Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless stated otherwise.
Feast Day 26 November.
Saint Sylvester receives Holy Communion from The Hand of Our Lady
Artist: Claudio Ridolfi.
Illustration: VULTUS CHRISTI
Saint Sylvester was born of noble parentage at Osimo, in The Marches of Ancona, Italy. Owing to his rare merit, The Canons of the Cathedral of Osimo admitted him to share their dignity. When present, one day, at the funeral of an illustrious man, a relative of his, he was struck by the hideous appearance of the body of a man who had been so handsome, and exclaimed: "I am, today, what he was, and one day I shall be what he is" (Collect).
He immediately gave up everything (Gospel) and retired into a desert, where he devoted himself to Penance and Meditation (Introit). "Later, he built at Monte Fano," says The Roman Breviary, "a Church in honour of The Holy Father, Benedict, who advised him in a vision to Found a Religious Order, whose Rule and Habit he described to him. It was The Order of The Sylvestrines."
This Branch of The Benedictine Order spread in a short time and already numbered twenty-five Houses in Italy when its Founder died in 1267, at the age of ninety.
Mass: Os justi. Of Abbots.
Commemoration: Saint Peter of Alexandria.
The following Text is from VULTUS CHRISTI
Communion from The Hands of Our Lady.
The most famous Marian prodigy in his life took place when, of a night, The Blessed Virgin appeared to him in a dream and said, “Silvester, dost thou desire to receive The Body of my Son ?”
With trepidation, he answered, “My heart is ready, O Lady; let it be done unto me according to thy word.”
What I find most extraordinary is that Saint Silvester, being a Monk already steeped in The Word of God through the familiar repetition of it in The Sacred Liturgy, answered Our Blessed Lady in two phrases already held and pondered within her Immaculate Heart.
The first phrase, taken from Psalm 107:2 — Paratum cor meum Deus paratum cor meum — “My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready” is the perfect act of preparation for Holy Communion.
The second phrase is Our Blessed Lady’s own acquiescence to The Mystery of The Incarnation, as recorded in Luke 1:30 — Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum — “Be it done to me according to thy word”. Receiving her very own words from the lips of her servant Silvester, The Mother of God gave him Holy Communion.
Claudio Ridolfi painted the episode in 1632.