SAINT HENRY DE OSSÓ Y CERVELLÓ
Henry was born at Vinebre, Catalonia, Spain, on October 16, 1840, and was ordained a priest on September 21, 1867. He was an apostle to young people in teaching them about their faith and inspired various movements for the teaching of the Gospel. As a spiritual director he was fascinated by St. Teresa of Jesus, the great teacher in the ways of prayer and Daughter of the Church who is better known in the English-speaking world as St. Teresa of Avila. In the light of her teaching, he founded the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus (1876) dedicated to educating women in the school of the Gospel and following the example of St. Teresa. He gave himself to preaching and the apostolate through the printing press. He underwent many severe trials and sufferings. He died at Gilet, Valencia, Spain, on January 27, 1896.
He was canonized on July 16, 1993, in Madrid, by St. John Paul II.
From the Common of Pastors
Office of Readings
The Second Reading
(A Month in the Heart of Jesus, Prologue, EEO III, Rome, 1977, pp. 456-458)
From the writings of Saint Henry de Ossó, Priest
Identification with Jesus Christ
This is our main endeavor: to think, to feel, to love as Christ Jesus, to act and to speak as He — in a word, to conform our whole life to Christ’s. No one can be saved unless they are formed in the image of Christ. To conform our life to Christ’s, we need, above all, to study His life, know it, and meditate upon it, not only in its outward appearance, but by immersing ourselves in the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams of Jesus Christ so as to do everything in union with Him. In His goodness, Jesus Himself invites us, both in word and in action, to do this. For example, if we do not know the sentiments of His heart so as to put them into practice, how can we learn from His gentleness and humility? Or, how can we come into His presence each time we act in order to imitate Him? Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept silent, walked, worked, sweat, got tired, rested, was hungry, thirsty and poor; in a word, He suffered and died for us and for our salvation.
Why is it, then, that we cannot make or imagine Jesus as real and down to earth, but only in theory and as the ideal, which is the reason we do not love and imitate Him in everything, as we must? Jesus is our brother, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, bone of our bones. This is who our Jesus is, true God and true Man, alive, personal, and intimate. He let Himself be seen; He lived and spoke with us. For our salvation, being the eternal Word of God, He descended from heaven, became flesh, suffered, died, rose, ascended into heaven, and remained among us until the end of time to be our companion, our consolation, and our food in the Blessed Sacrament.
Eternal life, then, our only happiness in time and eternity, consists in knowing Jesus more intimately. How happy will be the person who learns this lesson and lives it daily. What an inspiring thought! I will live, sleep, speak, listen, work, suffer — I will do everything, I will suffer everything in union with Jesus, with the same divine intention and sentiments that Jesus had and with which He suffered, which is what Jesus wants of me.
Whoever does this — and all of us are called to do it — will live in this life the life of the world to come and will be transformed into Jesus, able to say with St. Paul: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
R/. I rejoice in the trials I bear and make up in my flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ * for the sake of His body which is the Church.
V/. I have been crucified with Christ, and now I no longer live but Christ lives in me: * For the sake of His body which is the Church.
in your priest Saint Henry de Ossó
you wonderfully combined
the ideals of the apostolic community:
a life of continual prayer
and of untiring apostolic activity.
By his intercession may we persevere in the love of Christ
and serve your Church by word and deed.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.