23 December – Saint of the day

Saint of the day

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December 23

St. John of Kanty


John was a country lad who made good in the big city and the big university of Kraków, Poland. After brilliant studies he was ordained a priest and became a professor of theology. The inevitable opposition which saints encounter led to his being ousted by rivals and sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz. An extremely humble man, he did his best, but his best was not to the liking of his parishioners. Besides, he was afraid of the responsibilities of his position. But in the end he won his people’s hearts. After some time he returned to Kraków and taught Scripture for the remainder of his life.

He was a humble man known to all the poor of Kraków for his kindness. His goods and his money were always at their disposal, and time and again they took advantage of him, but that never stopped him from giving it away. He kept only the money and clothes absolutely needed to support himself. He slept little, ate sparingly, eating no meat. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by the Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When he was warned to look after his health, he was quick to point out that, for all their austerity, the fathers of the desert lived remarkably long lives.


Something to contemplate:

John of Kanty had all the attributes of a “saintly” Christian: He was kind, humble and generous, he suffered opposition and led an austere and disciplined life. Most Christians, including myself, in our society today can understand all the ingredients except the last: We lean more toward the thinking that anything more than mild self-discipline seems to be reserved for athletes and ballet dancers.  Christmas is very near.  This saint gave away much more than he ever kept.  Do you think that maybe happiness in life is not about how many gifts we receive, but how much we can give away, especially of ourselves?  If this is true, do you think Jesus was happy?

(This reflection is a modification of Saint of the Day – St Anthony Messenger Press) 

Produced by the Franciscans and St. Anthony Messenger Press (www.franciscanradio.org)

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