Saint Homobon de Crémone
Laïc à Crémone (✝ 1197)
Tailleur et marchand de drap, à Crémone en Italie. Il était en effet un "homme bon", d'une inépuisable bonté pour les pauvres. Ses vertus et ses miracles après sa mort le firent mettre au nombre des saints.
À Crémone en Lombardie, l'an 1197, saint Homobon. Commerçant, il mena une vie de prière et de charité, allant visiter et soulager les pauvres, réunissant les enfants à l'abandon pour les éduquer et mettant la paix dans les familles.
HOMMEBON DE CRÉMONE
Commerçant à Crémone, Saint
Saint Hommebon était fils d'un marchand de Crémone, en Italie. Le nom de sa famille était Tucinge. Celui de Homobonus ou de Hommebon qu'il reçut au baptême, présageait ce qu'il devait être un jour. Destiné au commerce, il eut une éducation conforme à cette profession ; il trouva dans les instructions et les exemples de son père, des motifs de probité , de religion et de vertu. Dès son enfance, il montrait une grande horreur pour l'apparence même de l'injustice, et il aurait mieux aimé perdre toute sa fortune, que de commettre le moindre péché. Il voyait dans son état une occupation que Dieu lui avait donnée ; il en remplissait les devoirs par obéissance à la volonté du Ciel, par justice pour lui-même , pour sa famille et pour la société dont il était membre. Ses parents lui ayant proposé de se marier, il leur obéit, et s'unit à une femme vertueuse et capable de l'aider dans le gouvernement de sa maison. La régularité de tous ceux qui la composaient, était une preuve de la vigilance et de la sainteté du maître.
Ce fut par ces différents moyens que le serviteur de Dieu se sanctifia dans sa profession. Il ne laissait échapper aucune occasion de pratiquer toutes les vertus chrétiennes dans un degré héroïque. Les contradictions qu'il avait à essuyer, ne troublaient point la tranquillité de son âme ; il les supportait avec douceur et avec humilité. Il ne répondait aux injures que par le silence, ou des représentations pleines de bonté, auxquelles on ne résistait point. II était si parfaitement mort à lui-même, qu'on disait dans Crémone qu'il était né sans passion.
Sa charité envers les pauvres ne connaissait point, pour ainsi dire, de bornes. Après la mort de son père, qui lui laissa des biens considérables, il augmenta encore ses aumônes. Il allait chercher les pauvres dans leurs cabanes, et en même temps qu'il les soulageait dans leurs misères, il les exhortait à se repentir de leurs fautes , et à mener une vie plus chrétienne. Sa femme lui faisait quelquefois des reproches sur ce que par ses aumônes excessives il appauvrissait sa famille ; mais il lui répondait avec douceur, que la meilleure manière de placer son argent, était de le donner aux pauvres, qu'on lui faisait par-là produire le centuple, comme Jésus-Christ lui-même l'avait promis. On lit dans l'auteur de sa vie, que ses immenses charités furent souvent accompagnées de miracles, et que Dieu lui accorda le don de multiplier ce qu'il avait destiné au soulagement des malheureux.
Il joignait à la pratique de l'aumône celle de l'abstinence et de la mortification. Il savait allier les devoirs de son état à l'exercice de la prière. Il y donnait un temps considérable, et lorsqu'il paraissait distrait par les occupations extérieures, il unissait son âme à Dieu par des aspirations fréquentes ; en sorte que tous les lieux où il se trouvait, étaient pour lui des lieux d'oraison. Tous les jours il assistait dans l'église de Saint-Gilles à matines, qui se disaient à minuit, et il ne se retirait que le lendemain matin après la grand'messe. Sa ferveur était si exemplaire, surtout pendant le saint Sacrifice , que tous ceux qui le voyaient, se sentaient pénétrés de la plus vive dévotion. Il restait quelque temps prosterné devant un crucifix, en attendant que le prêtre fût arrivé à l'autel. Ses exemples et ses discours convertirent un grand nombre de pécheurs. Il consacrait uniquement a la piété les Dimanches et les fêtes, et il était en prières lorsque Dieu l'appela pour récompenser ses' vertus.
Le 13 Novembre 1197, il assista à matines, suivant sa coutume, et resta à genoux devant le crucifix, jusqu'à ce que le prêtre commençât la messe. Au Gloria in excelsis, il étendit les bras en forme de croix. Peu de temps après il tomba le visage contre terre. Ceux qui le virent en cet état, crurent qu'il s'y était mis par dévotion. Mais quand on s'aperçut qu'il ne se levait point à l'évangile, on s'approcha de lui, et on remarqua qu'il ne vivait plus.
Sicard, évêque de Crémone, après avoir constaté l'héroïsme de ses vertus et la certitude de ses miracles, se rendit à Rome avec plusieurs personnes respectables pour solliciter sa canonisation. Le Pape Innocent III le mit au nombre des Saints, et publia sa bulle en 1198. Le corps du serviteur de Dieu fut levé de terre en 1356, et transféré dans la cathédrale de Crémone. Mais son chef est resté dans l'église de Saint-Gilles.
Les facultés et les besoins de l'homme prouvent qu'il est né pour le travail. La société d'ailleurs, dont il est membre, lui en fait un devoir. Il ne serait pas juste qu'en ne contribuant en rien aux charges communes, il profilât du travail des autres. Une vie d'amusements et de plaisirs est donc indigne d'une créature raisonnable, à plus forte raison d'un chrétien. Que l'on examine ceux qui n'ont point d'occupation sérieuse, et l'on verra que la vie même est un fardeau pour eux. Il faut de l'exercice à l'âme naturellement active, et nul homme ne peut être heureux s'il ne sait se faire un genre d'occupation. Mais ces réflexions ont encore plus de force, quand on passe de l'ordre physique à l'ordre moral. Observons cependant que les professions qui portent au péché, sont toujours défendues ; mais ,les autres doivent être estimées à proportion de l'avantage qui en revient à la société, et des facilités qu'on y trouve pour pratiquer la vertu. On peut les sanctifier toutes, en les rapportant à Dieu, qui est la grande fin de toutes les choses créées. Chaque profession entre dans le plan général de la Providence, et c'est se rendre coupable , que de n'en pas remplir les devoirs. Il est vrai que les arts mécaniques ne tendent point de leur nature à perfectionner la raison, ni à produire la vertu ; mais ils deviennent méritoires pour tous ceux qui les ennoblissent par des principes de religion, par la pratique des vertus chrétiennes. Au reste, ces vertus sont le fruit de la prière, de la méditation de la loi sainte el de la vigilance sur soi-même. Nous devons donc réserver toujours des moments pour ces pieux exercices, et leur donner même la préférence, s'il arrivait qu'ils fussent incompatibles avec quelques-uns des exercices de la vie ordinaire. Ces moments ne nous manqueront jamais : nous en trouvons bien pour nos amusements et nos plaisirs. Il faut que nous devenions des Saints, et ce n'est que par là que nous le deviendrons.
SOURCE : Alban Butler : Vie des Pères, Martyrs et autres principaux Saints… – Traduction : Jean-François Godescard.
LETTER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
TO H.E. MSGR. GIULIO NICOLINI,
BISHOP OF CREMONA
To My Venerable Brother Giulio Nicolini
Bishop of Cremona
1. On 13 November 1197 Homobonus Tucenghi, a cloth merchant in Cremona, ended his earthly life contemplating the Crucifix, while attending Mass in his city parish of St Giles, as was his daily custom.
Little more than a year later, on 12 January 1199, my Predecessor, Innocent III, inscribed him in the list of saints, in compliance with the petition Bishop Sicardo had made to him, when he came as a pilgrim to Rome with the parish priest Osberto and a group of citizens, and after having evaluated the numerous testimonies, some written, of the miracles attributed to the intercession of Homobonus.
