The CAPG's Blog
We read in last Sunday's Gospel, (the Octave of the Epiphany), that at the age of twelve our Lord remained in the temple disputing with the doctors, and when found by Mary and Joseph, who had been sorrowfully seeking Him, He replied:" Nesciebatis quia in his quoe Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse." (St. Luke ii. 49)
Well, we also are, or ought to be, about our Father's business, the saving of the souls of our brethren. This alone is our mission. For ourselves especially, we must strive to convert the poor of St. Galla and in the country districts. This is what God asks of each one of us.
How have we responded to the call? To take one thing only, how have we taught the catechism? Parvuli petierunt panem et non erat qui frangeret eis. We go and preach in public places, but with what ardor? Are we not glad of the smallest excuse to escape it? The souls of our neighbors are in our hands, and yet how many are lost through our fault? The sick die without being properly prepared, for we have not given time or care enough to each particular case. We are easily rebuffed, and ready enough to leave them, and say to ourselves: "Well, after all, it's their own fault if they won't listen to us." Yet, with a little more patience, a little more perseverance, a little more love, in fact, we could have led those poor souls to heaven. Many among us shrink from going to the hospitals, either on account of fear of infection, or from the sights and smells that await us there. Courage!
We are not come into the world to follow our own will and pleasure, but to imitate our Lord. "No quoero voluntatem mean, sed voluntatem ejus qui mist me." (St. John v. 36) If we experience some repugnance in our work, either from its nature, or from the unwillingness of the poor to listen to us, let us think of the example of St. Francis of Sales, who shrunk from no labor, no fatigue, and was rewarded by the conversion of seventy thousand heretics, and when reproached for having shortened his life by these means, replied, " It is nor necessary that I should live, but it is necessary that souls should be saved." This should be our motto. Let us, then, learn greater perseverance in good works; do not let us get tepid and hopeless when unexpected difficulties arise, but let us strive courageously to surmount them, being thoroughly persuaded that such is the will of God.
Again, let us ask ourselves, " How did the saints act in similar circumstances?" Look at ST. Philip Neri and St. Igantius. The first was sent for to assist a lady on her death bed. Her husband imagined, in his blind fury, that she would be persuaded to make a will in the saint's favor, and maddened by cupidity, declared that if the holy man came near the house he would kill him. St. Philip, nothing daunted, went to the lady, and administered to her all the last sacraments, and by thereby fulfilling simply what he felt was the will of God escaped all injury.
In the time of St. Ignatius, a certain convent had become a subject of public scandal, from the freedom given in the parlor, where all the smartest young men of the city went to see the nuns. St. Ignatius, with enormous difficulty, induced these faithless religious to return to their duties and banish their visitors in spite of the menaces of the young men, who, finding that St. Ignatius was determined to carry out his purpose, waylaid him one night and beat him till he was nearly dead. Nevertheless, the Saint persevered because he felt he was thereby doing the will of God.
Such examples should stimulate our zeal and our constancy. But we need only imitate certain pious laics of our acquaintance, both men and women, who show themselves real apostles of charity, nursing the sick, assisting them in their last hours, hastening to procure good confessors for them, and the like. Shall we be outdone by these voluntary laborers? I do not say that there must not be prudence in our actions; and that unwise zeal sometimes does much harm; but who does not feel his heart burn with the fire of charity for the many suffering, abandoned souls in this sad world? We fancy that we have this love, but how do we prove it? To believe is not enough; we must test it by our actions, prove it by our deeds, toil for them in the sweat of our brow. Without this, how can we declare we have real charity?
Rome is full of ignorance and blindness of heart. Grievous sins are committed constantly in this city; its inhabitants will not listen to those who strive to put Christian thoughts into their minds. They only hearken to worldly advice, and turn a deaf ear to all that comes from God. In so great a peril, who is to be found who will really devote himself to find a remedy? Alas! Charity in our day has waxed cold.