He was an open-minded and insightful man who lived more in the
future than in the present. But this often carries with it misunderstandings and punishments.
He tasted the tension between obedience and respect for the Pope,
on the one hand, and the fight against those laws that oppsed the greater good on the other. He was sometimes torn between
the heart-braeking pain of an erroneous hierarchical decision and filial obedience. He fought against the papal prohibition
of creating new Religious Orders, and he won that battle. He asked for one reform after another, through his writings and
through continous visits to the Pope and his Curia.
Also, he befriended many of the gratest scientists and thinkers
of his day, some of whom were denounced by the Inquisition, and placed in their hands several of his best seminaians. He did
this in the cases of the scientist Galileo Galilei, the philosopher Tommasi Campanella, and the philologist Gaspar Scioppio.
The Piarist Francesco Michelini, who also denounced before the
Inquisitor of Florence. And Calasanz himself was brought before the Tribunal of the Holy Office when he was an old man. Like
Jesus, he too had to walk beside the Roman Soldiers. He was later removed as Superior General of his Order, and, at the end
of his life, he even had to listen to the decree of suppression of the Order of the Pious Schools.
His attitude toward this mountain of "attacks" which lasted more
than 5 years was as follows,
"While I am alive, I will never lose the desire
of helping the Order with the hope of seeing it secured. I always base my hope in the words of the Prophet who saya, '...be
constant and you will see the help of the Lord upon you'."
"And this is the final gesture that authenticated
his filial acceptance of the ecclesiastical heirarchy. It is narrated by his two secretaries, Fr. Berro and Fr. Caputi, "Two
or three days before his death, he summoned two religious (Berro and Fedele) and asked them, 'By the love I keep for you,
do me a favor. Go to the Vatican and gain an indulgence for me by kissing the foot of the statue of Saint Peter and ask him
on my behalf for a blessing, so that he will ask from the Lord the forgiveness of my sins, and add any other devotions you
want to. Later on, goto Camera Master, Cardinal Cechini, and ask him to obtain from the Pope a plenary indulgence and his
final blessin in articulo mortis, at the moment of death."
The key of such an attitude is given to us in a letter Calasanz
wrote to the Vice-Queen of Cerdena,
"I wish your V.E. to know it is true that all
which the world considers as improper mortifications, generally are great favors from the paternal hand of God. He, who is
the efficient cause of all sufferings, sends them to those whom he loves in this world, thinking of the next life. The one
who knows how to receive them as coming from His infinite wisdom and not from the enemies, - they are particular instruments
of God's will - will be comforted with patience and knowledge of this truth and will gain numerous graces in this life and
the greatest glory in the next."