Saints: August 2007 Archives

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Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16
Psalm 130: 1bcde, 2, 3
Luke 7: 11-17

Walking in the Light of His Face

Today we see Jesus on his way into the town of Naim, accompanied by His disciples. “And there went with Him His disciples, and a great multitude” (Lk 7:11). Those who follow Our Lord and walk with Him are an image of the Church, the body of those who walk “in the light of His face” (Ps 88:15).

Death and Life

“And when He came night to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her” (Lk 7:12). In the dead man the Church sees an image of Augustine before his conversion. In the widowed mother the Church sees an image of the holy mother Monica. In the crowd of mourners, the Church sees an image of those who experience sin and desire to be delivered from it: “those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Benedictus). Saint Luke depicts a striking scene: two crowds, arriving from opposite directions, meet. One is the community of death. The other is the community of life: an image of the Church.

Those Tears of Hers

“And when the Lord saw her, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her, 'Weep not'" (Lk 7:13). Our Lord looked upon Saint Monica just as he looked upon the mother of the man being carried out for burial. Tears were the language of Saint Monica’s prayer. Saint Augustine himself says: “Thou didst listen to her, O Lord, and Thou didst not despise those tears of hers which moistened the earth wherever she prayed” (Benedictus Antiphon).

Dry Confessions

In Chapter 20 of the Holy Rule, Saint Benedict says: “Indeed we must grasp that it is not by using many words that we shall get our prayers answered, but by purity of heart and repentance with tears” (RB 20:3). I am always moved at the number of people, lay people especially, who make their confession with tears. If truly we hate our sins and regret them, it is normal that we should weep in going to confession.

It is easy to become indifferent to our sins, or coldly analytical. We may confess them insofar as we see them, but our confessions become a matter of routine. Our examinations of consciences rarely probe beneath the surface. We come to the sacrament with our pathetic little list of peccadillos. Having grown accustomed to our sins, they no longer fill us with horror. And so we begin to make dry confessions. The so-called dry confession is one of the signs of spiritual lukewarmness. “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot," says the Lord, "I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth” (Ap 3:15).

Joy Comes with the Dawn

Touched by her tears, Jesus told the widow to stop weeping. He did not tell her to stop praying but to stop weeping. He wanted to change the language of her prayer from tears to cries of joy. The psalm says: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the dawn. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness” (Ps 29:5.11).

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La Petite Arabe

The message of the “Little Arab,” Mariam Baouardy, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified cannot but touch our hearts in these days when the Middle East is so much a part of the daily news. Mariam was born in Abbelin, a village of Galilee, on January 5th, 1846. She was plunged into the water of Holy Baptism and chrismated in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church fifteen days after her birth. After an astonishingly adventurous life that took her from Alexandria in Egypt to Marseilles and then Pau in France, and then to Mangalore, India, she was instrumental in founding the Carmel of Bethlehem in the Holy Land where she died on August 26th, 1878.

Humble

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified illustrates the fundamental principle of holiness according to the Gospel: “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt 23:12). In Carmel she was a “sister of the white veil,” that is a religious charged with the monastery’s menial tasks and not bound to the Divine Office in choir. She was often “lifted up by the Spirit” (Ez 43:5) even literally, and shown the glory of the Lord. Though illiterate and ignorant of every worldly sophistication, Blessed Mary could say with the psalmist, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak” (Ps 84:8). What she heard in prayer, she communicated in simplicity of heart.

Listen to Little Mariam

Rather than write about Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, I will allow her to speak for herself. Here are some of her sayings;

Prayers to the Holy Spirit

First, there is her famous little prayer to the Holy Spirit. Today it is known and prayed by people all over the world:

Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary my Mother, look upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me.

Again, to the Holy Spirit:

Source of peace, Light,
come and enlighten me.
I am hungry, come and nourish me.
I am thirsty, come and quench my thirst.
I am blind, come and give me light.
I am poor, come and enrich me.

Devotion to the Holy Spirit

The world and religious communities are seeking novelties in devotions, and they are neglecting true devotion to the Paraclete. That is why there is error and disunion, and why there is no peace or light. They do not invoke light as it should be invoked, and it is this light that gives knowledge of truth. It is neglected even in seminaries . . . .
Every person in the world that will invoke the Holy Spirit and have devotion to Him will not die in error.

Message to Priests

Personally, I have taken this message to heart. As a rule I offer a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit on the first ferial day of each month.

Every priest that preaches this devotion will receive light while he is speaking of it to others. I was told that each priest in the world should be required to say one Mass of the Holy Spirit each month, and all who assist at it will receive very special grace and light.

