Peter Damian (Feast Day: February 21) lived from 1007-1072 in Italy. He was a monk and cardinal in the Church. He worked to reform the errors he saw in the Church including the buying of church offices (simony) and selling Sacraments. He was a reformer in a time of great corruption, and his personal spirituality was very ascetic. It was so strict that his health suffered, and he was forced to moderate his practices of fasting and prayer. Peter Damian had such a reputation for holiness that the poet Dante placed him in the highest circle of Paradiso in his Divine Comedy. He lived a life of humility, study, and prayer, and because of the importance of his writings, is considered one of the Doctors of the Church.
“Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips.” — St. Peter Damian
Questions for Reflection:
In your own spiritual life, how have you approached traditional disciplines like fasting? How has the virtue of spiritual discipline played out in your life? Has creating a routine of spiritual practices been helpful to you? How do you maintain an attitude of joy in your spiritual practice, so that your prayer does not become only an obligation to check off the to do list?