Franciscan Priest (1676-1751)
Leonard of Port Maurice was born in 1676. He did his studies in Rome and sought admission among the Friars Minor. After his ordination he traversed almost the whole of Italy, applying himself with great fruit to preaching to the people. He also wrote many books for the use of preachers and the ediﬁcation of the faithful. He died at Rome in the year 1751. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
From the writings of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice
Opere Complete II, Venezia 1868, pages 176-177
Meditation on the Passion of Christ will arouse true contrition of heart
With desolation is all the land made desolate because there is none that considers in his heart. Behold the source of all our ills, that no one ponders on those things which demand diligent consideration. Hence arise manifold disorders in our conduct. The last things are especially ignored: God’s beneﬁts, and all that the Son Of God bore for us in his most bitter passion are consigned to oblivion; the duties and obligations proper to each state of life are carelessly discharged. Nor are those dangers which surround our life on every side foreseen and guarded against. Since, therefore, the world is ﬁlled with iniquity, rightly does Jeremiah complain “With desolation is all the land made desolate.”
But is there any remedy for such evils? Truly this much desired medicine is, in great part at least, ready. This do I desire to make known to all prelates, parish priests, priests, and other ministers of God, at whose feet I prostrate myself. It is, in short, that pious exercise which they call the Way of the Cross. If by their zeal and industry it were to penetrate into all individual parishes and churches, it would certainly prove a strong bulwark against the ﬂood of vices; it would enrich with the greatest virtues all who occupy themselves with the holy thought of the suffering and love of Jesus Christ.
0 how many salutary insights, what sincere remorse of heart, what unconquerable steadfastness of soul are inspired by the assiduous meditation on the most bitter passion of the Son of God! Daily experience has taught me that men’s conduct is quickly changed for the better by this holy manner of prayer.
This Way of the Cross is the antidote against vices, the purifying of passions, an efﬁcacious incentive to virtue and holiness of life. In very truth, if we vividly represent the bitter torments of the Son of God as in so many painted pictures before our mind’s eye, we can scarcely refrain from detesting the ﬁlth of our own lives, after so great an illumination; further, we are urge to answer so great a love by loving in return, or at least to bear willingly those crosses which abound in every state of life.
Almighty and merciful God,
you made blessed Leonard
an outstanding herald of the mystery of the cross.
Grant through his intercession
that we may recognize the riches of the cross
while on earth,
and attain to the fruit of its redemption in heaven.
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. Amen.