Saint Rose of Lima

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Roses

Saint Rose of Lima is nearly always depicted in conversation with the Infant Christ. Sometimes she appears to be playing with him. The picture I have been looking at today shows a barefooted Child sitting in what appears to be Rose’s sewing basket and tugging at the rosary beads that she is wearing around her neck. In paintings of Saint Rose there are always roses in abundance: the roses that He offers her, and the roses that she offers him. Rose is also depicted holding the Cross. A lot of things about Saint Rose remind us of Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower: not just the roses, the Infant Christ, and the Cross, but also her youth, her ardour, her stubbornness, her rejection of every compromise.

Friends of the Infant Christ

The place of the Infant Christ in the spiritual experience of the saints would make for a fascinating study. I am thinking of Saint Simeon beaming with happiness at the sight of Him in the temple at Jerusalem and of crusty old Saint Jerome’s tenderness for the Child of the Cave of Bethlehem. I am thinking of Saint Bernard and of Blessed Guerric of Igny, of Saint Gertrude, Saint Mechthilde, and Saint Lutgarde. I am thinking of the Child Jesus sitting on Saint Anthony of Padua’s open book and looking at him as if to say, “Preach me! Preach me!” I am thinking of the Italian Cistercian mystic Veronica Laparelli and of the French Trappist, Dom Vital Léhodey who in the midst of a whirlwind of activities and crushing responsibilities lived in the intimacy of the Divine Child. Even closer to us are Mother Yvonne–Aimée with her Little Jesus, the King of Love, and Caryll Houselander who during World War II wrote a book called The Passion of the Infant Christ.

There are other friends of the Infant Christ too, some of them still living. What do they all have in common? I don’t pretend to have this all figured out but it seems to me that the friends of the Infant Christ share two things: an immense need for love and a need to be taught to let go, a need to learn what Dom Léhodey called le saint abandon, holy abandonment.

A Chat With the Divine Little One

I knew a priest who used to hear the confessions of Yale professors and graduate students at Saint Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven. The church also happens to be the Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. These very intense, frightfully earnest intellectual types would show up in his confessional with all their sins calculated, analyzed, categorized, de–structurized, alphabetized . . . . You get the picture. Father would invariably give these types the same penance. “Go off to the Shrine of the Infant Jesus and have a chat with the Divine Little One.” What does a professor or a graduate student up to his ears in a doctoral dissertation have to say to a toddler, even if the toddler is the Eternal Logos? Nothing. The abandonment to love begins where every learned discourse gives way to silence.

Dominus tecum, virorum fortissime

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The Lord Is With Thee

Today’s First Lesson gives us the Angel’s greeting to Gideon. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘The Lord is with thee, O most valiant of men” (Jgs 6:12). The Archangel Gabriel greeted the Virgin of Nazareth with similar words: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Lk 1:28). Now that “the fullness of time has come” (Gal 4:4), that greeting from heaven has passed into the liturgy of the Church on earth.

At the beginning of Holy Mass and at key moments within the celebration, the priest greets the people, saying, Dominus vobiscum, “The Lord be with you.” He refers to the presence of the Lord in the midst of the Church. The phrase can be understood either as a wish, May the Lord be with you, or as a declaration, The Lord is with you.

When the Angel says to Gideon, “The Lord is with thee, valiant warrior,” he is inviting him to take heart, trusting in the unfailing presence of the Lord. Thus do we hear Gideon say at the end of the mysterious encounter, “I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face” (Jgs 3:22). “And the Lord said to him: ‘Peace be with thee, fear not, thou shalt not die’” (Jgs 3:23).

Presence of Christ

How are we to understand the Dominus vobiscum of the Mass? It is a solemn and joyful affirmation of the presence of the Lord in the midst of the assembly. By His grace Christ is present and living in each baptized person for He is the Vine and we are the branches (Jn 15:5). According to Our Lord’s promise He is present also in the midst of those who come together in His Name. “Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20).

The Voice of Thy Salutation

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A thrill of jubilation should pass through the church every time the greeting of the priest, ancient and ever new, reaches the ears of the faithful. Recall what happened when the Virgin Mary greeted her cousin Elizabeth: “And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Lk 1:41). At what precise moment did this infilling take place? Elizabeth says, “Behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears” (Lk 1:44).

Chant

The musical tradition of the Roman Church has clothed this greeting in a little melody of two notes (sol and la) that is as sublime as it is simple. Dominus vobiscum. Only at the dialogue that precedes the Preface of the Mass does the greeting assume a more ample and solemn musical treatment, and this is to signify that at that very moment the priest and people are poised to enter into the Holy of Holies of the Mass.

