Miracles in the life of Saint Charles Borromeo
He found himself at odds with the Spanish governors of Milan over matters of jurisdictional and secular natures. It came to some pretty hard-headed confrontations. In one instance, it was only through the diplomatic resources of the Pope and Prince Philip II of Spain that a sort of peace and arbitration was executed. But then he ran into problems with the clerical communities over the same thing, jurisdictional and disciplinary authority. He was actually barred from entering a church by the canons of the Church. When St. Charles would not acquiesce, and persisted in his right to make an Episcopal visit to the Church, soldiers from one of the Spanish dukes, the Duke of Albuquerque, shot at him with a musket. Thank God for the poor aim of the soldier, or the lack of accuracy of the firearms, or the intervention of the Angels, but St. Charles was not hit. However, the Crucifix he was holding was nicked.
In another separate situation, St. Charles was in his home, praying with the members of his household, when a paid assassin shot at him at such a point blank range, it could only have been the wings of the Angels which caused the bullet to graze him slightly. The civil authorities hung the would-be assassin. We’re not sure if it was punishment for the crime committed, or for not having successfully concluded the task he had been given and paid to do.
At any rate, it became very obvious to the powers that be, that this was a man to be reckoned with. He was not about to back down from anything, when it came to his Church and his God. Also, his reputation grew outside the diocese of Milan as well. He began making apostolic trips to other dioceses, such as Brescia, Cremona and Bergamo, all to the east of Milan. He made missionary trips into the Italian and German Alps to bring the Word of God to many who were victimized by the widespread lies of Protestantism. In addition, in some of these areas which had never had anybody there to minister to them, witchcraft and sorcery were also prevalent. You must remember, this time was when the greatest spread of Calvinism took place. In his travels to Switzerland, he found that although John Calvin had died prior to this time, his heresies were firmly entrenched there. St. Charles took his life in his hands to evangelize there, but he did!
St. Charles Borromeo was considered slow of speech and pace, from what we can gather, however he ran his entire life. He burned out at an early age, forty six years old. He was on retreat, when he came down with a fever at the end of October 1584. He was brought back to Milan on a litter. Within three days, he was dead. We believe that he had done all that the Lord wanted him to accomplish in a very short period of time. Twenty six years after his death, in 1610, he was canonized by Pope Paul V.
St. Charles’s life was one of great spirituality and dedication to the Church. There were no apparitions of which we’re aware, no Stigmata. He was just a solid worker in the Lord’s Vineyard. There were many miracles during his lifetime and also which were obviously due to the intercession of St. Charles Borromeo. The most powerful miracles were those of changing men’s hearts, of defending the Truths of our Church, and bringing about sweeping reforms in our Church. He was a man of great wealth, who used his riches to benefit those less fortunate than he. He was very focused on bringing the people of God, especially those of his beloved Archdiocese of Milan, back into the fold.
St. Charles Borromeo was a majestic role model, a very special role model, a role model for Bishops and Cardinals. Everyone needs Role Models! But especially those in authority who have been entrusted by God to shepherd His children. They are answerable; because to the degree that we have been blessed, to that degree we are accountable. Possibly more than anyone, bishops and cardinals need our prayers. Pray to St. Charles Borromeo for his intercession for your bishop or cardinal. He was first and foremost a prelate and Defender of the Church. Now, as a Saint in Heaven, he prays for his fellow bishops who are called to take up his torch and Defend the Faith!
Dear Bishops of the world, your dear brother Bishop and Cardinal didn’t give in to the pressures of the day. He fought the tensions of his day; if it was not the secular government disputing his jurisdiction, it was the priesthood fighting him over disciplinary actions he was imposing, especially on those complaining that the Church’s teaching on Jesus was obsolete in their age. He didn’t bring the Church and its marvelous traditions down to the perceived levels of the people. He showed the people how they could rise to the levels of Christ. He didn’t allow his clergy to give in to the carnal desires which were so accepted at that time.
Although St. Charles found himself smack in the middle of a church, influenced by the pagan humanism and secular humanism of the Renaissance, he did not capitulate. No, St. Charles brought his clergy to the level of Jesus, in Whose Name they were ministering to the world. The Laity, the street people, the beggars, the marginalized and disenfranchised, were given self worth, not by Jesus coming down to their level, not by worshipping each other, but by being raised by their bootstraps to the level to which they were called by the Sacrifice of their Redeemer, that of giving His life for them and for us.