FRIDAY THE FOURTH OF AUGUST, 2017
* Jean-Baptiste Vianney *
I love you, O my God,
and my only desire is to love you
until the last breath of my life.
I love you, O my infinitely lovable God,
and I would rather die loving you,
than live without loving you.
I love you, Lord
and the only grace I ask
is to love you eternally.
My God, if my tongue cannot say
in every moment that I love you,
I want my heart to repeat it to you
as often as I draw breath. Amen.
( Jean-Baptiste Vianney )
God's love was revealed among us
so that we might live through Jesus.
Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is of God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God,
for God is love.
In this the love of God was revealed among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
In this is love,
not that we loved God but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
Beloved, since God loved us so much,
we ought also to love one another.
For if we love one another, God abides in us,
and God's love will be perfected in us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
God's love was revealed among us
so that we might live through Jesus.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Jean-Baptiste Vianney, the Cure d’Ars
Today Saint Laika’s remembers John Baptist Vianney, a French priest who lived through the French Revolution and its aftermath, in the late eighteenth, through the mid nineteenth century, and spent forty-one years of his life in the village of Ars.
The French Revolution was a major overthrow of the social order beginning with the abolishment of serfdom in 1789, the outlawing of Catholicism and an embrace of radical new ideas such as a ten day week, and a complete renaming of the calendar. The great cathedral of Notre Dame was renamed the "Temple of Reason." It made the American Revolution of 1776 seem mild in comparison. It was into this tumult that John Baptist Vianney was born in 1786.
Religious instruction was banned until 1802, and when the revolution itself was overthrown, France embraced Napoleon, whose thirst for empire-building in Europe led France to be plunged into a series of devastating wars. John Vianney was an army deserter and spent much of the early years of the nineteenth century in hiding. In 1810 amnesty was declared for all deserters, and John Vianney surfaced again.
He had received very little education as a child. And when he was able to go to school he was labeled “slow.” He had a desire to become a priest, and very nearly was rejected by his bishop for his difficulty in learning. He was finally ordained a priest in 1829. And he was sent to a small, out of the way village of two hundred and forty people named Ars.
One of the most disastrous consequences of the revolution was the religious ignorance of the people. Vianney struggled to redress that, but his sermons were poor and the fruits of his labours were not to be found in the pulpit. What made John Vianney the outstanding example of holiness, was his ability to connect with people through the confession of their sins. He was extremely insightful, and a real help to the people who came to him for confession. Soon his reputation began to spread, and people were flocking to Ars, keeping him in the confessional for between twelve and sixteen hours a day. He was known for his gentleness and mercy toward sinners, and for the effective advice he gave that helped people to live better lives.
He died on this day in 1859.
Scripture. In the "First Letter of John," chapter one, verses eight and nine, we read:
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
... for peace in the world.
... for confessors and spiritual directors.
... for village clergy.
... that we appreciate the God-given talents of all people.
... for children struggling at school and all who find academic learning difficult.
... for the people of Burkina Faso and the Cook Islands who celebrate their national days today.
... for people living with complications of diabetes, that they may be healed.
... for those living with Parkinson's Disease and that a cure for their illness may be discovered soon.
... for stray and feral pets and for those who care for their welfare.
... for victims of acid attacks.
... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
A catechism on prayer by Jean-Baptiste Vianney:
Consider, children, a Christian’s treasure is not on earth, it is in heaven. Well then, our thoughts should turn to where our treasure is.
Man has a noble task: that of prayer and love. To pray and to love, that is the happiness of man on earth.
Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvellous light. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax moulded into one; they cannot any more be separated. It is a very wonderful thing, this union of God with his insignificant creature, a happiness passing all understanding.
We had deserved to be left incapable of praying; but God in his goodness has permitted us to speak to him. Our prayer is an incense that is delightful to God.
My children, your hearts are small, but prayer enlarges them and renders them capable of loving God. Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an overflowing of heaven. It never leaves us without sweetness; it is like honey, it descends into the soul and sweetens everything. In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.
Prayer makes time seem to pass quickly, and so pleasantly that one fails to notice how long it is. When I was parish priest of Bresse, once almost all my colleagues were ill, and as I made long journeys I used to pray to God, and, I assure you, the time did not seem long to me. There are those who lose themselves in prayer, like a fish in water, because they are absorbed in God. There is no division in their hearts. How I love those noble souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette saw our Lord and spoke to him as we speak to one another.
As for ourselves, how often do we come to church without thinking what we are going to do or for what we are going to ask. And yet, when we go to call upon someone, we have no difficulty in remembering why it was we came.
Some appear as if they were about to say to God: "I am just going to say a couple of words, so I can get away quickly."
I often think that when we come to adore our Lord we should get all we ask if we asked for it with a lively faith and a pure heart.
Almighty God, you made your priest, John Vianney, wonderful in his pastoral care of souls. Following his example, may we be willing to encourage and exhort others to live out their lives in faith toward you, and in loving service to others; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.