Saints Stories, Uncategorized

Moved by a ghost toward the Holy Ghost

Bl. Pietro Geremia
Memorial: March 10

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Although from a family of Bolognese aristocrats, Pietro Geremia (b. 1381) was born and raised in Palermo, Sicily. At first he wanted to be a lawyer. But in 1422, just before graduating from law school in Bologna, he had a complete conversion of heart and longing for God, and so he decided to enter the Dominicans, despite his father’s opposition.

What happened was this: One night as he lay in bed in his third floor room, he was daydreaming about all the great things his life would bring after he had earned his shingle. At that moment, someone repeatedly knocked at his window. Remember he was on the third floor. There was no ledge, no way for anyone to stand outside and rap on the pane.

Frightened, he called out, “Who’s there.”

“A hollow voice responded that he was a relative who had just died, a successful lawyer who had wanted human praise so badly that he had lied to win it, and now was eternally lost because of his pride.”

As another source puts it, he who had defended so many causes in his life now had no one to defend his cause before the divine tribunal.

“Peter was terrified, and acted at once upon the suggestion to turn, while there was still time, from the vanity of public acclaim. He went the next day to a locksmith and bought an iron chain, which he riveted tightly about him. He began praying seriously to know his vocation.

“Soon thereafter, God made known to him that he should enter the Dominican Order.

It is said his father traveled to Bologna to retrieve his son, screaming at and demanding of the prior that he fetch the young man. He was prepared to vent his full fury on the boy for having ruined his dreams for him and choosing to “waste” his life in this fashion when he saw Pietro walking down the hall, a smile brightening his face. The father immediately recognized his son had found happiness, and his heart softened. He thus give his child his blessing.

After receiving ordination in 1424, he became an itinerant preacher (the Dominicans are officially known as the “Order of Preachers”). His preaching became so well known, he always had to preach in a town’s piazza (or square) or in a field “because there was no church large enough to hold the crowds that flocked to hear him.”

In 1433, his superiors made him prior at the ex-Convent of Santa Cita in Palermo, Sicily (it is now the Oratorio del Rosario in Santa City).

One day, his monks informed him there was no food, so he went to the water and asked some fishermen to donate a portion of the catch they were just then hauling in. They rudely dismissed his request.

So he got in a boat, put out a short distance away and called for the netted fish to come to his boat. The fish strained and broke through the net and did as he had commanded.

The frightened fishermen saw their sin and asked forgiveness. Pietro then gave a sign to the fish, which swam back into the nets. From that day on, the monastery had fish to eat.

Pope Eugene IV (1431-47) had a great appreciation for his skills, and during the Council of Florence (1431-45), which briefly reconciled the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, the Pontiff relied on Pietro to help mediate between the two sides.

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“At one time, when Peter was preaching at Catania, Mount Etna erupted and torrents of flame and lava flowed down on the city. The people cast themselves at his feet, begging him to save them. After preaching a brief and pointed sermon on repentance, Peter went into the nearby shrine of Saint Agatha, removed the veil of the [eponymous] saint, which was there honored as a relic, and held it towards the approaching tide of destruction. The eruption ceased and the town was saved.

“This and countless other miracles he performed caused him to be revered as a saint. He raised the dead to life, healed the crippled and the blind, and brought obstinate sinners to the feet of God.”

In addition to his miracles, he founded the University of Catania and help established several Dominican monasteries. He died at Santa Cita in 1452.

Peter’s life teaches us that, “God has a mission for each of us and has given us the gifts to successfully complete the purpose for which He created us. Our job is to discern our role in His creation. The gifts He has given us can be the instrument of our damnation when used against His purposes; when we discern correctly through prayer and spiritual direction these same talents and abilities can sanctify us and those around us. It’s not too late to seek God’s will for your life—in fact, we should attempt to understand His will for our every action, each day, using all the gifts his has given us.”

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St. Pietro’s tomb.

 

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3 thoughts on “Moved by a ghost toward the Holy Ghost

  1. Pingback: Blessed Peter de Geremia | CatholicSaints.Info

  2. nice testimony and teaching, but friend you have to realize that the roman catholic cult and their heresies are landing people in hell. Idolatry, Mary worship, infant baptism and many other stuff. All roman catholics need to leave the cult accept the truth, get baptised in the holy spirit and avoid the wrath of God. be blessed in JESUS name.

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  3. Good correspondent, were even a scintilla of what you wrote true, I would have to agree with you.

    As it is you simply recycle the easily refuted and indeed refuted a million times over canards that have sadly existed for the past 500 years.

