Blessed Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua

Date: 
April 17, 2015
April 17, 2016
April 17, 2017
April 17, 2018
April 17, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Optional Memorial
Classification: 
Priest

Born in Mantua on 17th April, 1447, as a youth Baptist joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time he was a renowned Christian humanist who brought his richly varied Renaissance poetry into the service of Christ. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on 20th March, 1516.

 From the Treatise on Patience by Blessed Baptist Spagnoli

"3, c. 32: Opera Omnia, 1576, 4, f. 170r-171r)

We draw hope from the consolation of scripture

"You will find that the reading of sacred scripture is a great and powerful remedy against bodily suffering and depression of mind. In my opinion, there is no other writing, no matter how eloquent and stylish it may be, that can bring such peace to our minds and so thoroughly dissolve our cares as sacred scripture can.

I speak from personal experience: for there have been times when I was beset with anxieties, the worst of which came from the experience of my own weakness, and if on such occasions I sought relief in the scriptures, the hopes and desires that led me there were never disappointed. The word of scripture proved to be a solid bulwark against my anxieties and a relief to my troubled spirit.

I have often wondered why the scriptures have this persuasive power, why they have such a powerful effect on those who listen to them, and why they lead us to the commitment of faith and not to the mere forming of opinion. This response of faith does not happen because of a reasoning process, because scripture does not offer one; and it is not a matter of literary style or artistic merit, because scripture does not use these devices; nor does it use soft words to persuade us.

The real reason that scripture has this persuasive power is that it comes from First Truth. Surely there can be no other explanation for such conviction. It seems as though scripture has an inherent authority that compels us to believe. But on what base does this authority rest? None of us has seen God preaching, writing, teaching —and yet we believe as though we had seen, and realize that what we read comes from the Holy Spirit. One reason for believing may well be that the truth contained in scripture is very solid truth, even though it is not as clear as we might wish. All truth has an inherent power to win our acceptance: the greater the truth, the greater its power. So why is it, then, that not all believe the good news? My reply is that not all are drawn by God. However, there is no point in arguing further. We believe in sacred scripture to the degree that we accept in our hearts God’s divine inspiration."

 

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord God, you made Our Lady's faithful servant, Blessed Baptist Spagnoli, a preacher of your Gospel by word and example. Through his prayers may we ponder your word in Mary's company and praise you with her by the way we live. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Evening Prayer