Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strength in Weakness

Today is the feast day of our Founder, St. Arnold Janssen.

Fr. Arnold was ordinary. Incredibly so. Although he was lighthearted, he wasn't known for his humor or charm but rather for his dry, mathematical personality. He was not a charismatic leader but instead had a knack for boring people with his long theological homilies. His talent and potential were not obvious. Fr. Arnold had no ecstasies, revelations, or great dark nights. People thought he was a fool because of his plan to found a missionary society even while the Church at home was being persecuted.
So why is Fr. Arnold a saint of Mother Church? Once he was convinced of God's will, he never wavered. He was an ordinary guy who let God do whatever he wanted with him. He allowed himself to be viewed as a fool for Christ. He was himself 100%
That is something we can imitate.
Confused? I can clarify.

Most of us are not going to be called by God to have visions, mystical experiences, be charismatic leaders, or even found three missionary congregations. But we are all called to holiness and intimate union with God. We are called to do great things and touch lives around us. People looked at Arnold Janssen and said, "Him? Why would God use him? He is so ordinary and unattractive!"
But God did use him. St. Arnold let him have free reign over his life. God filled his weaknesses with strength.  God opened doors; God disposed hearts, God provided opportunities, God sent candidates, God prospered the congregations.
There's the secret: God did these things! God lead; Fr. Arnold followed. In the darkness of faith, he didn't understand how it could possibly work out, but he trusted God anyway. God wants to do great things in our lives too. He wants to make us into saints. Will we let him?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fr. Janssen sounds like a great guy, ordinary and yet extraordinary. Thank you for posting this inspirational story to encourage us to live our faith. Our class was inspired!

8S of St. Gabriel the Archangel