Saint Of The Day For 4 February: Saint Andrew Corsini
Saint Andrew Corsini: Another saint of the very popular order of Carmelites leads us, hand in hand, into the mystery of vocation
One of the most usual and frequent tools that peeps out of every reliquary of saints and martyrs of the past, especially Carmelites, is the classic cilice.
Saint Andrea Corsini used it and he was certainly not the only one
This singular detail is explained by the fact that holiness in the past was first and foremost an austere exercise of discipline, often without mercy.
Nowadays, we would consider mad people who, in order to soften the heart of the divine beloved, as not to enslave their own heart with worldliness, subject themselves to constant pain.
Yet such mortification was practised, and not only for ascetic purposes.
Let us now analyse the context in which the personality and depth of a character like Saint Andrew Corsini emerged.
We are talking about the Florence of 1318 and a simple yet fearful sixteen-year-old, who gave more and more importance to penance to strengthen the call that he felt was very strong.
How to defend oneself against the Plague of today’s world, the sin of despair, the sin of the slothful: a teaching of Saint Andrew Corsini
If until yesterday it was fundamental to discipline oneself, to be mortified in the passions, today an even greater effort is required, but perhaps in other directions.
In fact, the noise of a crazed, chaotic society requires a very strong, unfailing, yet necessary endowment: perseverance.
How bitter is the cup of perseverance, especially if we know that we are wandering on an uncomfortable road of imperfections!
St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (RM 8:24) writes: “By hope we have been saved”.
Contextualising therefore such an example of virtue as that of Saint Andrew Corsini, we would be reminded of the interior and upright attitude of a penitent: a pious person who unceasingly insists on prayer.
If God is not deaf, he will become so by dint of listening and re-listening to us, again and again.
Never stop in the despondent despair of those who find no other way out.
Yet, we are witnessing unscathed an abnormal increase in the suicide rate, especially among the young.
The loss of fides in life makes one give up every challenge and ‘revenge’, it demoralises, it makes one feel like a loser, without mercy.
Saint Andrew Corsini: the Tuscan peacemaking saint
In the liturgical calendar there are countless references to saints, from the best known to those no one has ever heard of.
Each diocese crowns a list of names based on local history.
Retracing the steps of Saint Andrew Corsini a little, we find another tough temperament who rebelled against the honours of the world and even tried to escape the sacred episcopal nomination.
We find him first in Fiesole and, then, at the behest of his father Urban V, in Bologna, always with impeccable results in settling all disputes and controversies.
Carmel, a bubbling spring of holiness. Not only Saint Andrea Corsini. What does it depend on?
Every saint has his charisma, his special vocation that radiates curiosity and light in whatever way.
So as not to create disagreements that are difficult for other families to digest, we would say that 4 February also sees, without one copying the other, several admirable saints including:
– From the Jesuit family (of Jesus): St John De Britto, recently canonised (1947)
– From the Capuchin family: St Joseph of Leonessa who was persecuted in Turkish lands, a missionary
– From the Benedictine family: St Nitardo who was dedicated to monastic life and many others
If one were to observe the chronological dating, one would notice that peculiarly to be canonised, in prius, are nobles, bishops in contact with the nobility due to the ancient marriage of interest between the Church and the nobility of rank; only rarely are the people mentioned.
Little by little, then, they began to consider the choice of life: the true vocation from which everything originates.
Saint Andrew Corsini, like most of the saints in the yearly calendar, is of noble origins.
But noble in every saint is the heart, full, fervent with the Holy Spirit.
This is what being a sower of holiness depends on: our heart.
The wonders of the Holy Spirit who is Gospel
The Holy Spirit acts in the heart of every saint in the way that befits that singular story: this is the case for Saint Andrew Corsini as it is for other wise figures.
The action of the Holy Spirit then becomes the Living Gospel, the Gospel of the Holy Spirit that on the day of glory in which we will all be summoned will finally be printed.
The icon of Mary’s persevering waiting, the mirage of holiness. Perseverance in Saint Andrew Corsini
The Lucerne of faith today has therefore become perseverance.
Saint Andrew Corsini was not lacking in it either, although he was a stickler for the customs of the times.
Even today, the times struggle to ripen and grasp the sweet fruits of the Spirit, waiting like Mary for the fruits of the prayer of God’s son, Jesus.
For Lebanese Christians living in a state of perennial turmoil, insta the cave of Mantara where the virgin Mary waited for the return of Jesus who preached in Sidon.
The world has become a world that does not know how to wait, how to be patient, always under siege.
But we, the closer we come to holiness, the more we are not of the world.
A married couple, one stretched towards the other, the modern symbol of a holiness that knows new horizons, more in keeping with today’s times, but beyond the times.
This waiting is also knowing how to reach out, to hold on, to approach, an exercise in proximity and love.
Sister Ines Daughters of Mary Missionaries