03 Aug The Cure of Ars (Matthew 13:43) by Steve Castle
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” ~ Matthew 13:54 (full readings)
Steve’s Reflections: It is often in our ordinary and mundane lives that God accomplishes mighty deeds. In the LIFE Group we often say that it is through the seeds of sacrifice that God’s work is accomplished. This can be no truer than in the case of the Cure of Ars, St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney. St. John Vianney had humble roots in rural France as the son of a farmer. As a young boy he would often pass along the faith to shepherd children anticipating his future work as a parish priest. He long desired to be a priest, but struggled with the academic rigors required of a seminarian especially in the area of Latin. In spite of his deficiencies he persevered to become arguably one of the greatest parish priests and confessors the Church has known before or since. As one Bishop noted, what he lacked in academics he made up for with docility to the Holy Spirit. His priesthood and ministry could be likened to a cup overflowing constantly being emptied for love of God and neighbor. Arguably his greatest gift was that as a confessor. It is said that he spent 12 to 16 hours a day reconciling people to God over a forty year period. His sacrifices for the people were also great. During his short, sleepless nights he was often tormented by our enemy, the devil, and the powers of darkness for his selfless efforts. He faced this each night whether at home or abroad for 35 years. The commotion of these attacks were often heard by his neighbors and the effects on his frail body were also visible. It is said that during one of these attacks the devil said, “If there were but three such priests as yourself, my kingdom would be ruined.” During the course of his ministry hundreds of thousands flocked to the small town of Ars and many souls were brought to Christ. In his last waning hours after he had spilled everything out for God he said to a brother priest, “How good God is; when we can no longer go to him, he comes to us.” As a miraculous testiment to this man’s holy life spent in the service of God and man, his body was found to be incorruptible; it is more perfect in death than in life. Today’s picture is an image of his body as it can be seen today over 150 years after his death. St. John Vianney, pray for us!
* Steve Castle serves the LIFE Group on the corporate board, is a regular author for LIFE Group Devotions on Fridays, and is the editor/voice of the LIFE Minute. Him and his wife Tina live in Fergus Falls, MN where they attend to their number one ministry; their four children. Full bio.
Faith Challenge: It is said that our sacrifices are like a sweet aroma to God. Offer your little sacrifices today for the good of souls; especially the pre-born and their mothers in crisis.
Sr. Francelle’s Devotion: Year of the Priests (Aug. 7, 2009) * For more on St. John Vianney *
Our Prayers: Prayer to end abortion, Spiritual Adoption, Alpha Center, Peters family (JP). Add Prayers on our website. Pray with meals, bedtime, wake up, LIFE Runners, etc. Consider mid-week Family Rosary (17 min). Let’s pray now.
Feast Day: St. John Marie Baptiste Vianney, Cure of Ars (d. 1859)
Faith Quote: “Man is a beggar who needs to ask God for everything.” ~ St. John Vianney
* Pray/Fast: Prayer connects us with God’s will and His miracles, changing us & helping others. Fast from things that take your eyes off Jesus. Those who pray together stay together, and close to God!
* Save Unborn (and family): Abortion (images) is #1 death cause (22% pregnancies). Prov 24:11 and Jer 1:5. “A great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish.” Mother Teresa.
* Evangelize: Make room for unbelievers and re-evangelization of self, by way of prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of love (service/sacrifice/mercy). Matt 28:19.