Eight centuries later, the figure of St Homobonus continues to be constantly alive in the memory and in the heart of the Church and of the city of Cremona, which venerate him as their patron saint. He is the first and only layman of the faithful, not to belong either to the nobility or to a royal or princely family, to be canonized during the Middle Ages (cf. A. Vauchez, I Laici nel Medioevo,Milan 1989, p. 84; La Santità nel Medioevo, Bologna 1989, p. 340). "Father of the poor", "consoler of the afflicted", "assiduous in constant prayer", "man of peace and peacemaker", "a man good in name and deed", this saint, according to the words used by Pope Innocent III in the Bull of canonization Quia pietas, is still like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in our time.
2. Thus I learned with joy that you, Venerable Brother, have decided to dedicate to his memory the period between 13 November 1997 and 12 January 1999, calling it "The year of St Homobonus", to be celebrated with special spiritual, pastoral and cultural initiatives, as part of the journey of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and in the spirit of communion created by the Synod that the Diocese recently celebrated.
Although distant in time, Homobonus does in fact figure as a saint for the Church and society of our time. Not only because holiness is only one, but because of the exemplary way this faithful layman worked and lived Gospel perfection. The striking parallels with the demands of the present time give the jubilee celebration a profound sense of "contemporaneity".
3. Testimonies of the time unanimously define Homobonus "pater pauperum", father of the poor. This definition, having remained in the history of Cremona, in a certain way sums up the merchant's deep spirituality and extraordinary life. From the time of his radical conversion to the Gospel, Homobonus became an artisan and apostle of charity. He made his home a place of welcome. He personally attended to the burial of the abandoned dead. He opened his heart and his purse to every category of needy person. He did his utmost to settle the controversies which broke out between factions and families in the city. He entirely devoted himself to the practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and, at the same time, he safeguarded the integrity of the Catholic faith faced with heretical infiltrations, with the same fervour with which he participated daily in the Eucharist and devoted himself to prayer.
In pursuing the path of the Gospel Beatitudes, in the time of the Communes when money and market trends constituted the centre of city life, Homobonus combined justice and charity and made almsgiving a sign of sharing, with the spontaneity of one who from the assiduous contemplation of the Crucifix learned to testify to the value of life as a gift.
4. Faithful to these Gospel choices, he had to face and overcome obstacles from his family circle, because his wife did not share his choices, from the parish, which looked with suspicion at his austerity, and from his work environment, because of the competition and bad faith of some who tried to cheat the honest merchant.
Thus Homobonus' image emerges as that of a businessman engaged in the cloth trade and, while involved in the market dynamics of Italian and European cities, conferred spiritual dignity on his work: that spirituality which was the hallmark of all his activity.
In his life experience there was no connection between the various dimensions. In each one he found the "way" to express his desire for holiness: in the family nucleus, as an exemplary spouse and father; in the parish community, as a believer who lives the liturgy and is dedicated to catechesis, profoundly linked to the ministry of the priest; in the context of the city, in which he spread the appeal of goodness and peace.
5. Such a meritorious life could not fail to leave a profound and memorable mark. Admirable indeed is the persevering affection and devotion which Cremona has retained for this special leading figure, who came from the working class.
It is significant that, in 1592, the Cathedral was dedicated to him and to St Mary’s Assumption. And it is no less significant that it was precisely the members of the City Council, who chose him as patron of the city in 1643, amidst the jubilation, "the immense joy", the "tears of devotion" of the people. A layman saint, elected as patron of the laity themselves.
Nor should we marvel that the cult of St Homobonus has spread to many Italian Dioceses and even beyond the national boundaries. Homobonus is a saint that speaks to hearts. And it is good to note that hearts are sensitive to his loving appeal. This is shown in the constant rush to visit his mortal remains, especially, but not only, on his liturgical feast day, and the intense devotion that the people have for him, mindful of the graces received and trusting in the intercession of the beloved "heavenly merchant".
6. In the jubilee year, his voice in some essential aspects assumes tones, as I noted at the beginning, of "contemporaneity".
The times are no longer those of 800 years ago. We cannot attribute the character of a "promotion of the lay status", in the modern sense of this concept, to the canonization of Homobonus, which matured in the context and procedures of the Middle Ages.
It is however true that it is in this very light that we interpret the spiritual adventure that marked the centuries-old history of Cremona. And it is in this light that we rediscover the message, still new, of its famous patron. He is the faithful layman who, as a layman, earned the gift of sainthood.
His life assumes an exemplary value as a call to conversion without any restrictions whatsoever, and therefore to sanctity that is not reserved for some, but proposed to everyone without distinction.
The Second Vatican Council makes holiness a constitutive element of membership of the Church when it states that "all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love" (Lumen gentium, n. 40); and it points out that "by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society" (ibid.). This is exactly what we need in the climate of unremitting transition that we are experiencing: we need it for developing the present positive premises and for responding to the serious challenges deriving from the profound crises of civilization and culture, which influence the collective ethos.
7. The call to holiness involves and enhances the life and activity of the laity as the Council also teaches and as I confirmed in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici.
In the context of the above-mentioned document, St Homobonus' example and life appear to me to be of particular relevance for the Church and for the society of Cremona, in the present day. To undertake a new evangelization, in fact, "a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. However, for this to come about, what is needed is first to remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself" (Christifideles laici, n. 34).
The lay faithful must become fully involved in this task, with the special charisms of the "secular character". The new situations, both ecclesial and social, economic, political and cultural, most especially require their specific participation (ibid., n. 15, p. 4).
8. It is a happy coincidence that the jubilee celebration of this "Saint of Charity" has fallen within the last decade of our century, which the ecclesial community in Italy has consecrated to the programme "Evangelization and testimony of love".
Again, as I wrote in Christifideles laici, charity in its various forms, from almsgiving to works of mercy, "gives life and sustains the works of solidarity that look to the total needs of the human being" (n. 41). The same charity is and will always be necessary, both for individuals and for communities. And "such charity is made increasingly necessary the more the institutions become complex in their organization and claim to manage every area at hand. In the end such projects lose their effectiveness as a result of an impersonal functionalism, an overgrown bureaucracy, unjust private interests and an all-too-easy and generalized disengagement from a sense of duty" (ibid., p. 13).
The sensitivity of Homobonus urges us in a special way to be open to the entire horizon of charity in its various expressions, apart from material ones: the charity of culture, political charity, social charity, for the common good. Such an eloquent example can effectively contribute to brightening the current political and social climate, promoting a style of harmony, of mutual trust, of committed involvement.
9. I am particularly pleased that the celebration of the "Year of St Homobonus" is to cover the whole of 1998, the second year of the preparatory phase for the Great Jubilee, dedicated especially to the Holy Spirit.
May the endearing figure of the ancient merchant accompany the providential event from heaven. Invoked with your profound and traditional devotion and with an ever more conscious faith, may he obtain for all the baptized loyalty to the gifts of the Spirit, received especially in the sacrament of Confirmation. May he obtain for the lay faithful a more mature awareness that their participation in the life of the Church "is so necessary that without it the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect" (Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 10). For all the members of the Church in Cremona may he obtain from the Lord the fervour requested of the new evangelizers, called in the post-synodal period to be true witnesses to faith, hope and love.
With these fervent wishes, as I recall my Pastoral Visit to Cremona in June 1992, and the subsequent meeting with those who came to Rome on pilgrimage in November of last year, as a seal to the diocesan synod, I sincerely impart to you, Venerable Brother, to the priests, deacons, consecrated persons, to the lay faithful, to every family, every parish and the whole city my affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 24 June 1997.
