St. John Vianney | August 4

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Today is the Memorial for Saint John Vianney. He was born in the late 18th century during a terrible oppression of the Catholic Church brought on by the French Revolution. His family had to travel illegally to distant farms to attend Mass in secret. Priests risked their lives to bring the sacraments to the people and St. John likely looked up to them as childhood hero’s.

The Catholic Church was re-established in France in 1802 but St. John’s desire to become a priest had many obstacles. He was drafted into the Napoleon’s army and his very modest upbringing left him unprepared for the seminary. With the help of Fr. Charles Balley and St. John’s persistent desire to be a priest, he was ordained in 1815. When Fr. Balley died 3 years later, St. John was given the assignment he is remembered for: the Curé d'Ars (priest of Ars).

He was known for his fiery sermons and long hours hearing confessions. In addition to his labors as a priest he practiced severe fasting and was blessed with many miracles. His labors were rewarded with the conversion of many souls and visits of thousands each year to seek reconciliation.

This theme of perseverance against overwhelming obstacles is echoed in the Gospel today. The Disciples are in a boat battling a storm when Jesus walks across the water to meet them. At Peter’s request, Jesus invites him to “Come” out of the boat to walk with Him on the water. We know that when Peter took his eyes off Jesus to look at the storm raging around Him, his lapse of faith caused him to sink. Fortunately, his cries for help were immediately answered with a saving hand from Jesus.

Our lives are different than St. John’s and St. Peter’s, but the challenge for everyone is to discern God’s will for us in each phase of our lives. If our hopes and desires align with God’s will for us, nothing will be impossible, as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus. The storms may rage all around us, but he will keep us firmly on our path.

Let us ask St. John Vianney to intercede for us as we continue to discern God’s will for us today and realize when Jesus is asking to step out of the boat.


-Deacon Steve