A homily for the feast of St. Gerard Majella C.Ss.R., ...
A kind confrere offers us the following reflection...
SAINT GERARD MAJELLA C.Ss.R.
Writing or reading the lives of the saints is a challenging occupation.
Accounts of their lives can be so remote from our ordinary human experience that we find them so unattractive and de-humanised that there is no incentive to follow them.
Gerard Majella's experience and living of the Christian and religious life was so out of the ordinary; yet he is an outstanding example of the Alphonsian tradition that has animated generations of Redemptorists:
the imitation of Christ the Redeemer;
in recalling his' infancy, his passion death and resurrection;
his abiding presence in the Eucharist;
a devotion to his Blessed Mother and the compelling desire to share these with ordinary people as we journey together.
In some ways Gerard is the most medieval of our saints, full of crazy gestures, even as a child yet moulded in the traditional devotions of his contemporaries, the ordinary people of Muro.
The popular piety of Southern Italy at that time and even to this day is characterised by a profound sense of the supernatural, boundless confidence in the goodness of God and his providence; the mystery of the cross and a childlike attachment to our Blessed Lady and the intercession of the saints. It has been described as the poor peoples alternative to the liturgy. Some would describe this popular piety as an inferior state of faith, tinged with slight superstition, when in fact it is relating to the divine or supernatural in a different way.