IOANNES PAULUS PP. II
© Copyright 1997 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
SOURCE : http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/1997/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19970624_nicolini.html
- Homobonus Tucingo
- Omobono Tucenghi
Son of a well-to-do tailor and merchant. He became a tailor himself, and took over his father‘s business. Married layman. He believed that his ability to work was given to him by God so he could support the poor, and he devoted most of his profits, and some of his house space, to charity.
- 13 November 1197 at Cremona, Italy of natural causes during Mass at Saint Edigio
- his head is preserved as a relic in the same church
- good man (= bone home)
- business people
- Cremona, Italy, city of
- Cremona, Italy, diocese of
(Saint) (November 13) (12th century) Son of a merchant of Cremona (Lombardy), and himself engaged in trade, Homobonus, who was married to a pious woman, practised the most scrupulous honesty throughout his life, and was conspicuous for his charity to the poor. His piety was such that he never failed to assist at the Midnight Matins, common in his time, nor to attend the Daybreak Mass. One day, during the Holy Sacrifice, he fell prostrate on the ground and was picked up dead (A.D. 1197). His holy life and the miracles obtained through his intercession caused his speedy canonisation in A.D. 1198. His relics are venerated at Cremona.
- Monks of Ramsgate. “Homobonus”. , 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 September 2013. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://catholicsaints.info/book-of-saints-homobonus/>
All lawful secular professions have furnished heaven with saints, that the slothful in all states may be without excuse. In the infancy of the world, men were chiefly shepherds and graziers, and before the improvement of agriculture were obliged to live in moveable tents, and as soon as the produce of the earth was consumed in one place, they removed to another. The useful arts were at first few and very imperfect: clothing was simple and mean, and houses, so necessary a shelter to men, were at first, even in the coldest climates, raised of mud, or made with boughs: trunks felled, and unhewn, set upright for walls, were once looked upon as a great improvement in building. 1 Industry, convenience, and luxury have discovered and perfected arts in the world, which their progress shows against modern deists not to exceed the age which the sacred history of Moses assigns it. Commerce originally consisted in bartering goods of one kind for those of another; but since the invention of money as one common or general kind of goods, trade has become as important in the republic of mankind as agriculture itself, and is as great a source of wealth, and the strength, support, and ornament of a nation; though the tillage of the earth, which raises a mine from the ground without giving any thing in exchange, and by which all mankind subsists, always deserves the first consideration in the eye of the public, and the chief encouragement from its hands, far from being suffered to sink into contempt, or give up its hands too frequently to the pursuit of refined, or useless, or even pernicious professions. Trade is often looked upon as an occasion of too great attachment to the things of this world, and of too eager a desire of gain; also of lying frauds and injustice. That these are the vices of men, not the faults of the profession, is clear from the example of this and many other saints.
Honobonus was son to a merchant of Cremona, in Lombardy, who gave him this name (which signifies Good Man) at his baptism: the name of his family was Tucinge. Whilst he trained him up to his own mercantile business in shop-keeping, without any school education, he inspired in him, both by his example and instructions, the most perfect sentiments of probity, integrity, religion, and virtue. The saint from his infancy abhorred the very shadow of the least untruth or injustice, and having always the fear of God before his eyes, would have chosen with joy rather to forego the greatest advantages, and to suffer the loss of his whole fortune, than to stain his soul with the least sin. This rule is the more necessary to persons engaged in trade, as they are more easily betrayed unawares into occasions of such sins, and are more apt to palliate, or extenuate them to themselves, unless a steady resolution put them infinitely upon their guard. A man who is content, and ready to meet cheerfully the most grievous disappointments, and even the ruin of his temporal affairs rather than to tell the least lie, or any other way wilfully offend God, makes to him a constant sacrifice of obedience by this disposition of his soul, and secures to himself a lasting peace: for a mind which finds its comfort and joy in the divine grace and love, and in the goods of eternity, is out of the reach of anxiety and troubles on account of the uncertain and perishable goods of this life, especially when they were sacrificed to religion. But probity is usually attended also with temporal success; for though a person may be a gainer by injustice in some particular occasions, it is an undeniable maxim, that honesty is the best policy, and that a man thrives in business by nothing so much as by unshaken integrity and veracity, which cannot fail to draw down the divine blessing, and gain a man the highest credit and reputation in all his dealings, which is his stock and his best fortune. This Saint Homobonus experienced by his unexpected success in his business, which, under the divine blessing, was also owing to his economy, care, and industry. His business he looked upon as an employment given him by God, and he pursued it with diligence upon the motive of obedience to the divine law, and of justice to himself, his family, and the commonwealth, of which he thus approved himself a useful member. If a tradesman’s books be not well kept, if there be not order and regularity in the whole conduct of his business, if he do not give his mind seriously to it, with assiduous attendance, he neglects an essential duty, and is unworthy to bear the name of a Christian. Homobonus is a saint by acquitting himself diligently, upon perfect motives of virtue and religion, of all the obligations of his profession.
By the advice of his parents, he took to wife a virtuous virgin, who was a prudent and faithful assistant in the government of his household, which, by the piety and regularity of all those who composed it, bespoke the sanctity and attention of the master. Men’s passions, which they neglect to subdue, as in every state of life, so particularly in this, are their greatest slavery and the cause of their miseries and troubles. Instead of rejoicing, how many repine at the prosperity of other traders, and expose their faults with a rancour which all who hear them ascribe only to their envy, jealousy, and want of charity! how many seek to raise a family by meanness and sordidness! how many fall into an inordinate passion for riches! For though wealth may be a blessing of God, if neither coveted nor abused, yet immoderately to thirst after it, is always a grievous and most fatal vice. This one thing is the philosophy of the trader, a point of the utmost importance in a trading life, that a man curb the lust of riches, regulate his desires of them, and be in all events calmly and sweetly resigned to the will of God, who knows what is best for us. As to the pretence of a provision for children, a prudent care for them is a point of justice; but, under all disappointments, we know that the blessing of God and his grace is the best inheritance, and that that provision for them is often the wisest which lays a sufficient foundation for their industry to build on, and leaves them under an obligation to business and employment. Ambition, vanity, and pride are often no less preposterous than destructive vices in this class of life, which is best set off by modesty, moderation, and simplicity. Whatever exceeds this in dress, housekeeping, or other expenses, is unnatural and affected; consequently ungrateful and offensive to others, and uneasy and painful to the persons themselves. A man of low stature only becomes frightful by strutting upon stilts. Nothing unnatural or distorted can ever be becoming. The merchant is the honour and support of society; but an ostentatious parade is what least of all suits his character or concurs to the happiness of his state. This vanity shows itself either in extravagant expenses, in the neglect or affected contempt of business, or in engaging a man in bold and hazardous projects, which prove often in the end a most grievous robbery, injustice, and cheat committed upon widows and orphans, the dearest friends and nearest relations. Sloth, or love of diversions and pleasures are in men of business crimes of the same tendency and enormity. The Christian moderation and government of the passions are the fence of the soul against these dangers, and the most consummate prudence. By this Saint Homobonus avoided the common rocks on which so many traders dash. He, moreover, by his profession, attained the great end which every Christian is bound to propose to himself, the sanctification of his soul; for which he found in this state opportunities of exercising all virtues in a heroic degree. The capriciousness, unreasonableness, injustice, and peevishness of many with whom he interfered in his dealings, he bore with admirable meekness and humility; and by patient silence, or soft answers, or by a return of gentleness and obsequiousness, he overcame perverseness and malice, and remained always master of his own soul. This appeared so admirable, that it was commonly said of him at Cremona, that he was born without passions.
