Saint Charles Borromeo was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. He was born in 1537 of one of the oldest, noblest, and wealthiest families of Lombardy, being the second son of Count Borrormeo. From his earliest years the little Charles was so noted for the gravity and sanctity of his character, that his uncle, Pope Pius, created him cardinal-archbishop of Milan at the age of twenty-three. There the young prelate’s life (as even a non-Catholic writer of note attests) presented a picture of active charity and self-denying humility, only to be equalled by those of the primitive apostles and teachers of Christianity. When the plague ravaged Milan, not satisfied with tending the sick in person, he offered himself solemnly to God as a sacrifice for his people. God did not demand that precious life; but the plague ceased miraculously. Saint Charles died on November 4, 1584, breathing out in rapture the words “Ecce venio!” He was the intimate friend of Saint Philip Neri, and the patron of Palestrina.
O glorious St. Charles, the father of the clergy, and the perfect model of holy prelates! You are that good pastor, who, like your divine Master, gave up your life for your flock, if not by death, at least by the numerous sacrifices of your painful mission. Your sanctified life on earth was a spur to the most fervent, your exemplary penance was a reproach to the slothful, and your untiring zeal was the support of the Church.
O great Prelate, since the glory of God and the salvation of souls are the only objects of solicitude to the blessed in heaven, vouchsafe to intercede for me now, and to offer up for the intention of this novena, those fervent prayers which were so successful while you were on earth.
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You are, O great St. Charles, among all the Saints of God, one in whose intercession I should most confide, because you were chosen by God to promote the interests of religion, by promoting the Christian education of youth. You were, like Jesus Christ himself, always accessible to little ones; for whom you broke the bread of the word of God, and procured for them also the blessings of a Christian Education. To you, then, I have recourse with confidence, beseeching you to obtain for me the grace to profit of the advantages I enjoy, and for which I am so considerably indebted to your zeal. Preserve me by your prayers from the dangers of the world; obtain that my heart may be impressed with a lively horror of sin; a deep sense of my duty as a Christian; a sincere contempt for the opinion and false maxims of the world; an ardent love for God, and that holy fear which is the beginning of wisdom.
Let us pray.
Preserve Your Church, O Lord, under the continual protection of Your glorious Confessor and Bishop, St. Charles, that as he was eminent for the discharge of his pastoral duties, so his prayers may make us zealous in the love of Your holy name: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer of Saint Charles Borromeo
Almighty God, you have generously made known to man the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your Son in the Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and teaches.
Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them. Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain.
Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures. Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me. Amen.
Prayer to St. Charles Borromeo
O St. Charles, you are invoked as
the patron of all those who suffer
with stomach ailments and obesity.
You are also called upon as a helper
for all those attempting to diet and lose weight.
Please intercede for me today
and help me to control
my desires and compulsions,
so that I may fix my appetite
on the glory of heaven.
Prayer for a Happy Death to St. Charles Borromeo
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I, a poor, unhappy sinner, make this solemn declaration before thee, O beloved Angel, who has been given me as a protector by the Divine Majesty:
1. I desire to die in the Faith which the Holy, Roman and Apostolic Church adheres to and defends, in which all the Saints of the New Testament have died. I pray thee, provide that I may not depart out of this life before the Holy Sacraments of that Church have been administered to me.
2. I pray that I may depart from this life under thy holy protection and guidance, and I beseech thee, therefore, to assist me at the hour of my death and to propitiate the Eternal judge, whose Sacred Heart was inflamed with most ardent love for sinners upon the Cross.
3. With my whole heart I long to be made a partaker of the merits of Jesus Christ and His holy Mother Mary, thine exalted Queen, and I pray thee, through the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross, to mitigate the agonies of my death and to move the Queen of Heaven to cast her loving glance upon me, a poor sinner, in that dreadful hour, for my sweetest consolation.
O my dearest Guardian Angel! Let my soul be placed in thy charge, and when it has gone forth from the prison of this body, do thou deliver it into the hands of its Creator and Redeemer, that with thee and all the Saints, it may gaze upon Him in the bliss of Heaven, love Him perfectly and find its blessedness in Him throughout eternity.
Prayers to Mary by St. Charles Borromeo
O Holy Mother of God, pray for the priests your Son has chosen to serve the church. Help them by your intercession,
to be holy, zealous and chaste. Make them models of virtue in the service of God’s people. Help them to be prayerful in meditations, effective in preaching, and enthusiastic in the daily offering of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Help them to administer the sacraments with joy. Amen.