Bernardine of Siena, Priest

+John 14:21-26
The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.’


Acts 14:5-18
We have come with good news to turn you to the living God

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.
A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.


Psalm 113B(115):1-4,15-16
Not to us, Lord, but to your name give the glory.

Not to us, Lord, not to us,
but to your name give the glory
for the sake of your love and your truth,
lest the heathen say: ‘Where is their God?’
Not to us, Lord, but to your name give the glory.
But our God is in the heavens;
he does whatever he wills.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
Not to us, Lord, but to your name give the glory.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord
but the earth he has given to men.
Not to us, Lord, but to your name give the glory.

Source: The Jerusalem Bible
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Jesus teaches us how to pray

2607 When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theological path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus’ explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.

2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else.64 This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

2609 Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he himself is the door and the way.

2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus is as saddened by the “lack of faith” of his own neighbors and the “little faith” of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord, Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father. Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.

2612 In Jesus “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory. In communion with their Master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.

2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:
– The first, “the importunate friend,” invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.
– The second, “the importunate widow,” is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
– The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,” concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!

2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to “ask in his name.” Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the word and the commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with him in the Father who, in him, so loves us that he abides with us. In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.

2615 Even more, what the Father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus is “another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” This new dimension of prayer and of its circumstances is displayed throughout the farewell discourse. In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him: “Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.


Bernardino of Siena, (also known as Bernardine; 8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444) was an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary. He was a systematizer of Scholastic economics. His popular preaching made him famous during his own lifetime because it was frequently directed against sorcery, gambling, infanticide, witchcraft, sodomy (homosexuality), Jews, and usury. Bernardino was later canonised by the Catholic Church as a saint – where he is also referred to as “the Apostle of Italy” – for his efforts to revive the country’s Catholic faith during the 15th century.

Early life
Bernardino was born in 1380 to the noble Albizeschi family in Massa Marittima (Tuscany), a Sienese town of which his father, Albertollo degli Albizeschi, was then governor. Left orphaned at six, he was raised by a pious aunt. In 1397, after a course of civil and canon law, he joined the Confraternity of Our Lady attached to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala church. Three years later, when the plague visited Siena, he ministered to the plague-stricken, and, assisted by ten companions, took upon himself for four months entire charge of this hospital. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. In 1403 he joined the Observant branch of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscan Order), with a strict observance of St. Francis’ Rule. Bernardino was ordained a priest in 1404 and was commissioned as a preacher the next year. About 1406 St. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican friar and missionary, while preaching at Alessandria in the Piedmont region of Italy, allegedly foretold that his mantle should descend upon one who was then listening to him, and said that he would return to France and Spain, leaving to Bernardino the task of evangelizing the remaining peoples of Italy.

Bernardino as preacher
Preaching style
Before Bernardino, most preachers either read a prepared speech or recited a rhetorical oration. Instead of remaining cloistered and preaching only during the liturgy, Bernardino preached directly to the public. For more than 30 years, he preached all over Italy and played a great part in the religious revival of the early fifteenth century. Although he had a weak and hoarse voice, he is said to have been one of the greatest preachers of his time. His style was simple, familiar, and abounding in imagery. Cynthia Polecritti, in her biography of Bernardino, notes that the texts of his sermons “are acknowledged masterpieces of colloquial Italian.” He was an elegant and captivating preacher, and his use of popular imagery and creative language drew large crowds to hear his reflections. Invitations were often extended by the civil authorities rather than the ecclesiastical, as sometimes the towns would make money from the crowds that came to hear him.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bernardino chose his themes not from the daily liturgy, but from the ordinary lives of the people of Siena. He selected biblical themes to focus on the immediate interests of his audience. This proved effective in drawing their attention. Women comprised the majority of listeners, and the size of the crowd varied according to the day, time, and topic of the sermon. Polecritti notes, the subject matter of his sermons reveals much about the contemporary context of 15th-century Italy.
He travelled from place to place, remaining nowhere more than a few weeks. These journeys were all made on foot. In the towns, the crowds assembled to hear him were at times so great that it became necessary to erect a pulpit on the market-place. Like Vincent Ferrer, he usually preached at dawn. His hearers, so as to ensure themselves standing room, would arrive beforehand, many coming from far-distant villages. The sermons often lasted three or four hours. He was invited to Ferrara in 1424, where he preached against the excess of luxury and immodest apparel. In Bologna, he spoke out against gambling, much to the dissatisfaction of the card manufacturers and sellers. Returning to Siena in April 1425, he preached there for 50 consecutive days. His success was claimed to be remarkable. “Bonfires of the Vanities” were held at his sermon sites, where people threw mirrors, high-heeled shoes, perfumes, locks of false hair, cards, dice, chessmen, and other frivolities to be burned. Bernardino enjoined his listeners to abstain from blasphemy, indecent conversation, and games of hazard, and to observe feast days.
Bernardino was not universally popular. In L’Aquila someone sawed the legs off the pulpit causing him to fall into the crowd.
In 1427, he was called to Siena to allay factional strife. However, Bernardino preferred preaching rather then being an arbitrator. When he spoke against factions and vendettas, he was uncharacteristically tactful. To Policretti, this suggests that the situation could have become violent at the least provocation.
Both while he was alive and after his death (the first edition of his works, for the most part elaborate sermons, was printed at Lyon in 1501), Bernardino’s legacy was far from benign: of fanatical moralizing temperament, he preached fiery, intransigent sermons against many classes of people. His sermons were riddled with ostensible anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia. He demonized many women as “witches”, and called for homosexuals (or “sodomites” as he called them) to be either completely isolated from society or eliminated from the human community. He thus became a major exponent of what historian Robert Moore has called “the persecuting society” of late medieval Christian Europe.