Charity to the poor is a distinguishing part of the character of every disciple of Christ, and, provided that justice takes place, a tribute which the merchant owes to God out of his gains; and this was the favourite virtue of Homobonus. Not content with giving his tenths to the distressed members of Christ, after the death of his father (of whom he inherited a considerable stock in trade, besides a house in the town, and a small villa in the country), he seemed to set no bounds to his alms: he sought out the poor in their cottages, and whilst he cheerfully relieved their corporal necessities, he tenderly exhorted them to repentance and holy life. His wife sometimes complained, that by his excessive alms he would soon reduce his family to beggary; but he mildly answered her, that giving to the poor is putting out money to the best interest, for a hundred fold, for payment whereof Christ himself has given us his bond. The author of his life assures us, that God often recompensed his charities by miracles in favour of those whom he relieved, and by multiplying his stores. His abstinence and temperance were not less remarkable than his almsdeeds. His assiduity in prayer condemns the false maxim which some make a pretence for their sloth, that business and a life of prayer are incompatible. The saint spent a considerable part of his time in this holy exercise, and joined prayer with his business by the frequent aspirations by which he often raised his mind to God in sentiments of compunction and the divine praise and love amidst the greatest hurry, so that his shop, his chamber, the street, and every place was to him a place of prayer. It was his custom every night to go to the church of Saint Giles, a little before midnight, and to assist at matins, which it was then usual for many of the laity to do: and he left not the church till after high mass the next morning. At mass the example of his fervour and recollection was such, as to inspire all who saw him with devotion. He waited some time prostrate on the pavement, before a crucifix in the church, till the priest began mass. The slothful were quickened to virtue, and many sinners converted from vice by the example of his life, and the unction of his discourses. Sundays and holidays he always consecrated entirely to his devotions: prayer accompanied all his actions, and it was in the heavenly exercise of prayer that he gave up his soul to God. For, on the 13th of November in 1197, he was present at matins, according to his custom, and remained kneeling before the crucifix till mass began. At the Gloria in excelsis he stretched out his arms in the figure of a cross; and soon after fell on his face to the ground; which those who saw him thought he had done out of devotion. When he did not stand up at the gospel they took more notice of him, and some persons coming to him perceived that he had calmly expired. Sicard, bishop of Cremona after a rigorous examination of his virtues and miracles, went himself to Rome with many other venerable persons, to solicit his canonization; which Pope Innocent III performed after the necessary scrutinies, the bull of which he published in 1198. The saint’s body was taken up in 1356, and translated to the cathedral, but his head remains at the church of Saint Giles. Vida, the Christian Virgil, has honoured the memory of Saint Homobonus, the patron of his native city, with a hymn.
Both religion and the law of nature dictate that no man is to be idle or useless in the republic of the world. Man is born to labour and industry. Our capacities on one side, and, on the other, our necessities and wants urge us to it: and this we owe to human society. For it is not just that he who contributes nothing to its support, should, like a drone, be feasted and maintained by the labour of others. A circle of amusements and pleasures cannot be the life of a rational being, much less of a Christian. A gentleman who applies not himself with earnestness to some serious employment, finds his very life a burden, and is a stranger to the obligations of his state, and to all true enjoyment. A man is never more happy than when he is most eagerly and commendably employed; the activity of his soul is a fire which must be exercised. Hence business is necessary for man’s temporal happiness; and the situation of the working and trading part of mankind is more happy than most are sensible of. It is still more necessary to a moral or Christian life. Trades which minister to sin are always unlawful: others are honourable and commendable in proportion as they contribute to the comfort and welfare of mankind, and as they concur to supply the wants and necessities of our species, or to promote virtue. Religion teaches men to sanctity them by motives of piety, and to refer them to God, and the great ends for which only we are created. Every one’s secular calling indeed is a part of religion, if thus directed by its influence: and no spiritual duties can ever excuse a neglect of it. Arts and trades, which immediately minister to corporal necessities, have not indeed in themselves any direct tendency to the improvement of reason, or production of virtue; though, if they are consecrated by principles of religion, become acceptable sacrifices to God. For this they must be accompanied with the exercise of all virtues, especially humility, meekness, patience, charity, confidence in God, and self-resignation, which prevents anxiety and those fears to which the uncertainty of human things expose men. Without self-consideration, prayer, and pious reading or meditation, it is impossible that a man should be really possessed of these virtues, how finely soever he may talk of them by way of notion or speculation. It is also by prayer and holy meditation that he pays to God the homage of praise and compunction, and improves himself as a rational or spiritual being, and as a Christian. Every one, therefore, must, in the first place, reserve time for these employments, even preferably to all others, if any should seem incompatible. But who cannot find time for pleasures and conversation? Sure then he may for prayer. By this even a man’s secular life and employs will become spiritual and holy.
- Father Alban Butler. “Saint Homobonus, Merchant, Confessor”. ,1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 November 2013. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://catholicsaints.info/butlers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-homobonus-merchant-confessor/>
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/butlers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-homobonus-merchant-confessor/
A grand example of virtue is presented to us by the Catholic Church in Saint Homobonus, who as a layman and a merchant arrived at great Holiness. The famous city of Cremona, in Lombardy, was his native place. His parents were not rich in worldly goods, but very pious. They gave their son the name of Homobonus, that is, “a good man;” and this name was a presage of the kindness and charity which were to mark his life. His parents gave him an excellent education, and the benefits he derived from it extended over his whole life. As soon as Homobonus was beyond the years of childhood, his father, who was a merchant, took him into business. Homobonus, enlightened by God, recognized the manifold dangers of sin into which he would be thrown by commerce, and was therefore very guarded in all his actions. Every morning, he recited his prayers and assisted at holy Mass; for he used to say: “One must first seek the kingdom of God. The success of all affairs depends only on God.” He was very careful not to become guilty of the least fraud, or even to take a lawful advantage, either in buying or in selling. He would not take a penny unjustly. He never asked more for his goods than the legitimate price. An oath or a lie, so common among merchants, was never on his lips. He was extremely conscientious in paying his debts, in order not to make others suffer by delay. Besides this, his manners were so kind, his words so modest, that he was beloved by every one; and therefore he had more customers and a greater income then any other merchant. The Sundays and Holy-days he employed only to the honor of God and the salvation of his soul. The greater part of these days he spent in the church, at prayer, listening to the word of God, and receiving the holy Sacraments ,- while his only pleasure at home was the reading of a devout book. Towards his parents he manifested, both as child and man, a reverential love and a perfect obedience. Hence, when they proposed to him that he should marry, he consented to their wishes, took in marriage the maiden whom his parents had selected for him and lived with her in Christian love and fidelity. He continued in business after the death of his parents, not, however, for the purpose of gaining earthly wealth for his own benefit, but to secure eternal possessions, by giving his temporal gain to the poor. He was not only kind to the poor, but liberal, so that he was called “The father of the poor.” No one left him without receiving alms. For those who were ashamed to beg, he carried his gifts to their houses, comforted them and encouraged them to bear their trials patiently. His wife sometimes seemed to think that his liberality went too far, and feared lest, if he continued, she herself might, one day, come to want. Hence she counselled him to be more economical and not to draw every beggar of the city to his house.” When she saw that all her words had no effect, she began to complain and murmur, and at last, even broke out into invectives and curses. Homobonus met her with gentleness, and said: “Do you then suppose that our temporal affairs will suffer, when we are compassionate and charitable to the poor? The word of God teaches us quite differently; Christ Himself has said: Give, and you shall receive.” The woman, however, would not believe this until she had had a proof of it. A famine had come upon the city, and one day, so great a number of poor came to the house of Homobonus, that all the bread he had stored up hardly sufficed to satisfy them. The wife of the charitable man was not at home when this happened; but when she returned and went to fetch some bread for the table, she found the same number of loaves she had left there; and on cutting one of them, she perceived that it was whiter and better then she had ever seen. Astonished at this, she asked the servant, who assured her that Homobonus had given all the bread to the poor; whence she understood that the Almighty had wrought a miracle to reward the charity of her husband and to reprove her own selfishness. Homobonus then bade her not to think that she would be impoverished by giving to the poor, and in future, to show herself more compassionate. At another time a similar miracle took place. The Saint had a small country-seat, the revenue of which he devoted entirely to the support of the helpless. One day, when he was taking out some wine to the laborers in this villa, he met some beggars, who asked him to give them a drink to appease their thirst. The kind-hearted man gave them the pitchers, bidding them take a good drink. The beggars needed no second invitation, but took the pitchers and left not a drop in them. The Saint, fearing that the laborers would become impatient at his long delay, if he returned home to fill his pitchers again, went, full of trust in God, to a neighboring well, filled the pitchers with water, blessed it and took it to the laborers. One after another partook of it, and all returned him thanks for having brought them such excellent wine. The Saint thought at first that they were not in earnest: but having tasted it, he found that it was truly wine. Silently thanking God, he resolved not to tell any one of the miracle; but one of the laborers had seen his master give the wine to the beggars, and fill the pitchers at the well. The miracle thus soon became known, and raised the holy man still more in the estimation of every one. He used the great influence which he possessed for the salvation of many souls, and by his devout discourses he brought many heretics to the true faith and many sinners to a better life. We have already related that he employed all the time that he could spare from business in prayer and devout reading. Even a portion of the night he devoted to these sacred exercises; for he rose in the middle of the night and assisted at matins in the neighboring Church of Saint Aegidius; where he remained until the first Mass. Although orders had been given that the church should be opened for Homobonus, he was several times found praying before the altar or the Crucifix before the doors were yet opened. The Angels had done him the service to admit him into the house of the Lord.
