Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 28, 2009

Simple Wisdom

Father Richard Kelley,our pastor, left September 26th for Ars in France, the little town where St. Jean-Marie Vianney, more popularly know as the Cure d’Ars, had his church and worked his work among the good people who came from all around to see and hear him.  I have read The Diary of A Country Priest, the novel by Bernanos about a good French priest, of which some say the main character is based in part on the life of St. Jean Vianney.  I don’t know about that at all, and wouldn’t venture a guess.  Nonetheless, reading that book is well worth the effort!   Deliberately learning about this saint’s life seems to me even more worth while.

Certainly, learning about Vianney’s family life — his childhood, the role his mother and father played in forming him, introducing him to the faith, and encouraging his growth in the knowledge of God, our Mother Mary —  the life of simple love that he led while in their care is, in the best sense of the words, edifying and educational.  (That’s a big sentence, and I hope all the effort I put into building it will bear fruit.  It will, I guess, if a few of you who read it are prompted to do as the saint’s parents did!)

I remember my own growing up with not a little tender affection for my parents who were, at least in my early years, concerned to show me a living faith.  Even so, learning how the Vianney family lived, and the kind of attention and affection he received from his parents made me wish my own childhood could have been more like that.  More to the point, it made me wish I could have been the kind of parent his parents were.

Despite what St. Jean-Marie learned so easily and naturally from the loving example of his parents, anyone who knows anything about the man chosen to be the patron saint of all priests knows that he was thought to be a bit of a slow learner, possibly below average in intelligence.  That’s the common perception.  And it is very true that he was on the edge scholastically during his seminary years  Many believed that he wouldn’t make it.

The facts of his life after ordination may somewhat belie that opinion, since the Cure d’Ars was sought out by people from all walks of life as a confessor and spiritual director.  One biographer explains it all by saying that Jean Vianney was so advanced in wisdom that it was hard for him to “study” those things he knew almost by nature, and harder still to bend a mind and heart so attuned to what he already so thoroughly knew, to the dryness of academics.  Whatever the explanation, his slowness in the classroom frustrated the folks who had to teach him there things they thought necessary.

And, I suspect, his academic slowness must have frustrated the saint himself whose mind and soul were already well advanced in the knowledge of things that are vital to a lively and fruitful relation with God.  These would be things which are, somehow, learned before anyone begins to think a child is ready for teaching; while a child is judged to have too simple a mind for “real learning”.  Love and trust come to mind when I think what that kind of learning this might be, subjects which, it is said, cannot be taught.  (I wonder.)

Wonder makes me think of a few other “simple” saints, Ven. Solanus Casey being one of them.  St. Pio is another who comes to mind.  Nor should I forget such others as St. Francis of Assissi, Therese of Lisieux and Catherine of Siena (the latter two having been proclaimed Doctors (teachers) of the Church).

It makes me think finally of Jesus, who never took a class in anything that I know of, except what was taught him by His mother and St. Joseph.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. URGING PEOPLE TO LEARN ABOUT THE CURE D’ARS IS SOUND ADVICE.I OWN A LITTLE PAMPHLET OF SNIPPETS FROM HIS SERMONS,WHICH I USE FOR BEDTIME READING.THEY MAKE ME HAPPY AS WELL AS EDIFIED.I SLEEP WELL.THE SAYINGS GIVE ME ONE SPECIAL CONVICTION:TO TEACH TRUST AND LOVE,ONE MUST BE TRUSTING AND LOVING .YOU CAN’T FAKE IT.THEY ARE GIFTS OF GOD.JIM MULLAN

  2. Is one able to *teach* a gift? Perhaps the proper use of it is a better way to put the question. And that, I think, is only done through example. All sorts of things occur to me now. Things which should have occurred to me forty years ago…alas.

  3. perhaps “convey”is the best verb re;trust and love.


Categories

%d bloggers like this: