Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A spiritual summons to devout meditation on the Passion of Jesus - a spiritual summons to devout meditation on the Passion of Jesus

Brother Patrick Colbourne has recently completed an English translation of the Invito Spirituale composed by the Sixteenth Century Capuchin non-cleric friar Battista of Faenza. (Go to capdox page).
The introduction reads:

Battista da Faenza, who was a member of the Galli Castelli family, was a military officer in localities which were under the control of Francesco della Rovere, the Duke of Urbino, and captain of infantry in the regiment of the brutal mercenary Ramazzotto de’ Ramazzotti. He was a ferocious man of untamed appearance and imposing build, concerning whom Colpetrazzo wrote:” he possessed such severe eyes that when he stared into your face he frightened you”. In fact he was known as “Big Battista from Faenza”. After being converted in Florence by the preaching of Bernardino Occhino, probably in 1537, he exchanged his military uniform for the severe garb of the Capuchin friars choosing to be a penitential lay brother. By means of continual mortification, humility and most severe penance he succeeded in modifying his violent character. The love of the Cross, which became his daily meditation in accord with the ascetical school of the Capuchins, enabled him to overcome all obstacles and transformed him into a new man.
There is a tradition that before he died he wrote a letter to his fellow citizens of Faenza based on his penitential experiences to exhort and encourage them to meditate on the Passion of the Lord every day. This letter has not been preserved. However, biographers within the Order state that it was published in 1775 forty years after his death and was reprinted many times in the eighteenth century. To at least preserve an echo of this tradition which is linked to popular devotion to the most holy Crucifix in the Capuchin friary of Faenza an edition that has come down to us from 1757is reproduced here. Even though the content is not verifiably original in its style it  reflects at least the substance of the message of Brother Battista da Faenza and is the perfect equivalent of the seraphic spirit of the Capuchin Reform in its love for Christ Crucified.

Thank you, Brother Patrick

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