I was brought to tears this morning upon reading about St. John of Matha, founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Ransom of Captives, whose feast day we celebrate on this 8th day of February.
While celebrating his first Mass in the Bishop’s chapel in the presence of the Prelate and several assistants, there appeared to John an Angel clad in a white and brilliant robe. He had on his breast a red and blue cross, and his arms were stretched out, crossed one above the other, over two captives, one a Christian, the other a Moor. Falling into an ecstasy at this sight, the John immediately understood that he was called to ransom captives from the infidels.
St. John of Matha worked tirelessly with Felix of Valois to secure the freedom of Christians held captives by the Saracens. He also established monasteries and hospitals. His was a life dedicated to corporal and spiritual works of charity.
Dom Prosper Gueranger on St. John of Matha:
Teach us the secret of ardent charity. Is it possible that we can see a soul in danger of being lost, and remain indifferent? Have we forgotten the divine promise, told us by the Apostle: “He that causes a sinner to be converted from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of his own sins”? (James v. 20). Get us also a tender compassion for such as are in bodily suffering and poverty, so that we may be generous in comforting them under these trials which are but too often an occasion of their blaspheming Providence. Dear friend and Liberator of slaves! Pray, during this holy Season, for those who groan under the captivity of sin and Satan: for those, especially, who, taken with the frenzy of earthly pleasures, feel not the weight of their chains but sleep on peacefully through their slavery. Ransom them by your prayers, convert them to the Lord their God, lead them back to the land of freedom. Pray for France which was your country, and save her from infidelity.
Read the entire post and reflect on it.
I cried this morning after reading this because I had just prayed five decades of the Rosary and was feeling good about myself, too good, in fact. I had said my morning prayers, thanked Our Lord that I’m alive, healthy in mind and body, and praying everyday. Yet, what have I done compared to this great saint? Here I am, sitting comfortably under a sun umbrella by a sandy beach in Southeast Asia. Yes, I know, we are called to do different things. No angel has appeared to me, instructing me to ransom captives or establish a convent.
I struggle everyday with the feeling that I am not doing enough. But at the same time I tell Our Lord how grateful I am that I’m even praying. I came back to the Church two years ago, after 40 years away (read my post on the miracle that brought me back to the Catholic Church).
I am so grateful to have been given another chance. Everyday I pray the 15 decades of the Rosary and I pray the last of the Divine Office, Completorium before I go to bed. I thank Our Lord for everything: for giving me a love for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of prayer and meditation, and a fascination for the lives of the Saints, a love for spiritual reading; and for reminding me at different points during the day, to examine my conscience.
Before the miracle that brought me back to the Church, I never thought about the saints or about repentance. But He cured my blindness and opened my eyes and my mind to the Truth. And yet . . . I feel I should be doing more. I have donated money to support traditional Catholic orders and priests, and to missions in other countries. And yet . . . I feel there is something missing and I pray everyday that I be given a clear instruction on what I need to do.
Does anyone else feel this way?