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Bl. Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua, Priest

Bl. Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua, Priest

April 17, 2024

Blessed Baptist was born in 1447 into a family serving the Dukes of Mantua, later joining the Carmelites at Ferrara. Though not a genius poet, his mastery of Latin imitated Virgil, making his eclogues influential for over a century after his death. Baptist's religious profession began in 1464, alongside his literary endeavors.

Beyond the Carmelites, he engaged in diplomatic missions and was an advocate against societal corruption, articulating reform through eloquent appeals. Despite his active external life, he remained deeply spiritual, particularly devoted to the Virgin Mary.

His diplomatic services for popes, six terms as vicar general, and election as Prior General in 1513 showcased his esteemed position. Esteemed among humanists, he earned the title "Christian Virgil" from Erasmus for his extensive Latin works, comprising over 50,000 verses and prose.

A friend to many prominent figures, Baptist was an influential literary figure of his time. His death in 1516 left an incorrupt body in Mantua's Cathedral. Pope Leo XIII sanctioned his cult in 1885, celebrating his memorial day on 17th April.

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 Christ our Lord.

From the treatise of Blessed Baptist Spagnoli “On Patience”

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 of 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 is 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

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