On women
Bernardino presented the Virgin Mary as an example for women. He advised girls never to talk to a man unless one of their parents was present. In one sermon Bernardino cautions women about marrying men who care more for their dowries than for them. On one occasion he asked mothers to come to church with their daughters alone so that he speak to them frankly about sexual abuse in marriage. He also spoke against the confinement of unwilling girls to convents. He presented Saint Joseph as an example for men, while emphasizing Mary’s obedience to her husband.

Against sodomy and homosexuality

On sodomy (predominantly directed towards homosexual men), Bernardino keenly pointed out the reputation of the Italians beyond their own borders. He particularly decried Florentine lenience to men having sex with men; in Verona, he approvingly reminded listeners that a man was quartered and his limbs hung from the city gates for homosexual intercourse; in Genoa, men were regularly burned if found guilty of sodomy; and in Venice a sodomite had been tied to a column along with a barrel of pitch and brushwood and set to fire. He advised the people of Siena to do the same. In 1424 he dedicated three consecutive sermons in Florence to the subject, in the course of a Lenten sermon preached in Santa Croce, he admonished his hearers:
“Whenever you hear sodomy mentioned, each and every one of you spit on the ground and clean your mouth out as well. If they don’t want to change their ways by any other means, maybe they will change when they’re made fools of. Spit hard! Maybe the water of your spit will extinguish their fire.”

In Siena he preached a full sermon against sodomy (including homosexuality) in 1425 and then 1427; linking it directly with fears about the depopulation as it did not lead to children and was therefore unproductive: “You don’t understand that [sodomy] is the reason you have lost half your population over the last twenty-five years”. Over time his teachings helped mould public sentiment and dispel indifference over controlling sodomy and homosexual conduct more vigorously. Everything unpredictable or calamitous in human experience he attributed to sodomy, including floods and the plague, as well as linking the practice to local population decline. After one of his sermons in Siena four “irate sodomites” attempted to beat him with clubs.

Trial in Rome
Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, previously associated with John of Vercelli and the Dominican order, Bernardino devised a symbol—IHS—the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opponents thought it a dangerous innovation. Nonetheless, Bernardino used the devotion to calm strife-torn cities, reconciling feuds and factionalism by his counsel.
In 1426 Bernardino was summoned to Rome to stand trial on charges of heresy himself for his promotion of this devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus Theologians including Paulus Venetus gave their opinions. Bernardino was found innocent of heresy, and he impressed Pope Martin V sufficiently that Martin requested he preach in Rome. He thereupon preached every day for 80 days. Bernardino’s zeal was such that he would prepare up to four drafts of a sermon before starting to speak. That same year, he was offered the bishopric of Siena, but declined in order to maintain his monastic and evangelical activities. In 1431, he toured Tuscany, Lombardy, Romagna, and Ancona before returning to Siena to prevent a war against Florence. Also in 1431, he declined the bishopric of Ferrara, and in 1435 he declined the bishopric of Urbino.
John Capistran was his friend, and James of the Marches was his disciple during these years. Cardinals urged both Pope Martin V and Pope Eugene IV to condemn Bernardino, but both almost instantly acquitted him. A trial at the Council of Basel also ended with an acquittal. Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund sought Bernardino’s counsel and intercession and Bernardino accompanied him to Rome in 1433 for his coronation.

On Contracts and Usury
Economic theory
Bernardino was the first theologian after Pierre de Jean Olivi to write an entire work systematically devoted to Scholastic economics. His greatest contribution to economics was a discussion and defense of the entrepreneur. His book, On Contracts and Usury, written during the years 1431–1433, dealt with the justification of private property, the ethics of trade, the determination of value and price, and the usury question.
One of his contributions was a discussion on the functions of the business entrepreneur, who Bernardino saw as performing the useful social function of transporting, distributing, or manufacturing goods. According to Murray Rothbard, Bernardino’s insight in determining just value prefigured “…the Jevons/Austrian analysis of supply and cost over five centuries later.” He extended this to a theory of the “just wage”, which would be determined by the demand for labor and the available supply. Wage inequality is a function of differences of skill, ability and training. Skilled workers are scarcer than unskilled, so that the former will command a higher wage.

