Thoughts for December 21 (Feast of St Peter Canisius) from Fr Willie Doyle

St Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church

Jesus is very gentle but very firm with me. He has shown me that I must not shrink from what He wants. He is ever near, urging me in the same direction; you know where His divine face was turned so constantly during life and at its close. I am not afraid of sacrifice; He has given me a most intense love for suffering and humiliation, but why, oh why, did He make me so wretchedly weak that I cannot take one step if His strong arm is not around me?

COMMENT: If Fr Doyle was so aware of his own weakness and inability to move forward without Divine assistance, how much more do we need grace to help us on our journey? We should never underestimate the power of this grace; a quick review of the letter Fr Doyle wrote to his sister in December 1916 (and published here on December 19), shows a man transformed by the power of God’s grace, ready and willing to accept God’s will, even if it run contrary to our own legitimate desires.

We should take heart this week as we prepare for Christmas. God is with us. He assumed our lowly human condition with all of its physical weaknesses and sufferings in order to save us. He understands our needs and will not be slow to assist us.

Today is the feast of the great Jesuit saint and Doctor of the Church St Peter Canisius. His remarkable life of hard work, preaching and teaching, always with charity and respect, did so much to promote the faith in northern and central Europe during the Catholic Reformation. Like all those who serve Him, Jesus guided this great saint and provided for him the graces needed to make his work bear fruit.

Despite St Peter’s undoubted sanctity and importance in the Catholic Reformation, he wasn’t beatified until more than 250 years after his death. Sometimes it just takes time for these things to work themselves out. Perhaps Fr Doyle’s time will also come one day…

You may be interested in reading more about St Peter Canisius here: http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Saints/Saints_019.htm

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