ANDREW AVELLINO, CONFESSOR
From the Liturgical Year
By Dom Guéranger
In the sixteenth century, in reply to the reproach of exhaustion hurled against the Church, the Holy Ghost raised from her soil an abundant harvest of sanctity. Andrew was one of his most worthy cooperators in the work of holy reformation and supernatural renaissance, which then took place. Eternal Wisdom had as usual suffered Satan to go before, for his own greater shame, cloaking his evil works under the grand names of renaissance and reform. It was nine years since St. Cajetan had departed this world, leaving it strengthened by his labours and all embalmed with the fragrance of his virtues; the former Bishop of Theate, his companion and collaborator in founding the first Regular Clerks, was now governing the Church under the name of Paul IV; when in 1556 God bestowed upon the Theatines, in the person of our Saint, an heir to the supernatural gifts, the heroic sanctity, and the zeal for the sanctuary, that had characterized their father. Andrew was the friend and support of the great Bishop of Milan, St. Charles Borromeo, whose glory in heaven he went to share on this day. His pious writings are still used in the Church. He himself formed some admirable disciples, such as Laurence Scupoli, author of the well-known work so prized by the Bishop of Geneva, the Spiritual Combat. Nothing need be added to the following history of his life.
Andrew Avellino, formerly called Lancelot, was born at Castro Nuovo in Lucania; and, while still an infant, gave evident signs of future holiness. He left his father’s house to study the liberal arts; in the pursuit of which he passed so blamelessly through the slippery age of youth, as ever to keep before his eyes the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Of a comely appearance, he was so great a lover of holy purity that he was able to escape snares laid for his chastity by shameless women, and even to repel open attacks. After being made a cleric, he went to Naples to study law, and there took his degree. Meanwhile he was promoted to the priesthood; after which he began to plead, but only in the ecclesiastical court and for private individuals, in accordance with the prescriptions of Canon Law. Once, however, when pleading a cause, a slight untruth escaped him; and happening soon after, in reading the Holy Scripture, to come upon these words: The mouth that belieth killeth the soul, he conceived so great a sorrow and repentance for his fault, that he determined at once to abandon that kind of life. He therefore left the bar, and devoted himself entirely to the divine service and the sacred ministry. As he was eminent in priestly virtues, the Archbishop of Naples confided to him the direction of certain nuns. In discharging this office he incurred the hatred of some evil men, who attempted his life. He escaped their first assault; but soon afterwards one of the assassins gave him three wounds in the face: an injury which he bore unmoved. Desirous of a more perfect life, he humbly begged to be admitted among the Regular Clerks; and on obtaining his request, he asked to be called by the name of Andrew, on account of his ardent love of the Cross.
He earnestly devoted himself to the stricter manner of life he had embraced, and to the practice of the virtues, going so far as to bind himself thereto by two most difficult vows, viz; never to do his own will, and ever to advance in Christian perfection. He had the greatest respect for religious discipline, and zealously promoted it when he was superior. Whatever time remained over after the discharge of his duties and the prescriptions of the rule, he devoted to prayer and the salvation of souls. He was noted for his piety and prudence in hearing Confessions. He frequently visited the towns and villages near Naples, exercising the apostolic ministry with profit to souls. Our Lord was pleased to show by miracles how great was this holy man’s love of his neighbour.
As he was once returning home late at night from hearing a sick man’s confession, a violent storm of wind and rain put out the light that was carried before him; but neither he nor his companions were wet by the pouring rain; and moreover a wonderful light shining from his body enabled them to find their way through the darkness.
His abstinence and patience were extraordinary, as also his humility and hatred of self. He bore the assassination of his nephew with unruffled tranquility, withheld his family from seeking revenge, and even implored the judges to grant mercy and protection to the murderers. He propagated the Order of the Regular Clerks in many places, and founded houses for them in Milan and Piacenza. The Cardinals Charles Borromeo and Paul of Arezzo a Regular Clerk, bore him great affection, and availed themselves of his assistance in the discharge of their pastoral office. Virgin Mother of God he honoured with a very special love and worship.
He was permitted to converse with the Angels; and affirmed that when saying the Divine Office, he heard them singing with him as if in Choir. At length, after giving heroic examples of virtue, and becoming illustrious for his gift of prophecy, whereby he knew the secrets of hearts, and distant and future events, he was worn out with old age and broken down with labours. As he was at the foot of the Altar about to say Mass, he thrice repeated the words: I will go in to the altar of God, and fell down struck with apoplexy.