Gesture

In singing these words, the priest extends his arms towards the assembly. He opens his hands as if to embrace all present and draw them into one single prayer to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. This particular gesture is reserved to bishops and priests. Though deacons are allowed to say, “The Lord be with you,” they do so with folded hands. It belongs to the bishop and to the priest to impart the grace of the Lord’s presence to the faithful, and to take them up with him into the prayer of Christ to the Father.

Kings in the Calendar

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Collect

Grant unto your Church,
we beseech you, Almighty God;
that as she had a zealous champion in blessed Stephen
while he reigned upon earth,
so may she deserve to have him as a glorious protector in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Saint Stephen of Hungary and Others

You may have noticed that the calendar in July and August is marked by the memory of no less than three earthly sovereigns, kings! On July 13th we remembered Saint Henry, Emperor and patron of Benedictine Oblates. Today, August 16th, we remember Saint Stephen, King of Hungary. We will remember Saint Louis, King of France on August 25th and on September 28th we will remember Saint Wenceslaus. The procession of holy royalty goes on. There is also the Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and King of Hungary. Emperor Karl died at the age of thirty-four on April 1st, 1922, praying, “My Jesus! Thy will be done! Jesus!”

With all this royalty in her calendar, is Mother Church hopelessly anachronistic? Some would want to make a clean sweep of the kings and queens in the Catholic calendar. Others judge their presence in the liturgy unacceptable, un-American, an exercise in nostalgia and a concession to diehard right-wing monarchists.

Sons and Fathers of a Catholic Culture

How can we approach this? First of all, we must realize broaden our vision to embrace all of Church history. Secondly, we have to acknowledge the reality of a Catholic Christian culture. The seeds of the Gospel come to maturity in the fruits of a culture marked by the Cross, in treasures of literature, art, music, and architecture and, more humbly, in the customs of ordinary folk, but also in a nation’s legislation, practice of justice, care for the poor, and reverence for the sacred. Thirdly, we have to admit that a Christian king emerges as both the son and the father of such a culture. Henry, Stephen, Louis, Wenceslaus, and Karl were more than crowned figureheads; they were husbands, fathers, and patriots, men of justice, integrity, and compassion.

One Good Priest

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Today is the dies natalis of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. Father McGivney died 117 years ago today, at 38 years of age, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Father McGivney's remains are venerated in Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Father McGivney is an example of stalwart priestly holiness and zeal for the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

Father McGivney, like so many priests of his generation, was formed by the writings of Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori. Saints generate saints. Holiness begets holiness.

For more information on Father McGivney contact The Guild.

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Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe's Act of Consecration
to the Blessed Virgin Mary

O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
to whom God willed to entrust the entire order of mercy,
I an unworthy sinner cast myself at your feet,
humbly begging you to be so good as to accept me wholly and completely
as your possession and property,
and to do with me, with my whole life, death and eternity, whatever pleases you.

If it pleases you, use my whole self without reserve
to accomplish what has been said of you:
"She will crush your head," (Gen. 3:15), and also:
"You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world"
so that I may become a useful instrument
in your immaculate and most merciful hands
for promoting and increasing your glory to the maximum
in so many strayed and indifferent souls,
and thus extend as much as possible
the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

For wherever you enter,
you obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification,
since it is through your hands that all graces comes to us
from the Most Sweet Heart of Jesus.
Allow me to praise you, O most holy Virgin.
Give me strength against your enemies.

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For the Sake of Jesus Christ

There is something singularly appealing about Saint Clare of Assisi. In many ways she resembles her brother and father in Christ, Saint Francis, and yet Clare is Clare . . . fearless, spontaneous, unconventional, and strong-willed. She could have satisfied the expectations of her family and of society by marrying some promising young nobleman. Or she could have entered some respectable and established monastery; with her family background and her personal gifts, she would certainly have become a grand Lady Abbess and wielded the crosier over a comfortable little monastic domain, but Clare cared little for conventions and respectability. She did not hesitate to put behind her “houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children and land” (Mt 19:29) for the sake of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel.

Running After Christ

Our Lord says, “If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). Clare was not content with simply following Christ by putting one foot in front of the other. There was nothing of the foot-dragging disciple about her. She was compelled by a burning passion to run after Christ, to follow Him, dancing all the way. The song of Clare’s heart was that verse from the Song of Songs: “Draw me after you: we will run in the fragrance of your perfumes” (Ct 1:3).

