Today’s saint studied medicine but instead of caring for the physical needs of suffering humanity, he was drawn by God to care for their spiritual needs. He taught catechism of children and began studying for the priesthood. After his ordination he and two of his friends founded a new congregation, the Clerks Regular of St. Paul, also known as the Barnabites after one of St. Paul’s closest co-workers. Their goal was to reform society by means of preaching, penance, and parish missions. Let us ask St. Anthony Zaccaria to intercede with us today, praying that Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ. Our reflection is from part of a sermon that our saint once gave.
You can understand, my friends, how necessary the love of God is; and if you have a brain (as indeed you do), you will wish to know how to acquire this love as well as to find out whether it is in you. One and the same thing helps you acquire, expand, and increase it more and more, and reveals it as well when it is present. Can you guess what it is? It is love—the love of your neighbor.
God is a long way from our direct experience; God is spirit (John 4:24); God works in an invisible fashion. Thus, his spiritual activity cannot be seen except with the eyes of the mind and of the spirit, which in most people are blind, and in all are wavering and no longer accustomed to seeing. But man is approachable, man is body; and when we do something to him, the deed is seen. Now, since God has no need of our things, whereas man does, God has set man as a testing ground for us. In fact, if you have a friend very dear to you, you will also hold dear those things he loves and cherishes. Therefore, since God holds man in great esteem, as he has shown, you would show meanness and indeed little love for God, if you did not think very highly of what he bought at a great price.