24 Apr – Memorial for St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest & martyr
St. Fidelis Sigmaringen (1577-1622) was a lawyer and teacher of philosophy. Disgusted by the greed, corruption, and lack of interest in justice by his fellow lawyers, Mark Rey abandoned the law, became a priest and a Franciscan friar with his brother George. He changed his name to Fidelis and gave away his worldly wealth to poor people in general, and poor seminarians in particular. He served his friary as guardian and worked in epidemics, especially healing soldiers. He led a group of Capuchins to preach to Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. The success of this work, and lack of violence suffered by mission was attributed to Fidelis spending his nights in prayer. He was, however, eventually martyred for his preaching.
“Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.” — St. Fidelis
“…you must believe in the one he has sent.“
Mankind’s continual thirst for knowledge and power has led us down a path which many feel will lead to our own destruction. From the world wars to financial crises which have led to the demise of many, we seem to have this in-built ‘shoot yourself in the foot’ button that keeps being pressed once every few decades. And while technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds, we seem to be sorely lacking in understanding the consequences of the many decisions that continue to harm nature and our earth.
I used to be ambitious in my early working years but lately, I have adopted a more modest approach to work, preferring to focus some energy on my pursuits outside of work. Some might say that I am not truly fulfilling my potential or contributing 100% to my organisation, but I prefer to look at it as not putting all my eggs in the same basket; that I will be able to draw inspiration and strength, not just from what I accomplish at work, but also from my efforts in ministry.
Those of you who serve in ministry may already be shaking your head or ‘tsk tsk-ing’ away. However, I continue to draw from that well and do what I can during my spare time to contribute as much as I can, in spite of the challenges and very different mindsets involved. In other words, I continue to believe that He has put me in this ministry for a reason and that I am not supposed to shortchange Him, as long as there is something I can do that adds value to others, I should not shun it.
So in this season of my life, I am not thirsting. On the contrary, I have become a well for others to tap on occasionally. How long this is going to last, I do not know. What I do know is that on my own, I will eventually dry up. I have seen others around me shrivel and wither away for varying reasons, and I am mindful of the many hurdles ahead in my journey. But there is no other way except to obey him and to believe that in the end, it is God who provides for me; and for all of us. He will ensure that we are sufficiently nourished for the road ahead, as long as we know how to draw from Him – through daily prayer, celebration of the Eucharist and, most importantly, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Brothers and sisters, all of us are meant to inspire and nourish someone else, or even many others. We have not been created for nothing. How are we then to go about our mission while we are walking this journey on earth? We must first seek knowledge and wisdom from our heavenly Father and from Jesus Christ, who himself uttered the words “I thirst” just before he gave up his life.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Father, we ask for your constant protection and guidance as we minister to our loved ones. We ask that you always nourish us with your living Word.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for giving us all that we need to be faithful servants in your vineyard.
Seasons in life rearrange our energies and schedule…. and the way we organize our priorities. I can relate to this reflection! Thank you. There is a peace that only God can bestow when we realize we have only the influence He allows, and that the world isn’t going to fall apart if we change our focus to be more about listening, looking and loving Him first in ALL things!