This is the eighteenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Todays entry is by Andy (aka the Common Anglican) of the All Too Common blog. You can read other entries in the series here.
Before the reform of the Roman Calendar, Thursday, March 16th was the feast of St. John de Brebeuf. His feast is now on October 19th, but as I am fond of the old ways, I thought it appropriate to mention. John de Brebeuf was a French Jesuit who was very sickly. Because of this fact, many had doubts as to whether he was called to be a priest. He was sent to be a missionary in northern Canada where the cold weather actually improved his health. He was very popular among the Indians and learned the Huron language. He even wrote a Catechism in Huron for them. Legend has it that he was the one who gave the popular Indian name, Lacrosse, its name, as it reminded him of a bishops crosier.
In 1649, he was tortured to death by the Iroquois tribe, which made him a martyr. Unfortunately, by 1650 the Huron tribe was wiped out, along with all the work he put into that mission. All was not hopeless though, as what seemed like a total ecclesiastical disaster, served to motivate hundreds back in France to enter the ministry and to move many in Quebec to serve as missionaries. John de Brebeuf was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, for his devotion and faithfulness to God and His Church, even such devotion that cost him his life.
We all are called to such levels of devotion to God, though it may not lead to death. I know that many times we get so caught up in the business of life that it becomes hard to tell others about Christ, or to make a serious effort to love the unlovable, or to get involved in the life of the Church. Being busy and industrious is admirable, but like everything in life, there is excess. If your life is so busy that you cannot devote time to the Lord and His Church, then that is excessive and you should strive to change your lifestyle. Sometimes that is not entirely possible, as many people are simply trying to stay afloat. I have been there, I can assure you. Even still, we must tithe our time and energy to God, irregardless of what our lives are like. To neglect this is to neglect the worship of our Creator.
The Gospel reading for St. John de Brebeufs old feast day is Luke 16:19-31. The parable describes a rich man and a poor man. One lived a careless and selfish life, and the other did not. The rich man died and went to hell for his unrepentant lifestyle, while Lazarus was saved. Was it merely being rich that caused the one man to be separated from God? No, for it was clear by his plea with Abraham to send Lazarus to his family to ask them to repent, that the rich man never repented of his sins and did not live a God-honoring life.
What both St. John de Brebeuf and poor Lazarus can teach us is that in whatever station of life we find ourselves, and no matter what the situation is, we must be faithful to God, love others, serve His Church, and be repentant of our sins. Our age, our talents, our vocation, and our positions all are different, yet no person is less important than another in spreading and maintaining the Kingdom of Heaven.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
save for tomorrow