This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19 -- Feast of Blessed Marcelo Spínola y Maestre

Blessed Marcelo, who surely was more than the sum of his offices
Blessed Marcelo was a tremendously talented, pious, accomplished man, so it may seem ridiculous to write about him as if his life were a cautionary tale.  And yet, for all the impeccable credentials that are listed in his biography, how else could I view him? 

Using Google Translate, I read on-line sources in Spanish and Norwegian as well as English-language accounts of his life.  To ask for any greater success in an ecclesiastical career would be sinful in some way (avarice? pride? vanity?).  In fact, I'd recommend Marcelo as a patron to anyone who is working on a curriculum vitae or resume.

The son of a Marquis, he was in line to inherit his dad's title.  He trained to be a lawyer, and while working in that profession, he donated his services to the poor.  Soon after, he decided to become a priest instead.  He rose through the ranks at a constant, measured pace for the rest of his long life.  One site provides a statistical breakdown, noting that he spent 41.6 years as a priest, 25.0 years as a bishop, and 0.1 years as a cardinal.  The links in the chain of his service are:
  • Chaplain: Church de la Merced, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Dad was naval commander there)
  • Canon: Cadiz Cathedral
  •  Parish priest: San Lorenzo
  • Penitentiary Canon: Seville Cathedral 
  • Titular Bishop: Milos
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Seville
  • Bishop: Coria
  • Bishop: Malaga
  • Senator: Kingdom of Spain
  • Archbishop: Seville
  • Cardinal: appointed by Pope Pius X, but died before he could get the red hat 
Here's the part that I find sad.  All sites agree that he was very sympathetic and generous to the poor, but there's not one story about an individual whom he helped.  They all agree that he was very pious, but again, there are no anecdotes to show us how that piety was manifest or why it mattered.  He spent forty-six years in the service of the Church, was venerated and beatified, and the most interesting, personal thing that I could find about him was that he supported the independence of the Church at a time of rising national control of churches in Europe. 

There are seven billion of us on earth right now (give or take).  Most of us will be forgotten soon after our demise.  That's okay.  It's natural and proper and to wish for more is mere vanity.   But while we're remembered, it will be good to be known for something.  Something more than a list of the jobs we held.  We need not look for opportunities to become memorable, but we should live in such a way that what is remembered makes a good story. 

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