Tuesday, August 04, 2009

St John Vianney was one of the first saints whose life I read in a full length biography. My dad had quite a good Catholic library, with many of the classics (including an early printing of the Merton's Seven Storey Mountain--the version is so new, it actually introduces Thomas Merton to the reader). So I helped myself to a slim volume, "Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, The Cure' of Ars," and began to read it in my room. Alone.
Not a good idea.
About the time "Old Scratch" banged on Vianney's rectory door (with no footprints anywhere to be seen, of course), I bolted nervously from my room into the most crowded part of the house. I kept reading the book, just not ... alone.
So St. John Vianney and I go way back. He was the saint who introduced me to the practice of asceticism, the spirit of prayer, and the spirit of ministry. (Today's first reading, with the example of Miriam's and Aaron's pettiness, is a bit of the opposite example: when ministry starts to be about you, you need some renewal.)


Mrs. Holly Hall said...

Can I ask what the practice of asceticism is?

just curious :)


xaipe said...

That would be the practice of self-control or self-discipline in pursuit of a spiritual goal. For an extreme example, think hermits in the desert, living on bread and water as a way to train their attention on the things of God. For a more down-to-earth example, think of nuns getting up at 5:30 in the morning...

Mrs. Holly Hall said...

kind of like no pain no gain, only the gain being closer to God.