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St. André Bessette
Brother André expressed a saint's faith by a lifelong devotion to St. Joseph.
Sickness and weakness dogged André from birth. He was the eighth of 12 children born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal. Adopted at 12, when both parents had died, he became a farmhand. Various trades followed: shoemaker, baker, blacksmith—all failures. He was a factory worker in the United States during the boom times of the Civil War.
At 25, he applied for entrance into the Congregation of the Holy Cross. After a year's novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension and the urging of Bishop Bourget (see Marie-Rose Durocher, October 6), he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. "When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained 40 years," he said.
In his little room near the door, he spent much of the night on his knees. On his windowsill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of St. Joseph, to whom he had been devoted since childhood. When asked about it he said, "Some day, St. Joseph is going to be honored in a very special way on Mount Royal!"
When he heard someone was ill, he visited to bring cheer and to pray with the sick person. He would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel. Word of healing powers began to spread.
When an epidemic broke out at a nearby college, André volunteered to nurse. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious; doctors called him a quack. "I do not cure," he said again and again. "St. Joseph cures." In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he received each year.
For many years the Holy Cross authorities had tried to buy land on Mount Royal. Brother André and others climbed the steep hill and planted medals of St. Joseph. Suddenly, the owners yielded. André collected 200 dollars to build a small chapel and began receiving visitors there—smiling through long hours of listening, applying St. Joseph's oil. Some were cured, some not. The pile of crutches, canes and braces grew.
The chapel also grew. By 1931 there were gleaming walls, but money ran out. "Put a statue of St. Joseph in the middle. If he wants a roof over his head, he'll get it." The magnificent Oratory on Mount Royal took 50 years to build. The sickly boy who could not hold a job died at 92.
He is buried at the Oratory. He was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. At his canonization in October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that St. Andre "lived the beatitude of the pure of heart."
Rubbing ailing limbs with oil or a medal? Planting a medal to buy land? Isn't this superstition? Aren't we long past that?
Superstitious people rely only on the "magic" of a word or action. Brother André's oil and medals were authentic sacramentals of a simple, total faith in the Father who lets his saints help him bless his children.
"It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures," said St. André Bessette.
Daily Prayer - 2016-01-06
"Come to me all you who are burdened
Lord grant me the grace
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
The Word of God
Wednesday after Epiphany
Reading 1 1 Jn 4:11-18
Beloved, if God so loved us,
Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 10, 12-13
R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Alleluia See 1 Tm 3:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 6:45-52
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Meditation: 1 John 4:11-18
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Saint André Bessette, Religious (Optional Memorial)
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. (1 John 4:16)
"You don't love me!" Every parent has heard this accusation from a disgruntled child. Usually the subtext is, "If you really loved me, you'd let me do—or have—what I want right now." When an exchange reaches this point, it's usually pointless for the parent to disagree or argue. A list of examples of how much a parent does love that child will only fall on deaf ears.
So how have St. John and his readers come to the ringing conviction he expresses here? Some of them have had a dramatic personal encounter with the Lord that stirred up strong feelings, but true conviction can't rest only on the memory of these feelings. After the initial glow of such an encounter fades, it's not uncommon for trials or challenges to tempt us to doubt God's love. It's not only trials either. Think of how a husband and wife's romantic feelings may eventually cool. This can also happen with God.
Thank God that love is not judged by feelings alone! It's judged by giving, even when we don't feel like it. The old adage still holds true: love is a choice, not just an emotion.
This is how we can be sure God loves us: he is always giving to us. And he is always giving us his best. Remember, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3:16). It may not be what we want at any given moment, but it is always exactly what we need: grace to forgive, wisdom in a tough situation, a helping hand from a friend, or even a prick of our conscience telling us to repent.
Our heavenly Father holds back nothing. He may not always give us a pleasant experience, but he will always give us his Son. He will always work to release us from the grip of sin and to form us into his own image and likeness. He will always give himself to us every day, whether we are aware of his presence or not.
Now that's a love you can count on!
"Father, I believe in the love you have for me. Help me to live and act out of that assurance today."
Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13
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We read today "There is no fear in love". Can we say that the disciples were in love with Christ or were they just following Him and doing what He said at first? You see, this is the whole point of all the past year's messages to you, were that you might first follow, and then that if you are following and obeying...maybe, perhaps you'll actually fall in love and be in love with Christ. Being in love with God? That takes work. That is why first you must follow. Because they witnessed thousands of people being fed with what little they themselves gave to the Lord in His Hands, and they limited their belief which in turn is love. I've always equated love with faith. How much you believe is how much you love. How much do you believe in Him? Have you limited Him our Lord in Heaven? We do, and the easiest way to limit Him is...by sin. That what departs us from Him. Let me give you a simple and stinky analogy. Last night, our baby boy Adonai was very feisty, and was determined to pull his older brother's hair...Andres. Andres was running away from him and crying "he's trying to hurt me!". My wife asked me to change Adonai's pamper...to my surprise, there was quite a surprise with fully loaded diaper which wasn't just number one. Ok, the stinky part is over, he got cleaned up. He sat in my arms nice and quiet, no more crying to hurt his brother any more because it seemed the more I scolded him earlier to stop pulling hair the more he'd cry aloud. So the thought hit me, this is how it is with sin in our lives, that dirty stinky stuff which drives us nuts and hurt one another with words and actions. It is simply a reflection of what you are carrying. Hatred, animosity, lies, and the list goes on and on, these things, these supposed pains make you take them out on others. This is why the Holy Church offers healing Sacraments. Whereby a pact of love is taking place. Consider the severity then of limiting God, because we hurt ourselves.
We prayed today "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him." God is amazing, an amazing rescuer that does not ever stop rescuing. The day He doesn't rescue you is the day you stopped praying and hoping and thus...believing. Even if you believe you've stopped believing, there is still hope because He believes. This is why every person shall adore HIm and will bend a knee to Him, even all those evils and devils out there obey. And today, even the waters and storms obey GOD. How dare we limit Him in our lives!
In comes our Lord today. He dismisses the crowds, "you won't send them off empty, I shall send them off full", because the disciples didn't believe Jesus could feed them, limited their belief in the God on earth..The Savior, the Messiah fully revealed already in their lives...but they limited Him. He sent the disciples off on the boat, perhaps knowing a storm, the winds would be against them. He watches from the shore and walks to them on the water. As if to be passing by in the storm LOL, saying "oh Me? You see me now? Oh!? Oh you're afraid?" Didn't we hear today that "There Is NO FEAR in Love?" IF you are in Christ you are not afraid. Being not afraid means then being in complete love and trust and in full communication with Him. Lose that fear, that what detracts from Him! What detracts? Sin. Adam and Eve became afraid when they sinned. I am more bold when I am full of grace. I can speak directly about your sins and mine. Grace comes in Holy Sacraments, as He sees fit...a total gift from Heaven. ANd we can follow, obey, and all in hopes of a great love to be made between you and Him. This happens in the truest sense in the Holy Eucharist. Realize what is going on, especially in the storms of your life, just cry out to Jesus, and He appears out of the storm, and don't forget to fall on your knees and your face in adoration when He appears and give thanks forever and ever because of His manifestation in your life. Because the storm should serve to reveal a truth...you didn't need anything else than Him. And then, you fall in love with Christ in humanity, and then the world He created, that speaks the truth about Who He is. The Messiah. The Christ. The one we should've never doubted. The one we should've listened to. The one we should hold up higher than anyone or anything in the living world...our love reaching out to us again and again...because we are His