At length, it pleased God to call His faithful servant from the place where he had passed so many hours in holy contemplation, to receive his eternal reward. One night, in 1197 he had, according to his custom, assisted at matins and remained kneeling before the Crucifix until the morning Mass commenced. At the “Gloria in Excelsis,” he stretched out both arms and then laying them in the form of a cross upon his breast, he expired, without having been sick or having shown any sign of agony. No sooner was he found dead in this position, than every one came running towards him, venerating him as a Saint. The holy body was buried in the same church, and God made his shrine celebrated by many miracles. The number of these was so great, that, in the following year, the Pope did not hesitate to place Homobonus among the Saints. In the year 1357, his holy body was exhumed and transported, with solemn ceremonies to the Cathedral.
• All those who are merchants, or in other similar professions, should learn of Saint Homobonus how to conduct themselves in the station to which they belong, if they desire to save their souls. We ought always to begin the day with fervent prayer; assist daily, if possible, and with great devotion, at Holy Mass; be careful to avoid deceit of every sort, as for instance, in weight or measure, by adulteration of the wares, or by retaining any portion of them for our own profit We ought not to seek gain by unjust means; not ask more than is just for our goods or our work, and avoid lying, cursing, and other vices. We ought not to become addicted to slothfulness, gaming or drinking, but work earnestly, carefully and patiently. The Sundays and holidays we should pass as God and the Holy Church require of us; receive the Holy Sacraments frequently and with devotion; listen to sermons and instructions, and succor our neighbor with alms. By observing all these points, we may hope to gain everlasting life, in whatever station of life it may have pleased God to place us on earth.
In regard to alms-giving, all may learn from the life of Saint Homobonus, that it does not impoverish us, but increases our temporal goods. Saint Cyprian says: “If you fear to lose by giving alms, let me advise you to banish all such apprehension. I can assure you of quite the contrary.” The Holy Ghost says: “Whoever gives to the poor shall never want.” (Proverbs 28)
• Saint Homobonus died suddenly, without having been sick, and without having received the Holy Sacraments: but his death was nevertheless happy, as he was prepared for it by a holy life. To die suddenly, without receiving the holy Sacraments, is not in itself an unhappy death, just as to die after receiving the Holy Sacraments, is not always a happy death. Many have a long sickness before their end, and therefore have time enough to prepare themselves and to receive the Sacraments; and yet they may go to eternal destruction, because they do not receive them worthily, or become guilty of sin after having received them. Those who die suddenly, if they are in the grace of God die happily, even if they do not receive the Sacraments. You do well to pray daily, with the Church, to be delivered from a sudden death. But as you do not know the decrees of the Almighty, endeavor to maintain yourself continually in the grace of God. Retain nothing on your conscience which may give you fear in your last hour. Guard yourself against sin, which alone can make your death unhappy. And if, through weakness or wickedness you have been guilty of great sin, endeavor immediately to atone for it that you may again be admitted to the friendship of the Almighty, and not be taken away in your sin by a sudden death. The delay of penance, under the pretext that there is yet time enough, that God will receive you graciously, even at the last, and that He has promised to pardon sinners at whatever hour they return to Him, has made many miserable for all eternity. “It is true that God has promised to forgive you if you repent and do penance; but He has not promised you tomorrow if you delay your repentance. You are right in saying: If I do penance, God will pardon. I cannot deny that the Almighty has promised pardon to all repentant sinners, but in the book of the Prophet wherein you read that God promises pardon to the repentant sinner, you will not find that He promises long life/’ Thus writes Saint Augustine. Therefore, act according to my instructions. Do penance immediately after committing sin; endeavor to remain in the grace of God, and then leave to Him the hour and the manner of your death. He will certainly allow nothing to happen to you which is not for the welfare of you immortal soul.
- Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Homobonus, Confessor”. , 1876.CatholicSaints.Info. 23 May 2018. Web. 13 November 2019. <https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-homobonus-confessor/>
Some of the Latin baptismal names that ancient Christian parents bestowed on their children were quaint but devout: like “Quodvultdeus,” which means “whatever God wants”; or “Deusdedit,” “God’s gift”; or “Desideratus,” “wanted”.
In the 12th century, there lived in Cremona, Italy, a prosperous merchant who took his newborn son to church and announced to the priest that he wanted him baptized “Homobonus”. The word means “good man”. The parent had chosen the child’s baptismal name with care, and he was determined to teach his son how to live up to its implications.
He fulfilled his plan well. Homobonus grew up well-instructed in the skills of merchandising, but at the same time a lover of honesty, virtue and self-respect. He came to appreciate that his calling as a businessman was a divine calling. God wanted him to be just where He had put him; it was in the marketplace that he would work out his salvation.
Providentially, Homobonus of Cremona found a wife who possessed the same convictions. Others of their mercantile class might trip over the occupational hazards of ambition, dissipation and vain display, but not Mr. and Mrs. H. Their simple life style gave them all the more means and incentive to reach out to the less fortunate. God appreciated this saintly couple’s works of mercy, and even set His stamp of approval on them by working miracles in favor of those whom they assisted; so the author of St. Homobonus’s biography assured us.
Among the worthy merchant’s devotional habits was to go daily to the church of St. Giles to “report” to God on his activities. It was during one of these visits that he came to the end of his life. On November 13,1197, he was attending Mass. At the Gloria he stretched out his arms in the shape of a cross and fell forward into a prostration. Those beside him thought this was just an act of personal penance. But when he failed to stand for the Gospel, they went over to him and found that he had died.
Pope Innocent III canonized this holy Cremonian only two years after his death. No reason to wait longer. Homobonus had obviously lived up to his name. Like Charlie Brown (if we may make such a comparison), he was a GOOD MAN.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those who survive us could say of us in all sincerity, “He was a good man,” or “She was a good woman.” There could be no higher human praise. It would mean that we had, as St. Paul says, shown ourselves “children of God beyond reproach… like the stars in the sky.” It would mean that we had conscientiously lived up to the particular task God assigned to us and not wasted his graces. This would mean that we had fully understood why we were created: to know God and love Him and serve Him in this world so as to be happy with Him forever in heaven.
–Father Robert F. McNamara
SOURCE : https://www.kateriirondequoit.org/resources/saints-alive/harvey-hyacintha/st-homobonus/
If you know your Latin, you’ll know that St. Homobonus’ name literally means “good man.” What a fitting name for a great, and underappreciated, saint! St. Homobonus is a special model for the missionary entrepreneur: He was in many ways an average businessman facing business decisions, exhaustions, and commitments comparable to the ones we face today. Yet, within the ordinariness of his career, St. Homobonus lived the extraordinariness of the Gospel message, building up a culture of hospitality and charity fueled by a commitment to Church teaching and the sacraments.
St. Homobonus lived in Cremona, Italy in the 12th century. He was a cloth merchant who inherited some money from his father, yet always worked extremely hard at his trade. St. Homobonus’ effectiveness as a missionary lies in how he smoothly integrated a seemingly average life as a lay person and married man with an extraordinary witness of service to others. Just as efficiently as he created wealth, St. Homobonus gave a significant part of his profits away to the poor.
The , compiled from original sources, records the following description of St. Homobonus’ character, which is worth reading in length:
His business he looked upon as an employment given him by God, and he pursued it with diligence upon the motive of obedience to the divine law, and of justice to himself, his family, and the commonwealth, of which he thus approved himself a useful member. If a tradesman’s books be not well kept, if there be not order and regularity in the whole conduct of his business, if he do not give his mind seriously to it, with assiduous attendance, he neglects an essential duty, and is unworthy to bear the name of a Christian. St. Homobonus is a saint by acquitting himself diligently, upon perfect motives of virtue and religion, of all the obligations of his profession.
In other words, St. Homobonus loved God through his job! He loved God and he loved his neighbor through his work as a cloth merchant. St. Homobonus simply responded with charity to each person and situation he encountered in his life in Cremona, and this made him an extraordinary channel of God’s grace. In this way, he became a missionary and saint without leaving his own neighborhood.
Amazingly, St. Homobonus’ witness to his neighbors was so powerful that he was canonized barely a year after he died. A priest and a group of pilgrims, with testimonies of miracles attributed to St. Homobonus’ intercession, brought his cause to Pope Innocent III.
Besides being a missionary through his witness to his neighbors, St. Homobonus was also an entrepreneur, successfully creating wealth and running an effective trade business. St. Homobonus did not have the advantage of being of a royal family; in fact, according to St. John Paul II, he was the only layman canonized during the Middle Ages who wasn’t from a noble or royal family. St. Homobonus was a man of the people with ordinary means, and he used his natural intelligence and the resources at his disposal to live out a business vocation: creating goods and services there was a genuine need for.
Because of his successful integration of the call to business and Christian virtue, St. Homobonus is now the patron of business men and women, practically the patron saint of entrepreneurs! Paul Voss of Legatus writes of how St. Homobonus gives a special witness to entrepreneurship, “As St. Homobonus demonstrated over 800 years ago, the free market, coupled with individual virtue, is a potent mix capable of producing both individual holiness and promoting the common good and collective well-being.”
St. Homobonus’ influence on those around him is evidenced by how quickly his cause for canonization was pushed forward. St. Homobonus seems to fit well Robert Greenleaf’s description of a servant-leader. In particular, St. Homobonus’ active decision to love and show hospitality to those around him shows his initiative, driving home a key leadership insight: Great things often start with the initiative of a single person. According to Greenleaf:
A leader ventures to say: ‘I will go; come with me!’ A leader initiates, provides the ideas and the structure, and takes the risk of failure along with the chance of success… Paul Goodman, speaking through a character in Making Do, has said, ‘If there is no community for you, young man… make it yourself.’
St. Homobonus took the initiative in humble ways to lead his community to greatness, making it more hospitable, more loving, and more oriented to God. By his initiative and the ideas of generosity he exemplified, he invited others to follow him in the path of sanctity, modeling servant-leadership and inspiring his neighbors.
St. Homobonus makes real the call of ordinary people, not just the clergy, to extraordinary sanctity. “Although distant in time, St. Homobonus does in fact figure as a saint for the Church and society of our time,” St. John Paul II wrote in 1997, “…because of the exemplary way this faithful layman worked and lived Gospel perfection.”
One area worth paying special attention to in St. Homobonus’ life was his daily reception of the Eucharist. So consistent was this a part of his life, that St. Homobonus actually died while at Mass, looking up at the Crucifix. St. Homobonus reminds us that the sacraments are accessible for all Catholics, and sanctity is for all, not just for some. It is for cloth merchants as well as Popes, the cloistered as well as kings. Regardless of our state in life, to prioritize God in our lives demands frequent reception of the sacraments; the Eucharist empowers us to live out our commitments with more integration.
As we seek to be missionary entrepreneurs, we can also learn from how St. Homobonus’ sanctity stemmed from the hospitality and generosity he exuded. St. John Paul II called him an “artisan and apostle of charity,” saying:
He made his home a place of welcome. He personally attended to the burial of the abandoned dead. He opened his heart and his purse to every category of needy person. He did his utmost to settle the controversies which broke out between factions and families in the city. He entirely devoted himself to the practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and, at the same time, he safeguarded the integrity of the Catholic faith faced with heretical infiltrations, with the same fervor with which he participated daily in the Eucharist and devoted himself to prayer.
Again we see St. Homobonus’ commitment to daily prayer and to the sacraments. But we also see how he lived out the Faith in his life by welcoming others, treating his neighbors with generosity, and empowering them when they struggled financially, physically, or emotionally.
In particular, St. Homobonus’ living out of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy reminds us that we are called to go out on the streets and even into the cemeteries, finding Christ there! As men and women striving to be missionary entrepreneurs, it would be wise to ask ourselves: Is there a particular spiritual or corporal work of mercy that I can more intentionally live out on a weekly basis? Where can I cultivate a culture of hospitality in my life?
All business persons would do well to call upon the powerful intercession of St. Homobonus. This generous man is a positive reminder of the faith lived out in the little things: in cloth, the workplace, and the conversations with those around us. Especially in the sacraments and in union with Him in prayer, God is ready to pour out the grace we need to be saints in our walk of life, however ordinary that may be.
St. Homobonus, pray for us.
Prayer to St. Homobonus (Patron of Business)
Beloved and Charitable St. Homobonus
Your Honesty and Good Will
served your community and
the Lord well.
Help me follow your example
and not give in to
TemptaƟons of Greed and
Easy Shortcuts that wound
I ask for guidance in my
work, so that I may
prosper by choosing
virtue over avarice.
MESSAGGIO DI GIOVANNI PAOLO II
A S.E. MONS. GIULIO NICOLINI, VESCOVO DI CREMONA,
NELL'VIII CENTENARIO DELLA MORTE DI SANT'OMOBONO
Al Venerato Fratello
Vescovo di Cremona
1. Il 13 novembre 1197 Omobono Tucenghi, commerciante di stoffe in Cremona, chiudeva la sua esistenza terrena contemplando il Crocifisso, mentre partecipava, come era solito fare ogni giorno, alla Santa Messa nella chiesa della sua parrocchia cittadina di sant'Egidio.