With Swift Pace and Light Step

Clare adds her own commentary: “O heavenly Spouse! I will run and not tire, until you bring me into the wine–cellar, until your left hand is under my head and your right hand will embrace me happily, and you will kiss me with the happiest kiss of Your mouth” (Fourth Letter to Agnes of Prague). The writings of Saint Clare are full of movement. She is drawn on by the love of Christ. One sometimes has the impression that the impetus of love leaves her breathless. To Agnes of Prague she wrote: “What you hold, may you always hold, what you do, may you always do and never abandon. But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet, so that even your steps stir up no dust, may you go forward securely, joyfully, swiftly” (Second Letter to Agnes of Prague).

To Be A Child of God

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Whatever did not fit in with my plan
did lie within the plan of God.
I have an ever deeper and firmer belief
that nothing is merely an accident
when seen in the light of God,
that my whole life down to the smallest details
has been marked out for me
in the plan of Divine Providence
and has a completely coherent meaning
in God's all seeing eyes.

To be a child of God,
that means to be led by the Hand of God,
to do the Will of God, not one's own will,
to place every care and every Hope in the Hand of God
and not to worry about one's future.
On this rests the freedom and the joy of the child of God.
But how few of even the truly pious,
even of those ready for heroic sacrifices, possess this freedom.

When night comes, and you look back over the day
and see how fragmentary everything has been,
and how much you planned that has gone undone,
and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed:
just take everything exactly as it is,
put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him.
Then you will be able to rest in Him —really rest —
and start the next day as a new life.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.
October 12, 1891 — August 9, 1942

Saint Dominic

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Eighteenth Wednesday of the Year I

Numbers 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26a-29a, 34-35
Psalm 105: 6-7ab, 13-14, 21-22, 23 (R. 4a)
Matthew 15:21-28

The Mercy of God

Saint Dominic would spend whole nights weeping and groaning in prayer before the altar. Over and over again he would say, "What will become of sinners? What will become of sinners?" Saint Dominic's great passion was to reconcile sinners by preaching the mercy of God.

The Power of Preaching

Dominic understood that the power of preaching comes from ceaseless prayer. His prayer had three characteristics: humble adoration, heartfelt pity for sinners, and exultation in the Divine Mercy. Saint Dominic prayed constantly; he prayed at home and on the road, in church and in his cell. For Saint Dominic there was no place or time foreign to prayer. He loved to pray at night. He engaged his whole body in prayer by standing with outstretched arms, by bowing, prostrating, genuflecting, and kissing the sacred page. If you are not familiar with the extraordinary little booklet entitled The Nine Ways of Prayer of Saint Dominic, today would be a good day to find it and read it.

The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Saint Dominic had a tenth way of prayer too: the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary that today we call the rosary. The use of beads was widespread and the repetition of the Hail Mary were both widespread before the time of Saint Dominic. The Hail Mary prayed 150 times in reference to the 150 psalms was practiced in Carthusian and Cistercian cloisters before the time of Saint Dominic.

Irrigated by Grace

Saint Dominic understood that preaching alone was not enough. Preaching had to be irrigated by grace, and grace is obtained by prayer. Inspired by the Mother of God, Saint Dominic interspersed his sermons with the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He exhorted his hearers to continue praying the Psalter of 150 Aves as a way of prolonging the benefits of holy preaching. The rosary allows the seed of the Word sown by holy preaching to germinate in the soul and bear fruit.

Ta Face est ma seule patrie

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If you haven't read Donald Jacob Uitvlugt's article, The Holy Face in the Spirituality of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, today is the perfect day to do so. On August 6, 1896, Saint Thérèse consecrated herself, and the novices under her care, to the Face of Christ.

In her testimony for the cause of beatification, the older sister of Thérèse, Pauline (in Carmel, Mother Agnes), said:

Devotion to the Holy Face was the special attraction of the Servant of God. However tender was her devotion to the Infant Jesus, it could not be compared to the devotion she had for the Holy Face. It was in the Carmel, at the hour of our great ordeal regarding the mental illness of our father, that she attached herself further to the mystery of the Passion, and it was then that she obtained permission to add “of the Holy Face” to her name.

She herself speaks of where she derived the idea of this devotion. She writes, “In these words of Isaiah — "He was without splendor, without beauty, his face was hidden, as it were, and his person was not acknowledged (cf. Is 53, 2-3) — one finds the whole foundation of my devotion to the Holy Face, or to say it better, the foundation of all my piety. I also desire myself to be without splendor, without beauty, to tread alone the wine in the press, unknown by every creature."

