Today we honor three Jesuit saints and two beatified Jesuits who labored in Europe to foster the faith at a time when many people were confused and in conflict. Their work of parish missions and retreats kept the faith. It’s a work that the Apostleship of Prayer continues today. We pray that through their intercession we may offer our prayers and labors for the Holy Father’s intentions this month. Our reflection is from Blessed John Paul II on the occasion of the 4th centenary of the birth of one of these Jesuits:
In a France which had only just recovered from the havoc caused by the religious wars that stained the end of the 16th century with blood, St John Francis Regis appears as a man providentially called by God to restore strength and courage to a people abandoned and left to its own devices. By the simplicity of his words and his unlimited charity, he touched the hearts of the lowly and humble to raise them to the love of God and lead them in Christ’s footsteps. The renown of his ministry as a preacher and confessor quickly spread. He could bring peace to souls and cities, reconciliation to families, convinced as he was of the power of Christ’s words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you” (Jn 14:27).
His activity was rooted in the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola. A member of the Society of Jesus, he knew in fact that without total submission to the divine will, the human being, the believer, the priest cannot be truly effective. “Apart from me you can do nothing”, said Jesus Christ (Jn 15:5). Still and more than ever today, such an attitude is an eminent example for all who want to tread in the footsteps of the Lord and entrust their life to him, that he may make it an offering in praise of his glory (cf. Eph 1:6). Bringing peace to hearts and societies appears as one of the essential missions of the end of the 20th century. While we face a certain loss of values, it is important to recall the bright truth of the Gospel. Just as John Francis Regis was able to do in his time, the faithful of our time are invited to put themselves in God’s hands with total trust, to be among themselves and among “all the peoples that are on the face of the earth” (Dt 7:6), joyful and generous witnesses to the Good News of salvation offered to all men.