Poco più di un anno dopo, il 12 gennaio 1199, il mio Predecessore Innocenzo III lo iscriveva nel catalogo dei Santi, aderendo alla petizione che il Vescovo Sicardo gli aveva rivolto, recandosi pellegrino a Roma con il parroco Osberto e un gruppo di cittadini, dopo aver valutato le numerose testimonianze anche scritte dei prodigi attribuiti all'intercessione di Omobono.
Ad otto secoli di distanza, la figura di sant'Omobono continua ad essere costantemente viva nella memoria e nel cuore della Chiesa e della città di Cremona, che lo venerano quale loro Patrono. Egli è il primo ed unico fedele laico, non appartenente alla nobiltà o a famiglie reali o principesche, canonizzato nel Medioevo (cfr A. Vauchez, I laici nel Medioevo, Milano 1989, p. 84; La santità nel Medioevo, Bologna 1989, p.340). "Padre dei poveri", "consolatore degli afflitti", "assiduo nelle continue preghiere", "uomo di pace e pacificatore", "uomo buono di nome e di fatto", questo Santo, secondo l'espressione usata dal Papa Innocenzo III nella bolla di canonizzazione Quia pietas, è tuttora albero piantato lungo corsi d'acqua che dà frutto nel nostro tempo.
2. Perciò ho appreso con vivo compiacimento che Ella, venerato Fratello, ha stabilito di dedicare alla sua memoria il percorso di tempo che va dal 13 novembre 1997 al 12 gennaio 1999, denominandolo «Anno di sant'Omobono», da celebrarsi con peculiari iniziative spirituali, pastorali e culturali, articolate nel cammino di preparazione al Grande Giubileo dell'Anno Duemila e nello spirito di comunione creato dal Sinodo che la Diocesi ha recentemente celebrato.
Pur così lontano nel tempo, Omobono ci appare, infatti, un Santo per la Chiesa e la società del nostro tempo. Non soltanto perché la santità è una sola, ma per le caratteristiche della vita e delle opere con cui questo fedele laico ha vissuto la perfezione evangelica. Esse trovano singolari riscontri con le esigenze del presente, e conferiscono alla ricorrenza giubilare un senso profondo di "contemporaneità".
3. Unanimi le testimonianze dell'epoca definiscono Omobono "pater pauperum", padre dei poveri. E' la definizione che, rimasta nella storia di Cremona, riassume in un certo modo le dimensioni dell'alta spiritualità e della straordinaria avventura del mercante. Dal momento della sua conversione alla radicalità del Vangelo, Omobono diventa artefice e apostolo di carità. Trasforma la sua casa in casa di accoglienza. Si dedica alla sepoltura dei defunti abbandonati. Apre il cuore e la borsa ad ogni categoria di bisognosi. Si impegna fortemente nel dirimere controversie, che nella città lacerano fazioni e famiglie. Esercita a piene mani le opere di misericordia spirituale e corporale e, nello stesso tempo, protegge l'integrità della fede cattolica in presenza di infiltrazioni eretiche, con il medesimo fervore con cui partecipa quotidianamente all'Eucaristia e si dedica alla preghiera.
Percorrendo la strada delle Beatitudini evangeliche, nell'epoca comunale in cui denaro e mercato tendono a costituire il centro della vita cittadina, Omobono coniuga giustizia e carità e fa dell'elemosina il segno di condivisione, con la spontaneità con cui dalla assidua contemplazione del Crocifisso impara a testimoniare il valore della vita come dono.
4. Fedele a queste scelte evangeliche, egli affronta e supera ostacoli che gli provengono sia dall'ambiente familiare, poiché la moglie non condivide le sue scelte, sia da quello parrocchiale, che considera con un certo sospetto la sua austerità, e dal settore stesso del lavoro, per la concorrenza e la mala fede di alcuni, che cercano di ingannare l'onesto mercante.
Emerge così l'immagine di Omobono lavoratore, che vende e compra stoffe e, mentre vive le dinamiche di un mercato che prende la via di città italiane e europee, conferisce dignità spirituale al suo lavoro: quella spiritualità che è l'impronta di tutta la sua operosità.
Nella sua esperienza non v'è soluzione di continuità tra le varie dimensioni. In ognuna egli trova il "luogo" in cui esplicare la tensione alla santità: nel nucleo familiare, come sposo e padre esemplare; nella comunità parrocchiale, come fedele che vive la liturgia ed è assiduo alla catechesi, profondamente legato al ministero del sacerdote; nel contesto della città, in cui effonde il fascino della bontà e della pace.
5. Una vita tanto ricca di meriti non poteva che lasciare un solco profondo nella memoria. E', infatti, ammirevole la perseveranza d'affetto e di culto che Cremona ha conservato nei confronti di questo suo singolare esponente, scaturito proprio dal ceto popolare.
E' significativo che, nel 1592, la chiesa Cattedrale sia stata dedicata a lui insieme a Santa Maria Assunta. E non è meno significativo che a sceglierlo patrono della città, nel 1643, siano stati i membri del Consiglio della Città stessa, tra l'esultanza, "l'immensa allegrezza", le "lagrime di devozione" del popolo. Un Santo laico, eletto come patrono dai laici stessi.
Né è motivo di meraviglia che il culto di sant'Omobono si sia diffuso in molte diocesi italiane ed oltre i confini nazionali. E' Omobono un Santo che parla ai cuori. Ed è bello constatare che i cuori ne sentono l'amabile attrattiva. Lo dimostra l'incessante accorrere alle sue spoglie mortali, soprattutto, ma non solo, nel giorno della sua festa liturgica, e l'intensa devozione che gli riserva la popolazione, memore delle grazie ricevute e fiduciosa nell'intercessione dell'amato "trafficante celeste".
6. Nell'anno giubilare la sua voce, per taluni aspetti essenziali, parla con gli accenti, come osservavo all'inizio, della "contemporaneità".
I tempi non sono più quelli di ottocento anni fa. Alla canonizzazione di Omobono, maturata nel clima e nelle procedure medioevali, non possiamo attribuire il carattere di una "promozione del laicato", nel senso che noi diamo oggi a questo concetto.
E' vero, tuttavia, che proprio in questa luce leggiamo l'avventura spirituale che ha solcato la secolare storia cremonese. Ed in questa luce riscopriamo il messaggio, tuttora originale, dell'insigne Patrono. Egli è pur sempre il fedele laico che, da laico, si è guadagnato il dono della santità.
La sua vicenda assume un valore esemplare come chiamata alla conversione senza restrizioni di alcun genere e, quindi, alla santificazione non riservata ad alcuni, ma proposta a tutti indistintamente.
Il Concilio Vaticano II fa della santità un elemento costitutivo dell'appartenenza alla Chiesa, quando afferma che "tutti i fedeli di qualsiasi stato o grado sono chiamati alla pienezza della vita cristiana e alla perfezione della carità" (Lumen gentium, 40); e rileva che "da questa santità è promosso, anche nella società terrena, un tenore di vita più umano" (Ibid.). Proprio di questo abbiamo bisogno nella situazione di inarrestabile transizione che stiamo vivendo: ne abbiamo bisogno per sviluppare le premesse positive presenti e rispondere alle gravi sfide derivanti dalla profonda crisi di civiltà e di cultura, che investe l'ethos collettivo.
7. La chiamata alla santità comporta e valorizza l'essere e l'operare del laicato, come pure insegna il Concilio ed io stesso ho ribadito nell'Esortazione Apostolica postsinodale Christifideles Laici.
Sulla filigrana di quest'ultimo documento vedo avvicinarsi a noi e, in particolare, all'oggi della Chiesa e della società cremonese, la vicenda esistenziale di sant'Omobono. Per intraprendere una nuova evangelizzazione, infatti, "urge dovunque rifare il tessuto cristiano della società umana. Ma la condizione è che si rifaccia il tessuto cristiano delle stesse Comunità ecclesiali" (Christifideles Laici, n. 34).
