Saint Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
for January 7
Saint Raymond of Peñafort was born to Aragonian nobility in Spain and was well educated. He taught philosophy and received doctoral degrees in both canon law and civil law. At the age of 41, he joined the Dominicans. He was then summoned to Rome to work for Pope Gregory IX. One of Raymond's tasks was to collect all of the decrees from popes and councils that had been made in the previous 80 years. He gathered these materials and created five books called the "Decretals." Raymond was selected as the archbishop of Tarragona at the age of 60. He did not feel that he was deserving of the honor and praise that the position entailed, and after two years sickness allowed him to resign. He was soon elected to a new leadership role by his fellow Dominicans--head of the entire order. Raymond worked hard in his new position. He walked far and wide to visit all of his fellow Dominicans, reorganized their constitutions, and established a new rule that allowed the master general to step down. When the new constitutions were accepted, Raymond stepped down as head of the order. He worked diligently over the next 35 years preaching against heresies and striving for the conversion of the Moors in Spain. It was through his persuasion that Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote "Against the Gentiles." Saint Raymond Peñafort lived to the astounding age of 100 years old. He was canonized in 1601 and is the patron saint of lawyers, barristers, canonists, and medical record librarians.
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Saint Raymond Peñafort did not feel deserving of the honor and praise that came with his leadership positions, but he worked hard to to a good job because he knew that through these positions God was calling him to serve others. Do you accept positions of leadership, or even small tasks, that you may not want because you know that your skills will benefit others? Ask God to help you accept and do your best at any leadership role or task that he is calling you to.
Dear Jesus, help me to exercise true Christian leadership. Assist me in making my life one that reflects your values and inspires others to follow you. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)