Blessed Contardo Ferrini is not a familiar name to me, but Taylor Marshall has written a beautiful account of his choice of prayer after receiving the Blessed Sacrament. His Feast Day is on October 27th.
Contardo was born in 1859. His father was a teacher of mathematics and physics. Mr. Ferrini began very early to teach his little son his own love for study. As a young man, Contardo could speak many languages besides Italian. He did very well in every school and college he went to. His great love for study and for his Catholic faith made his friends nickname him their own “St. Aloysius.” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a young Jesuit saint known for the goodness and generosity of his life.) It was Contardo who first started clubs for college students to help them become good Christians.
When he was twenty-one, he was offered a chance to study at the University of Berlin in Germany. It was hard for him to leave his home in Italy, but he was happy to meet devout Catholics at the university. He wrote down in a little book what he felt the first time he received the sacrament of Reconciliation in a foreign land. It thrilled him to realize that the Catholic Church is really the same everywhere a person goes.
By the next year, Contardo was trying to decide whether he should become a priest or a monk, or whether he should marry. He kept asking himself just what he should do. As it turned out, he took a vow to give himself only to God. He lived that vow as a lay person; he never became a priest or brother. He went on teaching and writing. He tried always to become a more perfect Christian. While enjoying his favorite sport of mountain-climbing, he would think of God, the Creator of all the beauty he saw. People noticed that there was something different about Professor Ferrini. Once when he had passed by with his usual warm smile, someone exclaimed, “That man is a saint!”
Contardo Ferrini died of typhoid fever on October 17, 1902. He was only forty-three years old. He was declared “blessed” by Pope Pius XII in 1947.
What to pray after receiving the Holy Eucharist? (Bl. Contardo Ferrini)
by Taylor Marshall
When we receive the Holy Eucharist, our Lord Jesus Christ remains in us sacramentally for about 15 minutes. What then do we pray after we receive the Holy Eucharist in order to make the most of this precious time?
I like the advice of Blessed Contardo Ferrini (the man whom I think is the Franciscan layman version of the Dominican layman Pier Giorgio Frassati). Ferrini recited the Magnificat when he received the Holy Eucharist since through Holy Communion he became like Mary by bearing the Body of Christ within his own body. By reciting the Magnificat (Mary’s prayerful canticle in Luke 1:46-55), we make ourselves more like Mary. Moreover, we come to appreciate Mary’s intimacy with Christ in the Incarnation and Nativity, but also her intimacy with Christ at the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross.
The easiest way to do this is to carry a prayer card with the Magnificat on it or simply print it out and keep it your hand missal or prayerbook. Eventually, you’ll memorize the prayer.
Blessed Contardo Ferrini, pray for us.
Below is the Magnificat in the traditional English and Latin forms. It is customary to make the sign of the cross when you begin praying it.
Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.
My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm:
he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant,
being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and his seed forever.