Et divites dimisit inanes

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Eighteenth Sunday of the Year C

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Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23
Psalm 94: 1-2, 6-7abc, 7d-9
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21

Empty Hands

“Even in the night his mind does not rest.” (Eccl 2:23). So does Ecclesiastes describe the inner state of one whose search for happiness has produced little more than anxiety, exhaustion and sleepless nights. Toil, pain, and work amount to nothing in the pursuit of things eternal. The gifts of God are His for the giving. They cannot be produced or merited, purchased or won. In His wisdom, God often allows us to experience the utter vanity of all our toil and labours — even of our spiritual toil and labours — in order to bring us, sometimes by a path of apparent failure, to a state of blessed abjection and poverty. Blessed Jeanne Jugan put it this way, “It is so beautiful to be poor, to have nothing, to await all from God.” Saint Thérèse, in her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, prayed, “In the eventide of this life, I will appear before you with empty hands.”

Working to Have Nothing

We are all so reluctant to appear before God with empty hands. We would prefer to have something to show for our toil and strain, for our days full of pain and our labours. The spiritual life is not about working to have something; it is, if anything, working to have nothing. This, of course, is unsettling and disturbing.

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To Await All From God

I am reminded of the novice mistress of Saint Bernadette at Nevers, the virtuous but icy Mère Thérèse Vauzou. All her religious life she had toiled and strained in the pursuit of holiness, mortifying her senses at every turn, holding herself with a will of steel to the slightest prescriptions of her rule, driving herself mercilessly towards perfection. “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Eccl 1:2). When little Bernadette appeared on the scene, an ignorant peasant girl, unschooled in the spiritual life, rough and unrefined in her manners, and when this mere child admitted to conversations with the glorious Queen of heaven and Mother of God, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, it was altogether more than the virtuous Mère Vauzou could admit. Were all her spiritual labours and mortifications then worthless in the sight of heaven? Had she done so much, so hard, for so long, all for nothing? But, of course. For nothing. That is precisely the point, is it not? To be brought to nothing. To have nothing, to await all from God,” and to be able to say with Blessed Jeanne Jugan, “It is so beautiful.”

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The Peace of the Poor in Spirit

The biographers of Saint Bernadette say little about the final chapter in the life of Mère Vauzou. Long after the death of Bernadette, she was tormented with feelings of guilt and anxiety. She had, after all, treated the little saint harshly and added to her sufferings. In an attempt to recover peace of soul she went to the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide to consult with the saintly Père Jean, a monk known for his wisdom. We do not know the details of what transpired in secret between the monk and the distressed religious. We do know that after that meeting Mère Vauzou was freed of her anxiety and guilt, and found peace of heart. In all likelihood, Père Jean helped her to see that holiness is incompatible with achievements and great works, even spiritual ones, and that the Kingdom of heaven is given to the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3).

Painting: Saint Jean-Marie Viannney and Saint Peter Julian Eymard

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The Preacher Belongs to the Word

The Word does not belong to the preacher; the preacher belongs to the Word. This was true of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, it was true of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, and it is true of today’s saint, the holy parish priest Jean-Marie Vianney. The Curé of Ars stands in a long line of preachers possessed by the Word, and compelled to speak it without compromise.

Incendiary Preaching

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them” (Jer 6:14). Holy preaching is, necessarily, incendiary. Jean-Marie Vianney was not particularly eloquent; he preached in a cracked and broken voice, but his words communicated the fire of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, the Dominican Père Lacordaire, fell silent before the charism of holy preaching in Jean Marie Vianney.

John Paul and Jean-Marie

When the Curé of Ars spoke of the Sacrament of the Altar, he glowed. He communicated to his hearers the Eucharistic fire that burned in his own heart. Twenty-one years in ago in 1986, Pope John Paul II devoted his Holy Thursday Letter to Priests to Saint Jean–Marie Vianney. I think that today we can read that letter as one saint talking about another. This is what Pope John Paul II said:

The Eucharist was at the very center of Saint Jean Vianney’s spiritual life and pastoral work. He said: "All good works put together are not equivalent to the Sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men and the Holy Mass is the work of God." It is in the Mass that the sacrifice of Calvary is made present for the Redemption of the world. Clearly, the priest must unite the daily gift of himself to the offering of the Mass: "How well a priest does, therefore, to offer himself to God in sacrifice every morning!"(15) "Holy Communion and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the two most efficacious actions for obtaining the conversion of hearts."(16)

Thus the Mass was for John Mary Vianney the great joy and comfort of his priestly life. He took great care, despite the crowds of penitents, to spend more than a quarter of an hour in silent preparation. He celebrated with recollection, clearly expressing his adoration at the consecration and communion. He accurately remarked: "The cause of priestly laxity is not paying attention to the Mass!"

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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