Help Wanted! Inquire Within.

The VerbumQUO for today is "suffragia", Latin for "help" or "assistance" and that is what characterized the life and virtues of Saint John of God, the holy confessor who founded the Hospitaliers for the specific purpose of carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      Editor's Note: This series for Lent highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The VerbumQUO for today's feast of Saint John of God is suffragia, the Latin word for "help" or "assistance" and is taken from today's Postcommunion Prayer as well as a form of the word from today's Collect:

      Deus, qui beatum Joannem, tuo amore succesnsum, inter flammas innoxium incedere fecesti, et per eum Ecclesiam tuam nova prole foecundasti : Praesta ipsius suffragantibus meritis : ut igne caritatis tuae vitia nostra curentur, et remedia obis aeterna proveniant.
      O God, who didst cause blessed John, when burning with love of Thee, to walk unscathed through flames, and who by him didst enrich Thy Church with a new religious order : grant through the help of his merits, that our vices may be healed by the fire of Thy love, and that we may receive remedies unto eternal life.

    You'll note the help asked is his intercession for us and Saint John of God was known throughout his life for giving, inflamed with love for God, he exhibited to all, young and old, rich and poor, the beatitudes Christ had taught. St. John was the perfect example of perfecting the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, giving help or assistance to anyone in need. He gave of himself no matter the circumstances, often putting his own life in jeopardy for the sake of others. In doing so, he proved that love Jesus expresses in today's Gospel from Matthew 22: 34-46:

      In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Accesserunt ad Jesum pharisaei : et interrogavit eum unus ex eis legis doctor, tentans eum : 'Magister, quod est mandatum magnum inlege?' Ait illi Jesus : 'Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et in tota anima tua et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum, et primum mandatum. Secundum autem simile est huic. Diliges proximum tuum, sicut teipsum. In his pendet, et prophetae.' Congregatis autem Pharisaeis, interrogavit eos Jesus, dicens : 'Quid vobis videtur de Christo? Cujus filius est?' Dicunt ei : 'David.' Ait illis : 'Quomodo ergo David in spiritu vocat eum Dominum, dicens: Dixit Dominus Domino meo : sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum? Si ergo David vocat eum Dominum, quomodo filius ejus est?' Et nemo poterat ei respondere verbum : neque ausus fuit quisquam ex illa die eum amplius interrogare.
      At that time the Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him : 'Master, which is the great commandment of the law?' Jesus said to him: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this : Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.' And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying : 'What think you of Christ ; whose Son is He?' They say to Him : 'David's.' He saith to them: 'How then doth David, in spirit, call Him Lord; saying: The Lord said to my Lord : Sit on My right hand until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?' And no man was able to answer Him a word; neither durst any man, from that day forth, ask Him any more questions.

    St. John truly followed the great commandment of the law, helping his neighbor because of his undying love for God. The Postcommunion repeats the message of the Collect and emphasizes that the help we ask comes in harmony with putting our love for God first and foremost with the reception of Holy Communion and, thus enabled and strengthened, we can go forth to emulate this holy religious founder of the Hospitaliers of St. John of God in practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy for the sake of others' bodies, minds and souls.

      Protegat nos, Domine, cum tui perceptione sacramentibeatus Joannae, pro nobis intercedendo: ut, et conversationis ejus experiamur insignia, et intercessionis percipiamus suffragia.
      May the reception of Thy sacrament, and the intercession of blessed John, protect us, O Lord; that we may put into practice the virtues of his life, and receive the help of his intercession.

    From the Latin suffragium we get the English "suffrage" which in its first definition might very well surprise you and show why the Church chose that Latin word. Webster's defines "suffrage" thusly:

    "suffrage" - noun "[From Latin suffragium.] 1. An intercessory prayer' a supplication. 2. A vote given in deciding a controversial question, or in the choice of a person for an office or trust; 3. The right of voting in political matters, or the exercise of such right; the franchise." From this same word we get "suffragan": "In full, suffragan bishop. A bishop who serves as an assistant to the bishop of a diocese. - adj. 1. Subject or subordinate to (a metropolitian or a metropolitan see); of a diocesan bishop or his diocese. 2. Assisting a diocesan bishop; - of a class of bishop."

    I'll bet many didn't realize the definition of suffrage or suffragan because we have been programmed to think of suffragette or suffragist as one fighting for women's rights, but that term was applied only in recent times. Therefore we can see how Holy Mother Church employed this word since St. John was not a bishop, but a humble confessor priest who, I'm sure gave help or assistance to the diocesan bishop when bishops were truly dedicated to shepherding souls, unlike today in the conciliar church. We can see the definition of supplication, intercessory prayer was the intention in the Collect and Postcommunion as we call upon this holy man to help us in our struggle on this earth and help us to emulate his virtues in loving our neighbor through the meritorious Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. For a description of these, I refer you to Gabriel Garnica recent series on it with Corporal Works of Mercy and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and the wonderful title of the latter: "The Outward Expression of Interior Charity" for it was St. John's outward expression that showed to all what was truly in his heart.

    Many might ask why there are not more St. Johns of God today and the Benedictine Abbot Dom Gueranger answers this in his fourth volume of The Liturgical Year:

    "The charity which the world has set up, which it calls philanthropy, and which it exercises not in the name of God, but solely for the sake of man, is a mere delusion; it is incapable of producing love bteween those who give and those who receive, and its results must necessarily be unsatisfactory. There is but one tie which can make men love one another: that tie is God, Who created them all, and commands them all to be one in Him. To serve mankind for its own sake, is to make a god of it; and even viewing the workings of the two systems in this single point of view - the relief they afford to temporal suffering - what comparison is there between mere philanthropy, and that supernatural charity of the humble disciples of Christ, Who make Him the very motive and end of all they do for their afflicted brethren? The saint we honor today, was called John of God, because the name of God was ever on his lips. His heroic acts of charity had no other motive than that of pleasing God; God alone was the inspirer of the tender love he had for his suffering fellow-creatures. Let us imitate his example, for our Lord assures us that He considers as done to Himself whatsoever we do even for the least of his disciples."

    While there are many today who strive to follow the example of St. John of God and some still within his Order who seek to remain ever faithful to their rule, the sad fact is that too many have subscribed to the "Peace and Justice" humanitarian approach of Modern Rome which strips not only the recipient, but the giver of grace in extending mercy and assistance in all aspects to God's creatures, not out of pity, but out of love - true love for God exemplified in our actions. While we storm Heaven in supplication, let us also put out the sign through our good works to others that more are needed. It is really a simple sign that prayerfully St. John of God will intercede for us all and answer the call in the depths of our hearts: Help Wanted! Inquire Within.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

VerbumQUO for the Feast of St. John of God