Usury
Usury was one of the principal objects of his attacks, and he did much to prepare the way for the establishment of the beneficial loan societies, known as Monti di Pietà.
Bernardino followed earlier scholastic philosophers Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas (who quotes Aristotle) in condemning the practice of usury, which they defined as charging interest on a loan. Scholastic analysis of usury, based in part on Roman law, was both complex and, in some instances, seemingly contradictory. Interest on delayed payment was deemed valid as it was considered compensation for damages suffered by the creditor being deprived of his property.
Bernardino saw usury as concentrating all the money of the city into a few hands. However, he did accept the theory of lucrum cessans, interest charged to compensate for profits foregone in lieu of capital investment. A distinction was also drawn for joint ventures, in which the creditor assumed some portion of the risk.
In Milan, he was visited by a merchant who urged him to inveigh strenuously against usury, only to find that his visitor was himself a prominent usurer, whose activities were prompted by a wish to lessen competition.

Anti-Semitism
Bernardino is particularly regarded today as being a “major protagonist of Christian anti-semitism” In January 1427 he was in Orvieto, where he preached on the topic of usury, urging the executive to take stringent steps against all such as were addicted to this business, many of whom were Jews. Blaming the poverty of local Christians on Jewish usury, his call for Jews to be banished and isolated from their wider communities led to segregation. His audiences often used his words to reinforce actions against Jews, and his preaching left a legacy of resentment on the part of Jews.

Franciscan Vicar General
Soon thereafter, he withdrew again to Capriola to compose a further series of sermons. He resumed his missionary labours in 1436, but was forced to abandon them when he became vicar-general of the Observant branch of the Franciscans in Italy in 1438.
Bernardino had worked to grow the Observants from the outset of his religious life: although he was not in fact its founder (the origins of the Observants, or Zelanti, can be traced back to the middle of the fourteenth century). Nevertheless, Bernardino became to the Observants what St. Bernard had been to the Cistercians, their principal support and indefatigable propagator. Instead of one hundred and thirty Friars constituting the Observance in Italy at Bernardino’s reception into the order, it counted over four thousand shortly before his death. Bernardino also founded, or reformed, at least three hundred convents of Friars. Bernardine sent missionaries to different parts of Asia, and it was largely through his efforts that many ambassadors from different schismatical nations attended the Council of Florence in which we find the saint addressing the assembled Fathers in Greek.

Being Vicar General inevitably cut back his opportunities to preach, but he continued to speak to the public when he could. Having in 1442 persuaded the pope to finally accept his resignation as vicar-general so that he might give himself more undividedly to preaching, Bernardino again resumed his missionary work. Despite a Papal Bull issued by Pope Eugene IV in 1443 which charged Bernardino to preach the indulgence for the Crusade against the Turks, there is no record of his having done so. In 1444, notwithstanding his increasing infirmities, Bernardino, desirous that there should be no part of Italy which had not heard his voice, set out to the Kingdom of Naples.
He died that year at L’Aquila in the Abruzzi and is buried in the Basilica of San Bernardino. According to tradition, his grave continued to leak blood until two factions of the city achieved reconciliation.

Canonisation and iconography
Reports of miracles attributed to Bernardino multiplied rapidly after his death, and Bernardino was canonized as a saint in 1450, only six years after his death, by Pope Nicholas V. His feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is on 20 May, the day of his death.
Bernardino lived into the early days of the print and was the subject of portraits in his lifetime, as well as a death-mask, which were copied to make prints, so that he is one of the earliest saints to have a fairly consistent appearance in art; though many Baroque images, such as that by El Greco, are idealized compared to the realistic ones made in the decades after his death.
After his death, the Franciscans promoted an iconographical program of diffusion of images of Bernardino, which was second only to that of the founder of the order. As such, he is one of the earliest saints whose appearance was given a distinct and readily recognisable iconography. Artists of the late medieval and Renaissance periods often represented him as small and emaciated, with three mitres at his feet (representing the three bishoprics which he had rejected) and holding in his hand the IHS monogram with rays emanating from it (representing his devotion to the “Holy Name of Jesus”), which was his main attribute. He appears to have been a favourite in the works Luca della Robbia, and one of the finest examples of Renaissance art includes relief carvings of the saint, which can be seen on the oratory of Perugia Cathedral.
A portrait is known to have circulated in Siena just after Bernardino’s death which, on the basis of physiognomic similarities with his death mask at L’Aquila, is believed to have been a good likeness. It is thought probable that many subsequent depictions of the saint derive from this portrait.
The most famous depictions of Bernardino are found in the cycle of frescoes of his life, which were executed towards the end of the fifteenth century by Pinturicchio in the Bufalini Chapel of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome.

Veneration
Saint Bernardino is the Roman Catholic patron saint of advertising, communications, compulsive gambling, respiratory problems, as well as any problems involving the chest area. He is the patron saint of Carpi, Italy; the Philippine barangays of Kay-Anlog in Calamba, Laguna and Tuna in Cardona, Rizal; and the diocese of San Bernardino, California, USA. Siena College, a Franciscan Catholic liberal arts college in New York, USA, was named after him and placed under his spiritual patronage.
His cult also spread to England at an early period, and was particularly promulgated by the Observant Friars, who first established themselves in the country in Greenwich, in 1482, not forty years after his death, but who were later suppressed.

Source: Wikipedia