After being strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church, he peacefully expired in the midst of his brethren. His body was buried at Naples in the church of St. Paul, and is honoured even to this day by as great a concourse of people as attended the interment. Finally, as he had been illustrious for miracles both in life and after death, he was solemnly enrolled among the Saints by Pope Clement XI.
How sweet and yet how strong were the ways of eternal Wisdom in thy regard, O blessed Andrew, when a slight fault into winch thou wast surprised became the starting-point of thy splendid sanctity! The mouth that belieth, killeth the soul. Seek not death in the error of your life, neither procure ye destruction by the works of your hands. Thou didst read these words of divine Wisdom and fully understand them. The aim of life then appeared to thee very different, in the light of the vows thou wast inspired to make, ever to turn away from thyself and ever to draw nearer to the Sovereign Good. With holy Church in her Collect, we glorify our Lord for having disposed such admirable ascensions in thy heart. This daily progress led thee on from virtue to virtue, till thou dost now behold the God of gods in Sion. Thy heart and thy flesh rejoiced in the living God; thy soul, absorbed in the love of his hallowed courts, fainted at the thought thereof.
No wonder it was at the foot of God’s altar that thy life failed thee, and thou didst enter on the passage to his blessed home. With what joy thou wast welcomed into the eternal choirs, by those who had been on earth thy angelic associates in the divine praise!
Be not unmindful of the world’s homage.Deign to respond to the confidence of Naples and Sicily, which commend themselves to thy powerful patronage. Bless the pious family of Regular Clerks Theatines, in union with St. Cajetan thy father and theirs. Obtain for us all a share in the blessings so largely bestowed on thee. May the vain pleasures found in the tabernacles of sinners never seduce us; but may we prefer the humility of God’s house to all worldly. If, like thee, we love truth and mercy, our Lord will give to us, as he gave to thee, grace and glory. Calling to mind the circumstances of thy blessed end, Christians honour thee as a protector against sudden, and unprovided death: be our guardian at that last moment; let the innocence of our life, or at least our repentance, prepare for us a happy exit; and may we, like thee, breathe out our last sigh in hope and love.
Sts. Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha
Rome invites us to-day to honour with her a group of martyrs, the protectors and the treasure of her great hospital of the Holy Ghost, where they rest under the high altar. The church of St. Augustine, close to the ancient stational church of St. Tryphon, also possesses a portion of the latter’s precious remains.
St. Andrew Avellino Confessor
Commemoration of Ss. Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, Martyrs
Double / White Vestments
Missa ‘Os Justi
INTROIT – Psalm 36: 30-31
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius.
Ps. Noli æmulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem. Gloria Patri.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart. Ps. Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be to the Father.
God, Who didst create in the heart of blessed Andrew, Thy Confessor, through his difficult vow, wonderful aspirations to advance daily in virtue toward Thee, grant us, by his merits and intercession, so to become participators in the same grace that, ever pursuing the more perfect things, we may be happily brought unto the summit of Thy glory. Through our Lord.
COMMEMORATION of Ss. Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha
Make us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever assiduously to observe the festival of Thy holy Martyrs, Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, that we may, by their patronage, experience the gifts of Thy protection. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Ecclesiasticus 31: 8-11
Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? for he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.
GRADUAL – Psalm 91: 13, 14, 3
The Just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.
ALLELUIA – James 1: 12
Alleluia. Alleluia. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Luke 12: 35-40
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: amen I say to you that he will girt himself and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch. and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then also ready, for at what hour you think not the Son of man will come.
OFFERTORY – Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
In memory of Thy Saints, O Lord, we offer Thee the sacrifice of praise, by which we trust to be freed from both present and future evils. Through our Lord.
COMMEMORATION of Ss Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha
We offer Thee, O Lord, the gifts of our devotion: may they be pleasing to Thee, honourable to Thy Saints, and through Thy mercy salutary to us. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNION – Matthew 24: 46-47
Blessed is that servant, whom when his Lord shall come he shall find watching: amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have partaken of these gifts. Through our Lord.
COMMEMORATION of Ss Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, through the intercession of Thy holy Martyrs Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, that what we take with our mouth, we may receive with a pure heart. Through our Lord.