August 5, 2018

Positivity: The Feast of Saint John Vianney – a model for priests

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Ars, France:

Aug 3, 2018 / 05:04 pm

The patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney, died Aug. 4, 1859. A century later, Pope John XXIII reflected on the life of the saint, and what it means to be a holy priest.

In contemplating the life of St. John Vianney, one immediately thinks of a priest who lived out great penance, and whose “only motives were the love of God and the desire for the salvation of the souls of his neighbors,” John XXIII said.

The saintly pope reflected on the life of Vianney in an encyclical titled Sacerdotii nostri primordia. The encyclical was written in 1959 for the 100th anniversary of Vianney’s death.

After struggling with his studies, St Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Shortly afterward, he was assigned to Ars, France, near his hometown of Dardilly.

There, he spent a majority of his priesthood. He was noted for his dedication to the poor, his counseling to those in need, and for founding La Providence, an orphanage for girls.

The saint was well-known for his dedication to the Sacrament of Penance. He would make himself available for confession for up to 16 hours daily.

In his encyclical, Pope John XXIII called St. Vianney a model of priestly holiness.

“[The priest] is no longer supposed to live for himself…He must be aflame with charity toward everyone. Not even his thoughts, his will, his feelings belong to him, for they are rather those of Jesus Christ who is his life,” he wrote, quoting a sermon from Pope Pius XII.

“St. John Mary Vianney is a person who attracts and practically pushes all of us to these heights of the priestly life,” John XXIII further added.

The pope highlighted the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which he said Vianney exemplified.

“His example in the various works of priestly asceticism still points out the safest path to follow, and in the midst of this example, his poverty, chastity and obedience stand forth in a brilliant light,” the pope said of Vianney.

“What great benefits are conferred on human society by men like this who are free of the cares of the world and totally dedicated to the divine ministry so that they can employ their lives, thoughts, powers in the interest of their brethren!” …

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