I fedeli laici devono sentirsi pienamente coinvolti in questo compito, con i peculiari carismi della "laicità". Le situazioni nuove, sia ecclesiali che sociali, economiche, politiche e culturali, reclamano con una forza del tutto particolare la loro specifica partecipazione (Ibid., n. 3).
8. E' una felice coincidenza che la celebrazione giubilare di questo "Santo della carità" venga ad inserirsi nella conclusione dell'ultimo decennio del nostro secolo, che la Comunità ecclesiale in Italia ha consacrato al programma "Evangelizzazione e testimonianza della carità".
Come scrivevo ancora nella Christifideles Laici, la carità nelle sue varie forme, dall'elemosina alle opere di misericordia, "anima e sostiene un'operosa solidarietà attenta alla totalità dei bisogni dell'essere umano" (n. 41). Essa è e sarà sempre necessaria, da parte dei singoli e delle Comunità. E "si fa più necessaria quanto più le istituzioni, diventando complesse nell'organizzazione e, pretendendo di gestire ogni spazio disponibile, finiscono per essere rovinate dal funzionalismo imperante, dall'esagerata burocrazia, dagli ingiusti interessi privati, dal disimpegno facile e generalizzato" (Ibid.).
La sensibilità di Omobono stimola esemplarmente ad aprirsi all'intero orizzonte della carità nella varietà delle sue espressioni, oltre quelle materiali: carità della cultura, carità politica, carità sociale, in ordine al bene comune. Un esempio tanto eloquente può efficacemente contribuire a rasserenare l'attuale clima politico e sociale, favorendo uno stile di concordia, di reciproca fiducia, di impegno partecipativo.
9. Sono particolarmente lieto che la celebrazione dell'«Anno di sant'Omobono» si estenda a tutto il 1998, secondo anno della fase preparatoria al Grande Giubileo, dedicato specialmente allo Spirito Santo.
La cara figura dell'antico mercante accompagni dal cielo il provvidenziale evento. Invocato con la profonda e tradizionale devozione e con una fede sempre più consapevole, egli ottenga a tutti i battezzati la fedeltà ai doni dello Spirito, ricevuti soprattutto nel sacramento della Confermazione. Ai fedeli laici ottenga una più matura consapevolezza che la loro partecipazione alla vita della Chiesa "è talmente necessaria che senza di essa lo stesso apostolato dei Pastori non può per lo più raggiungere la sua piena efficacia" (Apostolicam actuositatem, 10). A tutti i componenti della Chiesa cremonese ottenga dal Signore l'ardore richiesto ai nuovi evangelizzatori, chiamati nella stagione post-sinodale ad essere veri testimoni di fede, speranza e carità.
Con questi fervidi auspici, memore della mia Visita pastorale a Cremona, nel giugno 1992, e del successivo incontro con quanti sono venuti a Roma in pellegrinaggio, nel novembre dell'anno scorso, a suggello del Sinodo diocesano, imparto di cuore a Lei, venerato Fratello, ai presbiteri, ai diaconi, ai consacrati e alle consacrate, ai fedeli laici, a ogni famiglia, a ogni parrocchia e alla Città tutta un'affettuosa Benedizione Apostolica.
Dal Vaticano, 24 Giugno 1997
IOANNES PAULUS PP. II
© Copyright 1997 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
SOURCE : http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/it/speeches/1997/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19970624_nicolini.html
La chiesa di Sant'Omobono, Catanzaro.
Sant' Omobono di Cremona Laico
Cremona, prima metà secolo XII - 13 novembre 1197
Oltre a essere patrono di Cremona, Omobono Tucenghi è protettore di mercanti, lavoratori tessili e sarti. Egli stesso, infatti, fu commerciante di stoffe stimatissimo in città. Era abile negli affari e ricco. Oltretutto viveva solo con la moglie, senza figli. Ma il denaro - nella sua concezione della ricchezza, vista non fine a se stessa - era per i poveri. La sua azione lo portò ad essere un testimone autorevole in tempi di conflitto tra Comuni e Impero (Cremona era con l'imperatore). Quando morì d'improvviso, il 13 novembre del 1197, durante la Messa, subito si diffuse la fama di santità. Innocenzo III lo elevò agli altari già due anni dopo. Riposa nel duomo di Cremona.
Patronato: Cremona, Mercanti, Lavoratori tessili, Sarti
Martirologio Romano: A Cremona, sant’Omobono, che, negoziante, mosso da carità per i poveri, rifulse nel raccogliere ed educare i ragazzi abbandonati e nel riportare la pace nelle famiglie.
All’alba di un giorno d’autunno, in una chiesa cremonese accade un fatto impressionante. Un cittadino molto popolare e amato, Omobono Tucenghi, è come sempre al suo posto per partecipare alla Messa. Ma a un tratto lo si vede impallidire, afflosciarsi, e chi per primo cerca di soccorrerlo s’accorge che è già morto. D’improvviso, senza un lamento, senza soffrire. La morte serena che ognuno si augura. "E che mastro Omobono si meritava", devono aver aggiunto molti intorno a lui, nella chiesa intitolata a sant’Egidio (qui sotto, la scena rappresentata in un Codice). Omobono Tucenghi, infatti, è un uomo che, senza privilegi di nascita o prestigio di funzioni, ha saputo diventare nella sua città una “forza” solo per le doti personali e l’esempio della sua vita. E’ un mercante di panni e negli affari è abilissimo. Ormai lo circonda un rispetto universale, anche con qualche cenno di compatimento: lui e sua moglie, infatti, non hanno avuto figli. Sono soli. Con tutti quei soldi che il commercio ha portato loro, in quest’epoca di vitalità straordinaria e turbolenta in tante città italiane ormai passate all’autogoverno.
Ma nel pensiero di questi coniugi, e soprattutto nel loro comportamento, c’è come un profumo di Chiesa primitiva: possiamo dire che anch’essi continuamente "depongono ai piedi degli apostoli" denaro guadagnato col commercio, come avveniva nella piccola comunità di Gerusalemme. Non negli scritti e nemmeno in discorsi che nessuno ci ha tramandato, ma con questi gesti precisi e continui Omobono rivela la sua chiara concezione circa il denaro che guadagna: su di esso hanno precisi diritti i poveri. Le monete sono mezzi d’intervento per il soccorso alla miseria.
In tempi di rissa continua nelle città e fra le città (Cremona, nel conflitto tra Comuni e Impero, è schierata dalla parte imperiale) si ricorre alla sua autorità per arginare la violenza. E Omobono è pronto al servizio fraterno anche così: con la parola contribuisce a rendere più vivibile la città, con la parola inerme ma autorevole, perché è lo specchio di una vita grande.
Ecco perché la sua morte, avvenuta nel momento in cui dall’altare s’intonava il Gloria, ha scosso tutta la città. Non solo. Si sparge una voce insistente: mastro Omobono fa miracoli! Cominciano i pellegrinaggi alla sua tomba, il vescovo Sicardo e una rappresentanza cittadina si rivolgono a papa Innocenzo III. E questi canonizza Omobono già il 13 gennaio 1199, a meno di due anni dalla morte. Un santo laico, un santo imprenditore, un commerciante del ramo tessile posto sugli altari già ottocento anni fa. Proclamato patrono cittadino dal Consiglio generale di Cremona nel 1643, sant’Omobono è venerato anche come protettore dei mercanti e dei sarti. Il suo corpo si conserva in una cripta della cattedrale di Cremona.
Autore: Domenico Agasso