 continues this very sacred scene which quickly brings in the point I want to share. When the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before Jesus, who is the Lamb of God, they all had a harp, a gold bowl filled with incense and the prayers of the holy ones. Consider this music, it must be beautiful, better than the best we hear on earth. They sing to Jesus “Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth (Revelation 5:9-10).”

There we have it, the clear connection between the holy ones in heaven and the kingdom of God on earth.

We do share in this Communion of Saints and share in this glorious worship taking place at the Throne of God.

Revelation 3:20 Jesus makes this promise to us here on earth, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, them I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Did you understand that previous passage? Think about it! What is Jesus talking about here when he states that he would enter into the house of the one who opens the door? Jesus told the Pharisees, “destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it”,

Jesus was talking about his resurrection, he was talking about his body, not the Temple that took decades to build. Jesus is referring to the Eucharist when we receive him in Communion. There is a connection between the Heavenly worship and the holy Mass.

The Communion of Saints is very important that is a great gift of God. We are aided by the prayers of the holy ones before the Throne of God. The Lord blesses us with people who are great role models. Although their gifts varied, they were sold out to God with all their hearts, minds, strengths, and souls. They had many struggles as we all do, that is important to remember, but they are with the Lord. We want to imitate their strengths and know their weaknesses to help inspire us.

St. Raymond of Penafort was born in 1175. By 1195, St. Raymond, became a professor of Canon Law at the rip old age of 20. St. Raymond became impressed with the spiritual rule of St. Dominic and became a Dominican by 1221.

St. Raymond would institute studies on Oriental languages to help convert the Moors and Jews.

The Pope called for St. Raymond to reorganize and rearrange the whole work on Canon Law.

His expertise became so well known, Pope Gregory IX sent for St. Raymond to serve as a chaplain.

The Pope called for St. Raymond to reorganize and rearrange the whole work on Canon Law.

By 1231, this work was published and the Pope called on this work to be the only authoritative authority to be used in all the schools and higher places of learning.

St. Raymond Penafort is remembered for his works “Summa Casuum” and “Summa de Poenitentia et Matrimonio”. He also requested St. Thomas Aquainus to write his “Summa Contra Gentiles”. This work continues to be relevant today, I know Seminarians from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds who research these works as part of their education requirements.

St. Raymond’s work has been very important to Christ’s call to go to all the nations. He lived out his life totally for the Lord and his talents has helped thousands of young men seeking to become priests. He had the gift of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding.

I am reminded of Mother Mary’s instruction to Lucia, one of the children of Fatima, that she would need to learn to read and write to take this message to the world. God uses us when we choose to serve him.

St. Raymond certainly reminds us the need to use our brains as well as live out our faith.

The power of an informed mind marked with the faith of a saint. We all have gifts and talents that the Lord gives us.

The Lord would take St. Raymond on 6 January 1275 and was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1601.

"Look then on Jesus, the author and preserver of faith: in complete sinlessness he suffered, and at the hands of those who were his own, and was numbered among the wicked. As you drink the cup of the Lord Jesus (how glorious it is!), give thanks to the Lord, the giver of all blessings. May the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest and speed you on your journey; may he meanwhile shelter you from disturbance by others in the hidden recesses of his love, until he brings you at last into that place of complete plenitude where you will repose for ever in the vision of peace, in the security of trust, and in the restful enjoyment of his riches". - from a letter by St. Raymond

Today, St. Raymond sings with the heavenly hosts in that great cloud of witnesses. St. Raymond, pray for us!

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