Saint Louis Bertrand, O.P.

Today we honour the memory of the Spanish Dominican Saint Louis Bertrand – worked in South America where he preached the Gospel in Colombia and Panama. When his health failed he returned to Spain where he died whilst preaching in the cathedral at Valencia on 9th October 1581. Saint Louis was canonized in 1671 and he is the patron saint of Colombia and the patron of Dominican formation personnel and novitiates.

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Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. (Luke 11:17) There is nothing the devil loves more than to divide families and communities. This is because the family and each religious community is called to mirror the Holy Trinity, and Satan can’t stand anything that manifests such all-encompassing love. In the same way that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit show love for one another, so we are called to love everyone we know.

By contrast, there is nothing the Holy Spirit loves more than to unite the body of Christ. God himself became a man in order to gather his scattered children into one family. We need look no further than Pentecost for a moving example of this Spirit-inspired unity. Not only were the Apostles filled with courage to preach the Gospel, they also drew three thousand more to their number and devoted themselves to living as one (Acts 2:41-47).

When we see division and confusion around us, we shouldn’t get discouraged. We should take heart because we know that we are on the side of the One who has come to unite and not divide. Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself, and it will not stand. The kingdom of God is one complete unity, and it will ultimately triumph over every division.

This is why the power of the Cross is such a blessing. By destroying the sin that has separated us from God, Our Lord’s Cross has the power to heal and restore every divided human relationship as well.

And so let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us how pride and selfishness has the power to divide. May he give us the grace to put that pride and selfishness to death—to nail it to the Cross—so that the Holy Spirit can become the principle and power of unity in our hearts and in our community.

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