Saturday, April 23, 2011

This saint received holy orders from a bishop who died in despair, screaming that he would be condemned for negligence of his duties and for pursuing worldliness

                    April 23 ------------ St. Adalbert of Prague

            Adalbert was born in 956 in Bohemia to a noble family.  While still very young, he contracted a fatal illness, which prompted his parents to pray to Our Lady.  They asked her to cure their son and to give him a vocation to the priesthood. 

Both wishes were answered.  Adalbert received Holy Orders from the Bishop of Prague, who, sometime later, died in despair, screaming that he would be condemned for negligence of his duties and for pursuing worldliness.  This scene became embedded in Adalbert's memory where it constantly reminded him of the necessity of being truly "another Christ".

As Bishop of Prague, St. Adalbert was faced with a diocese that was filled with idolaters and fallen Catholics. When his efforts proved fruitless, he obtained papal permission to enter a monastery.  After five years, Pope John XV sent him back to Prague, where the people again fell into their heathen practices and Adalbert left again per the Pope's orders. 

Finally, he found success in Hungary and Prussia, where he converted many idolaters. However, in Danzig , he met his death, being attacked by a pagan mob led by a pagan priest who cried, "Be joyous, then, since you want nothing more than to suffer with your Christ."  His martyrdom was on April 23, 997.

St. Adalbert was moved by the despair of the Bishop and his life took shape from it.  Today, it is rare to see someone condemn themselves whether in life or in death. Most people die with complete indifference to their sins showing a  moral insensibility which has been produced by loss of the sense of good and evil.

This attitude is not only bad for the bearer, but also for those who may witness their death.  From his experience , St. Adalbert went on to lead an exemplary life in total contradiction to that of the bad Bishop.

Let us ask St. Adalbert to be able to follow those who give good example, to reject those who are evil and to say a resounding "yes" to whatever God asks of us.

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