“Using the Gift of God’s Grace to gain life, blessings and happiness!”
(Based on Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5 and Lk 10:13-16 – Friday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2 – Founder’s Day of the MSFS Congregation)
The year 1821.
The Parish of Le Chatelard, in the Archdiocese of Chambery.
Two fervent and austere priests, spent a week in praying, preaching and inviting people for a Mission Service.
But the parishioners remained indifferent.
There was an air of unwelcome apathy.
The people misused the freedom of salvation that was offered to them.
The two priests, however, had to make a choice: Of either continuing preaching or of “shaking off the dust!”
The priests – who were hopeful, zealous and committed – set out, in imitation of Jesus, their Master, to the foot of the mountains to pray for the conversion of people.
“They have gone to pray & fast for your conversion” was the reply the curious parishioners received on enquiry of their whereabouts.
Intercession proved powerful!
The two saintly priests were called back by the people…
… and the mission in the Parish resumed with much deep fervour and enthusiasm!
One of the two missionaries was Fr Peter Marie Mermier
(the other was his missions companion, Fr Joseph Favre)
Fr Peter Marie Mermier is the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)…
… known as the Fransalians!
This daring founder – a dynamic missionary – had many incidents in his life, which made him to experience the power and presence of the Spirit in the missions.
As it is said, “Problems love to haunt missionaries, but Providence lures them to depend on Him, for healing!”
“When the world says, “Give up”, hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time!’”
Yes, nothing can shake a Missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified!
Today – on the Founder’s Day of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS) – the death anniversary of the Venerable Servant of God, Fr Peter Marie Mermier (Sep 30, 1862)…
… the Gospel of the day is a call to use every opportunity that is provided by the Lord – before judgement is pronounced on us!
The Gospel speaks about how the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were given the freedom and the choice to become part of the Kingdom of God…
… but they chose to reject and refused the Saving Message.
And Jesus has harsh words reserved for such kind of an attitude – “WOE TO YOU!“
The word “woe” in Greek is “oh-hoo-aai” or “ouvai!”
The figure of speech is onomatopoeia – it means what it sounds like.
It is a word of pain!
It is the sound someone makes when they are hurt or are grieved.
When the Lord proclaims a WOE over these cities, there’s a great deal of anguish amplified with a sense of pain.
The Lord was pained that these cities received wonderful opportunity to hear God’s saving message…
… but failed to turn to God in repentance.
The Lord was pained that these cities received great chances to see God’s miraculous deeds and wonders…
… but failed to turn to God in penance.
The Lord was pained that these cities received exclusive occasions to receive God’s salvific graces…
… but failed to turn to God in humility.
The Lord today challenges us to make an examination of our lives:
God lavishes many graces on me through regular chances to hear God’s word through the Bible, retreats, recollections, talks, spiritual magazines etc…
Am I using these chances to grow in my spiritual life?
… or am I wasting away many of such chances?
Is freedom used?
God showers many opportunities for me to avoid sin…
…. by giving me inspiring and holy thoughts
… by a constant urging to be good through my parents, superiors, family and community members and other people in my life…
Am I using these opportunities to foster my holiness?
… or am I frittering away much of such opportunities?
Is freedom used…?
… or misused?
God bestows many occasions to become a powerful witness to His love and His Gospel through different means like…
… preaching the Word
… celebrating or participating in the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments
… helping others in their needs and difficulties, praying for various people
… living a integral life in the society based on the Gospel values etc.
Am I using these occasions to strengthen my Christian life?
… or am I throwing away many of such occasions?
Is freedom used…?
… or Misused?
The example of the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum is before us and the condemnation of Jesus, because of their lacklustre response is also before us.
Freedom is the great gift of God…
… and God totally respects the use or the misuse of this precious gift.
Are we going to use this Gift to gain life, blessings and happiness…?
… or are we going to misuse this Gift to receive death, curses and sadness?
Today we specially seek the intercession of St Jerome
(St Jerome who was very well-versed in Scripture, is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin – the translation that became known as the Vulgate – and his commentaries on the Scriptures.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” are the famous words of exhortation of St Jerome, the doctor of the Church)
May his words, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best”
… be an inspiration for all of us!”
When we experience people who misuse freedom…
… let us remember that “nothing can shake a missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified” and always cry out, “I want missions!”
Let us also be inspired by the words of Ven. Fr Peter Marie Mermier
“The most virtuous (people) avoid sin and great faults…
… but they are careless in the practice of virtue.”
“It is not enough to avoid evil but it is necessary to do good
… The love of God is efficacious.
There is nothing as strong and as active as love. It is a devouring fire!”
And with respect to prayer…
“The ministry of a priest without prayer, is a barren ministry, without any effect, even harmful; it is a ministry of death!
… instead of enlightening, it blinds;
… instead of healing, it kills!
But the ministry of the one who prays, is a ministry of life!”
Happy Founder’s Day to all the FRANSALIANS – Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit
“Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. >> But “He is present… most especially in the Eucharistic species.” (CCC #1373)