Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Wasting Not a Moment: Blessed Pope Innocent V, O.P.

XOT351179 Pope Innocent V (fresco) by Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro) (c.1387-1455); Museo di San Marco dell'Angelico, Florence, Italy; (add. info.: (c.1225-1276) Pope from January to June 1276; member of the Dominican order); Italian, out of copyright

Pope Innocent V (fresco) by Fra Angelico, Fra (Guido di Pietro)

At the age of ten, Peter had already left his native mountains of Tarentaise and soon after he received the habit of the Order in Paris from the hands of Bl. Jordan of Saxony.  Close to the novitiate was the “little school,” where the youngest novices learnt the rules of grammar and rhetoric and the elements of science.  There he got on well with his studies, became a student of St. Albert the Great, and in time a himself became a learned professor and then Provincial.  The distinctive features of his government were his high idea of the end of the religious state – perfection – and his gentleness in the treatment of subjects and in the management of affairs.  He employed his leisure time in writing theological works useful for the apostolic ministry, such as his “Alphabet of the Art of Preaching.”

From the life of the cloister, he was called by Divine Providence first to be Archbishop of Lyons and to assist in the work of the General Council, then to be made a member of the Sacred College by Bl. Gregory X.  In January of 1276, Pope Gregory X died.  At the conclave, Peter received every vote of the cardinals, except his own.  With a sad heart, he ascended to the Chair of St. Peter as Pope Innocent V.

His pontificate was to be promising for a harassed people, but was ultimately only a short five months long.  Nonetheless, during those five months, with the zeal of the early apostles, he found means to promote regular discipline in his Order, to organize a crusade in Spain, to reconcile several cities at variance with each other and some princes with the Holy See, thus forming a great alliance of Catholic forces to rescue the holy places from the infidels.  Had his pontificate continued, no doubt Bl. Innocent V would have done a great deal more good for the Church, but as it was, he opened doors and paved the way for his successors.  Untouched by honors and accolades, death came for Pope Innocent V in 1276 and found him exactly what he had been for more than forty years: a simple, humble friar.

Prayer: “O immeasurable greatness of the Divine Providence Whose will nothing can frustrate!  Who would not admire the depth of your designs and the infinite resources of your wisdom” (Bl. Innocent V).

Practice: Watch carefully over the use of your time.

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