Humble Wisdom of St Felix of Cantalice – May 18 – Homily – Fr John Lawrence

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Fr John Lawrence gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on May 18, 2023, on the life of St. Felix of Cantalice, a Capuchin Franciscan brother who humbly begged for bread for his friary.

St. Felix, born on May 18th, 1515 in Cantalice, was known for his devout faith from an early age. Employed as a shepherd boy, he embraced solitude for prayer and penance, influencing others with his virtue. His reputation for piety led his employer to move him closer, allowing him to attend Mass. Amid a life of prayer and penance, he had a miraculous encounter that spurred his entry into the Capuchin order.

As a friar, St. Felix performed different duties before being assigned as a questor, responsible for begging for the friary's needs. A mature and spiritually grounded man, he navigated the city while maintaining his devout nature, thereby becoming the face of the Capuchins during a challenging time for the order. His saintly demeanor restored public faith in the Capuchins.

St. Felix was a close friend and advisor to St. Philip Neri, both having a heart for the poor. They often met in the streets, engaging in discussions of wisdom and spirituality, intentionally behaving in ways to dissuade people from venerating them. Yet, their humility and genuine faith only reinforced their sanctity in the public eye.

Uneducated but profoundly wise, St. Felix acted as a counselor to cardinals and Pope Sixtus V. His devotion was to Christ and the Blessed Virgin, as symbolized by his saying about "five red letters" and "one white letter". His unwavering faith was evident in his lifestyle, involving minimal sleep, hard work, and extreme humility.

St. Felix, despite his hardships and burdens, always kept his faith. His humility was an inspiration to all, showcasing the power of simple devotion to God. He was known for his deep prayer life and miraculous encounters, like holding the child Jesus, which further affirmed his sanctity.

On his 74th birthday, May 18, 1587, St. Felix died. After overcoming a final demonic temptation through his faith in Christ, he had a vision of the Blessed Virgin with angels. Post-death, his sores healed, and he was immediately venerated as a saint. His canonization process was initiated promptly, contrary to the usual decades-long wait, showcasing his influence and the strength of his faith.

00:00 - Introduction
00:10 - Early Life of St. Felix
01:23 - Divine Intervention and St. Felix's Devotion
01:42 - St. Felix's Spiritual Journey Towards Becoming a Hermit
02:44 - Entrance into the Capuchins
03:07 - Assignment in Rome and Role as a Questor
04:21 - Public Interactions and Influence on Capuchin's Image
05:52 - St. Felix's Relationship with St. Philip Neri
07:17 - St. Felix as a Counselor to Cardinals and Pope Sixtus V
08:10 - St. Felix's Wisdom through the Crucifix and Mary

Ave Maria!

Mass: St. Felix of Cantalice - Feast -
1st: act 2:44-47
Resp: psa 131:1-3
Gsp: luk 12:22-31

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