Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Feast of St John of Cross, founder of Brothers Hospitallers - click to visit Hospitallers webpage

The archbishop called John of God to him in response to a complaint that he was keeping tramps and immoral women in his hospital. In submission John fell on his knees and said: “The Son of Man came for sinners, and we are bound to seek their conversion. I am unfaithful to my vocation because I neglect this, but I confess that I know of no bad person in my hospital except myself alone, who am indeed unworthy to eat the bread of the poor.” The archbishop could only trust in John’s sincerity and humility, and dismissed him with deep respect. (After American Catholic 'Saint of the Day)

...."Another day, after taking possession of rich spoils, the captain ordered John to guard the treasure, especially a chest filled with jewels, for the night; John obeyed with a sullen face. The next morning, the chest of jewels was missing. John questioned the sentinels, but nobody could give him any information. The only person to have entered the tent just before the changing of Ciudad's guard was the captain.

The young captain condemned John to death by hanging, in accordance with the military code. John, his hands and feet bound, spent most of the night without sleeping. His friend Alfonso Ferrus slipped under the tent to free him, but John refused. He knew that the sentinel would be hanged in his place. Left alone, he fell asleep and he had an incredible dream. He saw the French shepherdess again, who transformed herself into the Queen of Heaven, and said to him, "Trust me. I will save you." John awoke, recited one Hail Mary with enthusiasm and felt consoled. He walked with a firm step to be hanged. He promised the Good Mother to give up soldiering, if she delivered him from this terrible fate... He did not doubt Mary's help for one moment. John, in the gallows, declared his innocence. And added: "I have confidence that the Blessed Virgin can still help me."

The drum beat a second time and the noose was around John's neck when a rider arrived in haste. It was Colonel Ribera, who revoked the execution order. He wanted to be the judge of that affair himself. Meanwhile, Alphonso Ferrus arrived out of breath. He had the chest of jewels in his hands, which he had found in the captain's tent. The latter was condemned and executed on the spot.

Mary was faithful to her promise. John also kept his word. He gave up his life of soldiering and went in search of God's will. He later became the great Saint John of God"...

Excerpt from The Beggar of Grenade by Hunermann, after 'A Moment with Mary'