    Idolatry: We do not idolize statues (cf. Exod 20:3-5; Lev 19:4), no more than you idolize any image of your loved ones, especially the dearly departed ones whose picture you may have on a mantle or prominently displayed in your home.

    As the Council of Trent wrote, we do this “not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or, that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by the Gentiles who placed their hope in idols; but because the honor which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent.”

    Furthermore, “And if any abuses have crept in amongst these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod ardently desires that they be utterly abolished; in such wise that no images, (suggestive) of false doctrine, and furnishing occasion of dangerous error to the uneducated, be set up. And if at times, when expedient for the unlettered people; it happen that the facts and narratives of sacred Scripture are portrayed and represented; the people shall be taught, that not thereby is the Divinity represented, as though it could be seen by the eyes of the body, or be portrayed by colors or figures.

    “Moreover, in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed …”

    The current Catechism of the Catholic Church says the same, albeit in a more succinct way.

    Recall, kind Christian, God allows images and representations of holy things as reminders of His tremendous glory: Exod 25:18-22; Numb 21:9; 1 Kings 6:23-29, 7:25-45; Josh 3:14-16; 2 Sam 6:13-16; Acts 15:20; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 John 5:21.

    He even displays His awesome and omnipotent power through relics: 2 Kings 2:13-14, 13:21; Matt 9:20 (the power goes out through Our Savior’s garment); Acts 5:14-16, 19:11-12.

    If you insist on your position, be intellectually consistent and throw out any image of any person or object in your possession because thus, under your own definition definition, it would be “a graven image.”

    Otherwise please concede that we use holy images as a means of remembering those who lived the type of life in Christ that we ourselves want to emulate. In turn this excites our fervor to live lives of ever greater virtue and holiness to please and imitate Our True Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Mary worship: We do not worship Mary. We follow her example. We use her as our model. We seek to grow closer to her Son by what we see of her in Scripture. And partly we do this through prayers to her for her intercession (which must be distinguished from prayers to her Son for His graces). She is, after all, “full of grace” (the proper translation of the Greek Chaire, Kecharitomene in Luke 1:28, which is from a past participle, as in “having been” or “have already been”). What did we lose at the Fall? Grace. She is “full of grace” and, as indicated by kecharitomene, was from the first moment of her existence.

    This is how Martin Luther described it:

    But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, [Mary] was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin…

    Continuing:

    • Scripture says, “The Lord is with” her (ibid.).
    • Scripture says that unlike Sarah and Abraham, who both doubt God’s veracity, Mary questions but does not doubt (cf. Luke 1:34). Ultimately her response is, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38)
    • Scripture says she is “blessed amongst women” (Luke 1:42). Indeed “henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (1:48).
    • Scripture says her “soul magnifies the Lord” (1:46).

    From earliest times Christians have recognized her as the “woman clothed with the sun wearing a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). She is also the “new Eve” (God created Adam with Eve. Paul calls Christ “the New Adam.” Hence the Church Fathers reckoned Mary as the new Eve). She is the ark of the New Covenant (cf. Rev. 11:19). She is the mother of the “beloved disciple” (yes, properly speaking John is the unnamed “beloved disciple,” but a) we are all “beloved disciples” and b) isn’t it plausible that the Holy Spirit would have prompted him to leave off naming himself for reasons other than modesty, that is, because He wanted us all to see ourselves in the descriptor “beloved disciple”?).

    Given Revelation 12 (which, yes, allegorically also stands for Israel and the Church built upon the 12 apostles), we believe she was assumed body and soul into heaven. This is not unique. God assumed both Elijah and Enoch into heaven. Some theologians contend He did the same with Moses (cf. Jude 9).

    If He did so with mere prophets, why would He not do so with His own beloved mother, with whom He spent the first 30 years of His life in great intimacy and with whom He literally took great pains to ensure her care after His death (see what doctors have to say about the agony incurred when speaking during a crucifixion)?

    Even Martin Luther agreed with this doctrine: “There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know.” Neither, however, does the Church definitively claim to know. Did she die? Did she merely appear to die? Was she not even appearing to be dead? We don’t know.

    So, yes, we ask for her intercession. But we beseech the prayers of saints because we believe, as the ancient Apostles’ Creed says (and which is used by countless Protestant churches) in “the communion of saints.” Included in this is the “Church Militant” (those still fighting the good fight on behalf of Our Lord against powers and principalities) and the “Church Triumphant” (those enjoying their reward in heaven). See Paul on this concept in Romans 12:5.

