DAILY CHEWING STICK: 4TH AUGUST, 2015.
(ST. JOHN MARY VIANNEY).
Good morning dearest friends in Christ! We celebrate once again today, OUR PRIESTS IN D LIFE OF ST. JOHN MARY VIANNEY (Patron of Priests). A Lawyer from Lyons visited Cure d’Ars and when he returned, people asked him: WHAT DID YOU SEE? The lawyer replied: I SAW GOD IN MAN IN JOHN MARY VIANNEY! Why did he say that, you may ask? John was born in France in 1786. He had very low IQ (Intelligence Quotient), hence was VERY slow to learn. After years of hard study, he was almost denied ordination. The Bishop said to him, “JEAN MARIE, WHAT CAN I DO WITH YOU? YOU’RE A COMPLETE ASS.” “MY LORD”. REPLIED JEAN MARIE, “IF GOD COULD ENABLE SAMSON TO KILL A THOUSAND PHILISTINES WITH ONLY A JAWBONE OF AN ASS, WHAT COULD HE NOT DO WITH A COMPLETE ASS?” He passed the test and was ordained in 1815, and in 1818 he was made Parish Priest of the little Parish of Ars, where he remained until his death (over 40 years).
However, the complete ass turned out to be a complete asset to France and Universal Church. Brethren, that is how God will turn your MESS into a MESSAGE, your TEST into TESTIMONIES, your TRIALS into TRIUMPHS, your SORROWS into JOY, AMEN.
Brethren, 230 parishioners was what Fr. John Mary Vianney met because the people were not coming to Church. HE BEGAN TO VISIT THEM IN THEIR HOMES. SOON, HE BECAME PASTOR OF MULTITUDE COMING FROM THE ENTIRE REGION, EVEN 80,000 CAME IN THE YEAR 1858. PEOPLE SOMETIMES WAITED FOR DAYS TO SEE HIM, TO GO TO CONFESSION. He spent 18 hours daily in the confessional and spent long hours praying before the BLESSED SACRAMENT. HE TAUGHT CHILDREN THEIR PRAYERS AND CATECHISM. HE WON SOULS FOR GOD BEFORE HIS DEATH AT THE AGE OF 73 IN 1859.
Dearest Brother Priests, HOW MUCH OF THE LIFE OF OUR PATRON SAINT ARE WE LIVING TODAY? MANY OF US ARE FAR MORE INTELLIGENT THAN HE WAS, SOME OF US CAME OUT WIT FIRST CLASS HONORS, SOME OF US HAVE GONE ON FURTHER STUDIES WITH PhD, PROFS, ETC, WHAT IS D OUTCOME?
DO WE STILL VISIT OUR PEOPLE AT HOMES?
DO WE PATIENTLY LISTEN TO THEM AT THE CONFESSIONAL AND COUNSEL THEM?
DO WE TAKE TIME TO PREPARE OUR HOMILIES AND TOUCH THE PEOPLE IN A MORE PRAGMATIC WAY?
WHAT HAS BECOME OF OUR VARIOUS PARISHES SINCE WE GOT THERE? FORWARD OR BACKWARD? INCREASING OR DECREASING?
WE ARE DOING WELL, NO DOUBT, WE CAN ALWAYS DO BETTER. LET US BLOOM WHERE WE ARE PLANTED.
THE STONE REJECTED CAN ALWAYS BECOME THE CORNER STONE.
Brethren, continue to pray daily for YOUR PRIESTS, SO THAT WE CAN MINISTER BETTER TO YOU. DO YOU LOVE YOUR PRIESTS? WILL YOU PRAY FOR YOUR PRIESTS? START TODAY AND NOT TOMORROW.
MARY MOTHER OF THE CLERGY- PRAY FOR US!!!
About the Author: Rev. Fr. Francis Onugha is the Parish Priest of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lasokun, Apata, Ibadan in Nigeria. He is an avid preacher who passes God’s messages across with practical examples we see in our daily lives. He writes his Daily Chewing Stick to spread God’s word electronically to all.