19 June 2012

Memorial of Blessed Gerland

Blessed Gerland served in a little church at Caltagirone in Sicily, caring for widows and orphans devotedly and without thought of himself. He died about 1271 and is still honoured at Caltagirone, where his relics are venerated in the Basilica of San Giacomo.

A courtier Knight follows a hermit Knight [Bl. Gerard Mecatti]. Can there be a greater contrast? And yet, both lived by the same Rule and according to the same spirit: that flexible and strong spirituality of Saint John of Jerusalem which adapts itself to circumstances and makes sanctity possible everywhere and always to anyone who has the courage to enter on its path and pursue it. Therefore, no one among us has the right to hide behind the difficulties of his social position in order to live in worldly lukewarmness and looseness. There have always been saints everywhere, at all times and in all the classes of society. But, alas! everywhere and always the great number of indifferent, inconstant, flabby and weak people has been able to create the impression that sanctity is impossible. As if anything is not feasible, with persistence and the grace of God ! If there are few saints, it is because there are few "men". The Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem is indeed a man. Therefore, he must be a saint!

(From: Ducaud-Bourget, Msgr. François: The Spiritual Heritage of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Vatican 1958)


Lord God, who brought blessed Gerland from the north to Sicily and inspired him to wear a hair shirt in place of the armour of the knights of our Order, arouse in us a zeal like his so that our lives may always aim at perfection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From: The Missal with readings of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, & of Malta, London 1997)
For some historical information on the Order of Malta in Sicily visit, http://www.regalis.com/malta/maltasicily.html

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