Yesterday was the Feast of St. Peter Chanel.
He was a missionary priest on the island of FUTUNA in Oceania. He laboured hard in spreading the Gospel. The local leader became jealous of his work and the number of people becoming Christians, including the leader’s son. He had him killed to stop his work.
St. Peter suffered many hardships in the course of his mission. He is known to have said “In such a difficult mission one has to be holy”.
Not long after he died the whole Island became Christian, as did people on many Islands of Oceania.
As Christians we are called to be holy. Holiness is about trust, faith and commitment. It is about seeking first the Kingdom of God.
It is not always easy to live by our Christian beliefs. Sometimes there is a cost attached to day-by-day staying faithful. This faithfulness can involve hard work in looking after children and other members of the family. Reacting in a Christian manner to complex and difficult relationships. Holiness is for all, not just for some monks or those in religious life.
All the people of God are called to be a holy people. This does not translate to mean ‘perfect’ people. We all have our weaknesses, and we are all flawed in some way.
Our Baptism connects us with Christ in a very real way. It is the Holiness of Christ that enables us to be holy.
With His help we can be in for ‘the long haul’. It is about being committed to staying faithful, not dropping the bundle because of mistakes.
Doing the small everyday things well, doing them with Christ is our path to holiness. We are called to blossom wherever God plants us.
St. Peter Chanel stayed faithful in the mission given to him. He knew that he could only do this by being faithful to Jesus. He needed to keep reminding himself of this mission through prayer, so that he could not lose focus. Even though he was challenged, he continued to be clear about his priorities.
I repeat, we all make mistakes, we all need to continue renewing our commitment to living our Christian life.
I repeat, we cannot do this by ourselves.
Certainly, we need to co-operate with the Grace of God acting within us, doing so much more that we can dream or imagine for us.
Wiping the floor with a smile, even though we feel like reacting differently after a child disobeys and spills a bottle of milk. Smiling at a stranger. Choosing not to gossip, doing so many other things with love, is a path to holiness!
God Bless you today.
Bishop of Darwin