Monday, November 15, 2010

Saint Raphael Kalinowski, Carmelite

Feast Day:  November 19

Raphael of St. Joseph (in lay life: Joseph Kalinowski) was born at Vilna to a Polish family on 1st September 1835 and died at Wadowice on 15th November 1907. Graduating in engineering at the Academy of Military Sciences at St. Petersburgh, he was appointed to the fortress at Brest Litowski and later promoted to be Chief of Staff in the Russian Army. In spite of his desire to leave the military life, he took part in the rising against the Czarist occupying forces in Poland, accepting the position of Minister of War in Vilna. The night of the 24th March 1864, he was arrested and put in prison where he was condemned to death but the sentence was later commuted to ten years forced labour in Siberia. He was freed in 1874 and returned to Poland. Being forbidden to live in any of the main Polish cities, he took up a post as tutor to the young Prince Augusto Czartoryski who spent most of his time in Paris. In 1877, Raphael joined the Carmelites. He was ordained priest in 1882 and began an apostolate centred on the confessional, in the giving of spiritual direction and being full of enthusiasm for ecumenism, he worked strongly for unity in the Church. A great devotee of Our Lady, he revived the Discalced Carmelite Order in Poland. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 17th November 1991.
(From Carmelite website)

The following is an article taken from the Exhortations of Saint Raphael Kalinowski:

The Holy Scriptures praise nothing more than a perfect and holy life lived in the exact and perfect fulfillment of each one's duties.  In the Old Testament our Lord and God taught his people and told them: "You must be holy because I am holy." (Lev 11;44).
The Eternal Father gave us our Lord Jesus Christ as our teacher, master and guide.  He confirmed and ratified the Old Testament injunction where He taught us that we must emulate the holiness of the Father: "You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect " (Matthew 5:48).  How does one become perfect and holy?  The Doctors of the Church, the leaders of souls, and the masters of the spiritual life answer: If you would be perfect and become holy, fulfill your duties faithfully.

Once a desert father was asked by a certain young hermit what books he ought to study in order to advance in holiness.  The old man replied: My practice is to read two books only.  In the morning hours I read the Gospel, and in the evening I read the Rule.  The first teaches me the way I should walk as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The other teaches me what I should do to be a good religious.  That is enough for me.

Let us therefore be students of the laws of God so that we may conduct ourselves according to them. "When you walk, these will guide you; when you lie down, watch over you; when you wake; talk with you" (Pv 6:22). Wherever me may be or go, may they go with us to direct our our footsteps.  May they be so near us when we sleep that they may fill our thoughts as soon as we awaken.  His voice will speak to us in them.  He will refresh us for the day ahead.  Through His laws we will gain the victory over our doubts.  We will cast away every obstacle.  We will free ourselves of that sluggishness of nature which is the enemy of strength, the foe of devotion, and the lover of ease.  The law of life will help us to overcome our fears in time of temptation and to follow eagerlyin the way of obedience.  May it always be at hand to counsel us, so that by it we may find the strength to follow God's call with generous hearts and willing souls.

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