ST. GERARD MAJELLA

ST. GERARD BALLOON: A REFLECTION ON THE MEMORIAL OF ST. GERARD MAJELLA BY FR. IFEANYICHUKWU HENRY NWOKORO CSsR, IBADAN

I have a special likeness for baloons. I would usually have at least one balloon in my room. One thing I learn from baloons is the need to empty myself. If you know anything about St. Gerard Majella, you may be wondering what St. Gerard has to do with balloons. Actually he has nothing to do with balloons but he reminds me of balloons.

St. Gerard, like some other saints, had the gift of levitation. It is true that some people who belong to some religions practice levitation as an art. But the saints did not practice levitation as an art. As for the saints, not only did they not like the fact that they levitated, they are totally not in control of how it happens. St. Gerard once asked a musician to play a song for him. The song was about doing to will of God. While the music was going on and St. Gerard was reflecting on the will of God, he levitated. Each time he reflects on the mysteries of God, he would levitate. St. Alphonsus would go into the chapel and he would pray there behind closed door for hours. Once someone was wondering what he was doing in the chapel for hours and peeped and saw St. Alphonsus kneeling, but in a levitating state.

There is no actual picture of St. Gerard levitating. At least, I couldn’t find one. But there is that of St. Joseph of Cupertino image.jpg. Other saints who levitated include St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, etc. One thing about this kind of gift is that anybody who desires it, even by pretending not to desire it, will never have it. Some of these saints would carry stones in their pockets, for fear they might levitate. The reason for this will be understood when we understand why they have such gifts in the first place.

Our first reading of today is a continuation of yesterday’s reading. St. Paul speaks to us about Christian freedom. He tells us that those who are focussed on keeping the whole law will not be justified. Actually nobody can keep the whole law. What is wrong with trying too hard to keep the laws is that we focus on ourselves and we depend on ourselves. Today we are told to ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself). To me, ‘DIY’ is only one letter short of ‘DIE’. The saints looked up completely to Christ to do it for them. 1539252268766658011360.jpg

Look at his eyes and see a man who is not looking at himself, a man who is not full of himself, full of secrets, full of material possessions, workerholic or full of sin. He has practiced detatchment and is completely dependent on God. Whoever is full cannot float in the air. This makes physical sense. I am not saying this is ‘THE’ reason, but it is ‘A’ reason which helps me to make sense of levitation. All the baggages we carry in life makes us heavy and make it difficult for us to enter the kingdom of God.

In the Gospel, Jesus condemns us for focusing too much on our externals. We focus on looking good, and in order to achieve this, we hide a lot of things within us. So, while we look clean outside, while we look empty outside, inside is full of junk. We pretend that all is well, while we carry so many burdens within. Jesus invites us to do some clean-up. We should clean the inside and get rid of all the junk we carry. What better way to do this than to begin with a good confession. Most confessionals look like toilets and in a sense, they are toilets. Many of us are spiritually constipated and we are so heavy. If heaven is up above, then only those who can fly will get there. How can we fly when we are still full of ourselves? Think of this the next time you see a balloon.

6 thoughts on “ST. GERARD MAJELLA

  1. Thanks Andre for the question. We have about 4 levels of celebration. Every Sunday is special as we celebrate the Ressurection of the Lord. There are other days, which enjoy the same level of importance as a Sunday. They are called Solemnities. Not all solemnities occur on a Sunday. Some of the solemnities are Christmass, Ascenssion, Assumption, All Saints, Immaculate Conception, Pentecost, Christ the King, Ss. Peter and Paul, St. Joseph, etc. You will notice that they are usually related directly to Jesus and few of them relate to Mary. On such days, everything that is done on a Sunday is done at mass. Next is feasts. Feasts are also usually related to the Lord, but are less important than Solemnities. A catholic is required to attend mass on all Solemnities, but the same does not apply to feasts. On Feasts, the Gloria is sung but not the creed. Next is the memorials. These are usually related to the saints. It is usually set on the date on which the saint died, which is the same day he or she is born in heaven. There are two types of memorials. An obligatory memorial has to be celebrated. For an optional memorial, the priest has the option of celebrating it or not. Sometimes, what is a memorial in one place can be a feast in other places. For example, in our Redemptorist communities, 1st of August is a Feast in honor of St. Alphonsus, our founder, but for the rest of the Church, it is a memorial. Another example is today. St. Gerard is not an obligatory memorial, but for us Redemptorists, it is obligatory, because he is our brother. If you have the Laudate App, you will discover there that the Church has so many saints that all of them cannot be celebrated as obligatory memorial. But at least in the country of the saint, it will be celebrated. Sometimes you can get up to 10 saints for one day. The saints we know are the major ones. There are many saints we can read about. You can follow this on Laudate. The last on the ranks is the feria, which is a normal weekday. I think other readers will benefit from your question as well. You are in my prayers. Many blessings.

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  2. Thank u for this post Fr. Levitation is not something you hear about everyday. I found the post very informative and interesting.

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