On the first of November every year we celebrate the feast of all those who enjoy the glory of Christ in heaven. Among them, are the saints who died as the faithful pastors of the Son our Lord Jesus Christ in His Church on earth. And one such very eminent pastor saint is St. Charles Borromeo whose feast we celebrate on the 4th of November. Like the other pastor saints, he also intercedes for all those of us who read, meditate and seek to follow his teaching for the faithful of the Church.
St. Charles’ pastoral teaching for the pastoral clergy, especially for those who are morally weak, is very helpful in the presently scandal ridden condition of the clerical society the world over. Firstly, he tells us that in order to be truly faithful to his priestly celibacy, the priest should ‘fast and pray’ and ‘avoid evil company and harmful and dangerous friendships.’ Secondly, to pray the divine office and celebrate the Holy Mass in a salutary manner, he should make a sustained effort ‘to complete his thoughts’ and to ‘fix his attention’ on God and on His saving work for our redemption from sin and death. Thirdly, to fulfil his duty of preaching and teaching, he should ensure that ‘his life and conduct are sermons in themselves’ and ‘not give people cause to purse their lips and shake their heads’ during their sermons ‘since they have heard you before, preaching one thing, then seen you doing the exact opposite.’ Fourthly, in ‘your task of care of souls, do not neglect your own.’
Finally, if you want the ‘basilica to be spotless’ then ‘do not defile your own soul with the filth of sin’ since ‘God desires that your soul be not plunged in dark- ness,’ and since ‘God wants to come into your souls as He promised when He said: “I will live in them and move among them.”’ For Further spiritual direction, the priest may pray to him for all salutary guidance and divine Providence.