St. Vincent Ferrer, Priest and Preacher
On April 5th, Catholics around the world who follow the Roman Liturgical Calendar celebrate the life, death and gifts of St. Vincent Ferrer, Priest. He was born in
Fr. Vincent received higher theological education in both
In 1379 Vincent was asked by Cardinal Peter de Luna to join with him in ministry. He was a supporter of the man seated in
His powerful homilies led to revival of the Church in
Crowds would gather in droves as
The “great schism” continued. It weighed heavily on
Fr Vincent advised Ferdinand, the King of Aragon, a region in
Here is a short excerpt from the treatise On the Spiritual Life by St. Vincent Ferrer, priest, taken from the Office of Readings on his Feast Day.
On the Spiritual Life by St. Vincent Ferrer, priest
“When you treat virtuous and sinful acts in your sermons and exhortations use simple language and sensible idioms. Give apt and precise examples whenever you can. Each sinner in your congregation should feel moved as though you were preaching to him alone.
“Your words should sound as though they were coming, not from a proud or angry soul, but from a charitable and loving heart. Your tone of voice should be that of a father who suffers with his sinful children, as though they were seriously ill or were lying in a huge pit; and he struggles to free them, raise them up, and cherish them like a mother, as one who is happy over their progress and the hope they have of heaven's glory.
“This way of preaching has proven profitable to congregations; for an abstract discourse on the virtues and vices hardly inspires those who listen.
“When hearing confession, you should always radiate the warmest charity. Whether you are gently encouraging the fainthearted or putting the fear of God into the hardhearted, the penitent should feel that you are motivated only by pure love. Therefore, speak in a pleasant, friendly way before you use words that will prod his conscience.
“Finally, if you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire.”
Bread on the Trail: St. Vincent Ferrer understood the power of the Gospel when it is proclaimed in the Spirit and without compromise. He dedicated himself to maintaining the unity of the Church even in the midst of great struggle. His example can motivate each one of us to live the Christian life more fully and not be afraid to proclaim it to others. It also invites us to do all that we can to promote the healing of the broken and divided Body of Christ.
Prayer: Father, may the example of St. Vincent Ferrer inspire men in our own day to forsake all to follow Jesus Christ as priests of His Church. Please Lord, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, raise up in our midst holy bishops, priests and deacons who are great preachers of the Gospel. Clergy who like