Dear Friends in Christ:
This weekend we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. John Vianney. Hopefully, each one of us knows the story of his life and is inspired by his life of holiness. More than that, I hope that all of us, in our prayers, regularly pray to St. John Vianney, for our parish, our family and ourselves. A while back, I ran into a friend of mine who has been very successful in business. He is smart, hard working, innovative and industrious. I was fascinated when he told me that he had started a new venture of being a consultant to assist business executives and corporations. Naturally, he was experiencing success in this new venture as well. Curious, I had asked who some of his clients were and I was shocked at the huge companies and corporations that he was helping. I was amazed when he shared with me some of the business insights he was able to share with his clients to make the executives and their companies more successful. What was so amazing was that the advice that he gave his clients (for a hefty fee, of course) that was so valuable and helpful in improving these companies, the employees and their bottom lines was not really business advice at all! It was spiritual advice. My friend is a devout Catholic and he took some of the principles of a healthy spiritual life and merely adapted them for his corporate clients and showed them how to apply it in their own daily lives, in the lives of their employees and co-workers and even for their customers. So what was this earth shattering key to spiritual and business success? It was so simple. His advice is to always have a spiritual companion and confidant! Have someone that you can talk to and share your dreams and aspirations, bounce ideas off of, who will be honest with you and who will hold you accountable. Have someone that you can trust. Earth shattering. NOT!
Too often, we falter when we turn to ourselves. When we try to do everything all by ourselves, when we hold everything inside, when we don’t trust or communicate, when we try to hide things, when there is no one to hold us accountable or to affirm us. This is true in our spiritual lives, in our marriages and families, in our friendships and, as my friend points out, in business and our professional lives as well. In the age of social media, it is a fascinating irony that real substantive communication and real understanding is decreasing as access to data and information is exploding. It is a great sadness and tragedy that people can have hundreds or even thousands of “facebook friends” and very few real friends.
Who are your real friends? As the old adage rightly states, the best way to have friends is to be a friend! In addition to those friends here on earth, we should also have heavenly friends and confidants. The saints are God’s friends who truly want to be our friends as well. The saints are not just holy card models. They are real life people who lived, suffered, laughed, struggled and believed like you and me. None of the saints were perfect in every way, or moment of their lives. Every saint in heaven was a sinner on earth and in need of redemption. What makes the saints, well, saints, is that they knew they couldn’t do everything by themselves. They knew they needed God and his grace and were willing to accept his love, his friendship, his mercy, forgiveness and grace and they desired that very same love and friendship in their lives and for others. The saints want to be our friends and they want us to be their friends! They want to walk with us on our earthly journey. They want to help us and to be our confidant.
Who is your favorite saint? Pray to her or him regularly. Have more than one good heavenly friend. Introduce your saint friends to your earthly friends. Confide in them, ask them to pray with you and for you. Thank them. Having the saints as our friends does not weaken our relationship with the Lord, it strengthens our relationship. The saints desire nothing more than that one day we will be with them in heaven loving and enjoying perfectly life with our best friend, the one who loves us most of all, God.
St. John Vianney, our dear heavenly friend and our wonderful patron, pray for us that we may do everything to grow closer to God and make others know his great love and mercy!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately