Thursday – St. John Vianney
Gospel – Matthew 16:13-20
It’s the Simple Things in Life
Two weeks ago, I attended the national Tekakwitha Conference down in Louisiana. It was the first time we have been able to gather in person since 2019. Needless to say, with Covid still a major concern, attendance was considerably lower than in the past. It would have been easy to become disillusioned over such a drop in attendance. But, as it turned out, the situation allowed for a number of significant one-on-one interactions, deep conversations and heart-warming moments. Whether it was a simple thank-you for a job well done, sharing in the child-like joy of a ‘jellybean’ as she danced in her father’s lap or a warm hug between friends separated for so long, it was a reminder of the simple things in life. Life is not just about parades and crowds and fireworks; it’s those little moments in life that bring love and joy and a sense of community. And it is a reminder of today’s saint.
St. John Vianney, the Cure d’Ars!
He continues to be my mom’s all-time favorite and patron saint. We grew up with various religious statues and medals of him; at times we gifted her with a special relic. And we often visited a neighboring church that had a shrine dedicated to him; in fact, it was just a few years ago that the shrine went through a renovation and updating! Even for my grandson Tyler, when he was confirmed a few years ago, it was in a basilica that also had a shrine to St. John Vianney. Needless to say, we did take pictures.
St. John Vianney was a simple, gentle soul. And his gifts lay more in compassion than in academics; it was a struggle and perhaps a miracle in itself that he was approved for ordination. He spent his life as a simple parish priest and was widely known for spending up to 18 hours in the confessional every day, ministering and counseling his flock. This simple man spent his life laboring to reconcile his people to God. He is the patron saint of priests and, to my knowledge, is the only parish priest to be canonized.
Too often we look for faith in heavy tomes of academic learning and come away more confused than before. Sometimes faith comes to us in simple terms, in the simplicity of life. We only have to take the time to see it, embrace it and share it!
Great Spirit, help me today to be a source of compassion and hope to those around me. May my life be a weaving of simple words and actions, all directed to serving you.