    Furthermore this has to be so because as the Bible tell us, nothing—not even death—can separate believers from Christ (cf. Rom 8:35-39, 12:5; Eph 2:19). If we are somehow by God’s good grace mystically connected with them, why shouldn’t we ask their prayers given that they behold our triune God “face to face,” and our closer to Him that we could ever be in this life? After all, Scripture has numerous references to people fearing to behold God for they would die if they did so. And yet they behold the Beatific Vision (cf. Rev 7:15)

    Thus the Church did not invent these realities but simply gave name to them. Same as she didn’t invent the concept of the Holy Trinity, she simply gave it a name. For nowhere in Scripture is the word “Trinity” used to describe our God as three Persons in one Deity.

    The Bible even tell us the saints in heaven know our situation here on earth and this can animate their prayers (cf. Heb 12:1; Rev 5:8, 6:9-10). Yes, “there is … one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). But the mediation spoken of by Paul is that of mediating redemption. Only God the Son could do that.

    However you can ask me to pray for you. I can ask you to pray for me. We constantly life one another up in prayer all the time. If we can do so with fellow believers on earth, and if we are joined with those who have gone before us in the Faith marked with the sign of Christ, then why can’t our blessed brothers and sisters do so before Our Savior in heaven?

    It is impossible to for a Christian to worship Mary or any mere creature, even an angel, because to do so would be blasphemy of the highest order.

    Rather we highly honor her, as did Calvin, who wrote, “To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honor to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of His only-begotten Son.

    Like Calvin we honor her because for she existed for one reason: To lead people closer to her Son. She told us, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). Indeed she said this in context of largely compelling Our Savior to perform His first public miracle. He obeys the Fourth Commandment. He honors His mother.

    Martin Luther agreed. In his last sermon at Wittenberg, he proclaimed, “Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honored? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent’s head. Hear us. For your Son denies you nothing.”

    Why should we not do the same?

    Infant baptism: In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sign of the covenant (cf. Gen 17:11). Genesis 17:14 tells us, “Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised … [Calvin translates as ‘that soul’] shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

    In his Commentary for English Readers, Protestant Charles Ellicott says that Jewish commentators claimed this cutting off meant being cursed “with childlessness and premature death.” Christian commentators believe the punishment was more akin to excommunication. Calvin wrote, “God denounces a severe punishment on any one who should neglect it. And as this shows God’s great care for the salvation of men; so, on the other hand, it rebukes their negligence.”

    Jews circumcised all male converts and all male infants.

    The apostle Paul tell us baptism replaces the need for circumcision (cf. Col 2:11-12). It is the new circumcision (cf. John 3:5; Acts 10:48).

    We see this in several New Testament passages. Just as God required all of Abraham’s household to be circumcised (cf. Gen 17:23-27), so all the households of converts are baptized “for the promise is to you and your children and all whom are far-off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to Him” (Acts 2:39; 16:15, 30-33; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:16; see also 1 Cor 15:22).

    Jesus Christ only founded one ecclesial community, the Catholic Church (cf. Matt 16:13-20 [cf. Is 22:15-23]; Matt 18:18; John 20:22-23 et al). All others churches and communities have broken themselves off from the shoots.

    And if you believe the Church corrupted the true gospel and changed the practices of the early believers (as differentiated from organically developing them, etc.), then read the writing of the earliest Christians: the Didache (aka, “The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles”, from Didachē, which means “teaching”), Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna, both students of the apostle John, Irenaeus of Lyons’ “Against Heresies,” Justin Martyr’s “First Apology” and “Dialogue with Trypho,” the 1st century “Shepherd of Hermas,” and Clement’s First and Second Letters to the Corinthians.

    None of these are scriptural, I’ll grant you (although some were considered such until the Church codified the Bible in the late 4th century), but all clearly show the mind of the earliest Christians. You will find nothing in them that contradicts orthodoxy. Indeed you will find in them why the Catholic Church at the Councils of Nicaea and Ephesus, etc., was able to develop the Christological teachings that saved Christianity from destruction by the Arians, the Gnostics, the Nestorians, the Monophysites, the Monothelites, the Pelagians, and so many others.

    So, kind correspondent, you are wrong in your assertion. It is not a cult, and I would encourage your further study precisely on this matter. For if you trust the Holy Spirit (who the Lord promised will lead you into all truth), then you will have nothing to lose, will you? But that which C.S. Lewis said about atheists, I would also use as a caution for fundamentalists such as yourself: “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”

    Incidentally Lewis said this after reading the Catholic G.K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man. And don’t read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy either if you want to stay a safe and secure fundamentalist. It might prove too destructive for you in your holding that worldview.

    Be assured of my prayers for you.

    In the powerful and ever holy name of Christ,

    Catholic Saints Guy

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