23 December, Friday — Me before You : Faith

Dec 23 – Memorial for St. John of Kanty, presbyter

St. John of Kanty (1390-1473) was a Polish country lad. A brilliant student at the University of Krakow, Poland, he became a priest and professor of theology at the University of Krakow, where he was falsely accused and ousted by university rivals.

At the age of 41, he was assigned as parish priest at Olkusz, Bohemia. He took his position seriously and was terrified of responsibility, but did his best. For a long time, that wasn’t enough for his parishioners, but in the end he won their hearts. After several years in his parish, he returned to Krakow and taught Scripture for the rest of his life.

John was a serious, humble man, generous to a fault with the poor, sleeping little, eating no meat and little of anything else. He was a pilgrim to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When warned to look after his health, he pointed out that the early desert fathers lived long lives in conditions that had nothing to recommend them but the presence of God.

At the time of his death, John was so well loved that his veneration began immediately. For years, his doctoral gown was worn by graduates receiving advanced degrees at the University of Krakow. He was declared patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737 by Pope Clement XII, 30 years before his final canonization.

  • Patron Saint Index

Mal 3:1-4,23-24
Lk 1:57-66

Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me.

Today’s Gospel shows us Zechariah’s acceptance of God’s plan for his son, which culminates in him breaking convention and naming him John.

As a teenager and all the way into adulthood, I was always deal-making with God (and even His saints) – “ If this happens, God; I promise to do something”  — I’ve even been known, at age 18, to promise naming rights to my first child to a Saint!

But as the years passed and through many knocks and falls, I have come to learn that it really does not work that way.

I shared previously about how an encounter with Fr Loiseau in his last days comforted me and transformed me. I was in a lot of pain at that point, with many events out of my control – which I hated. I had to wait, with no timeline about when things would get resolved — another thing which I really find difficult to bear.

During our many chats, Fr Loiseau taught me to really pray. When you pray with abandonment and surrender to His will — God makes everything right, in His time. Brothers and sisters, God did just that! The difficulties and pain I was experiencing did come to a close in some sense, and I found the peace of mind that I was so badly craving.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gerard Francis)

Prayer: We pray for faith in God’s plan for us and our lives

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the beautiful gift of faith that God bestows on each of us and thank Him for his patience with us.

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