St. Paschal Baylon (Feast: May 17)
Paschal was born in Terra Hermosa, Spain on Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 1540 the son of Martin Baylon and Isabel Jubera, pious day laborers. The feast of Pentecost in Spain being called “Pasch of the Holy Ghost,” the child was named Paschal.
From age seven to twenty-four he tended sheep, and early on showed signs of a great passion for the Holy Eucharist. While out at pasture, he continuously contemplated from the book of nature, and was ever attentive to the sound of bells announcing the elevation at Mass.
His employer so esteemed Pachal’s virtues, that he offered to adopt him, which offer the youth gratefully declined, preferring to remain poor that he might better follow his chosen path to God.
At around age eighteen he applied to the Franciscan Friars Minors who, under St. Peter of Alcantara, then living, were undergoing a salutary reform. At first the friars put Paschal off, but when a few years later he was finally accepted, they soon realized what a treasure of virtue they had taken in.
Though little educated, through his prayer life Paschal had reached a high degree of spiritual wisdom, which astounded his peers.
Again, his great spiritual characteristic was his devotion to the Holy Eucharist before which he spent hours on his knees, his hands clasped high in front of his face, at times rapt in ecstasy.
Once, when Paschal was sent on a mission through France, which was then undergoing fierce religious convulsions due to Calvinists and Huguenots, he bravely defended the doctrine of the Eucharistic Presence against a Calvinist preacher, barely escaping with his life afterwards.
Paschal died at fifty-two, on May 17, 1592 with the name of Jesus on his lips just as the host was being elevated.
His body was exposed for three days as multitudes gathered to venerate him and witnessed many miracles which God deigned to perform to confirm the sanctity of his servant.
Paschal Baylon was canonized in 1690.
DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Charbel Makhlouf
John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California