4 - 5 minutes readFebruary 27 – St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Confessor

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St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Confessor

A devotee of Mary.

 I am a very small soul, who alone can offer very small things to God”. These words of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus could have replied too, the young Passionist religious, whom the Church today presents to our devotion. No external work, no miracle, no writing signaled him to his contemporaries. But, like Saint Teresa or Saint Luigi Gonzaga, he sanctified himself in the silence and obscurity of religious life and "consumed in a short time he went a long way".

His natural gifts would have made him shine in the world; a good future was opening up before him; but a glance from him stopped him right on the threshold of adolescence. It was not, as for the rich young man in the Gospel, the gaze of the Lord, but that of the Madonna.

One day, in Spoleto, the Virgin placed her eyes full of tenderness on him and said to him: "The world is not for you, you must enter religion". And he, knowing well that "the world and God cannot be together", abandoned without regret "this world that passes ... to do God's will and live eternally" (1 Jn 2:17).

The love for Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows made him naturally choose the Institute which is consecrated to commemorate the Passion of Our Lord and the sword that pierced the heart of the Mother. "Devotion to the Holy Virgin, wrote its director, is the salient point of her life, the principal source from which all that is exceptional and admirable in her springs"; and the Church adds "that he was raised up by God to give, with his example, a great increase in the cult of the Virgin of Sorrows".

During the six years that he lived in the religious life, he had no other concern than this: to become the last of all and go unnoticed. Humility, poverty, obedience, hidden sacrifice were for him the secret to resemble Jesus and correspond to his love for him. He had come to ask to die consumptive "to feel himself dying little by little, and to make acts of love for God until the last breath". Thus, when the Lord "knocked on the door and made his voice heard" (Rev 3:20), he answered cheerfully and fell asleep on February 27, 1862, "placing his hope in divine mercy and in the intercession of your dear Mother ".

The Pope proclaimed him patron and model of youth.

LIFE. - San Gabriel was born in Assisi on March 1, 1838. Student in Spoleto, if for a short time he seemed seduced by the pleasures of the world, he never attacked your heart and, wounded by the gaze of the Virgin, on August 22, 1854, he decided to abandon everything and to enter the Institute of the Clerics of the Passion of Jesus. He was admitted on 8 September 1856 and received the habit on the 21st of the same month, on the feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, taking the name of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, because he had to continually remind him of the joys and sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. He took his first vows on September 27, 1857 and died on February 27, 1862, after having practiced the most sublime virtues in the obscurity of religious life and perfect simplicity: a great mortification, the most tender love for the Passion of the Lord, towards the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist and especially towards the sorrows of the Madonna. Having God manifested his merits of him with clear miracles, he was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920, and Pius XI extended his Office and Mass to the universal Church.

At the foot of the Virgin of Sorrows.

We are happy to celebrate your feast, O Saint Gabriel, at the beginning of the great annual retreat that goes from Septuagesima to Easter. You come to join your voice to that of the Church to induce us to finally break it with our perverse habits. Not everyone can, like you, withdraw into solitude; but you intend to show everyone how, in the midst of the world, one can keep one's heart pure and remain faithful to God.

And show us a means: to look at Jesus and Mary in the course of the Passion. We know from the author of the Imitation that "he who devotes himself to meditating attentively and devotedly on the holy life and the Passion of the Lord will find there in abundance all that is useful and necessary to him". Allow us to have “the Passion impressed so deeply in our hearts that it is always present to us”. You who learned from God "to meditate on the sorrows of the most sweet Mother, and who, through her, were elevated into glory by the grace of holiness, grant that, through your intercession and your example, we may be united to Mary's weeping and saved by her maternal protection ”(Collection of the Mass).

“I do nothing but bless the merciful hand of the Virgin which has separated me from the world”. This is how you expressed yourself and you loved talking to her like a child with her mother; and when the demons frightened you, you cried out: “Dear Mama, cast them out and drive them away”. In the moment of danger, teach us to have recourse to Mary and repeat your last prayer for us: "O Mary, Mother of grace and mercy, protect us from the enemy and at the hour of death welcome us".