St. John of Kanty
by Catholic.org | Source: Catholic.net
people of Olkusz in Bohemia in 1431 had every reason to be suspicious of their new pastor. They knew
what a Cracow professor would think of their small rural town. But even more insulting, their town
was once again being used as a dumping ground for a priest who was "in disgrace."
John had indeed been kicked
out of his university position -- unjustly. Rivals who resented John's popularity with the students
had cooked up a false charge against him. John was not even allowed to appear at his own hearing or
testify in his own defense. So at age 41, he was shipped off to be an apprentice pastor.
Certainly no one would have
blamed John if he was furious at such injustice. However, he was determined that his new
parishioners would not suffer because of what he happened to him.
But there was no overnight miracle waiting of
him in Olkusz. He was nervous and afraid of his new responsibilities. And, despite the energy he put
into his new job, the parishioners remained hostile. But John's plan was very simple, and came not
from the mind but from the heart. He let his genuine interest and concern for these people show in
everything he did. Despite working for years without any sign of success, he was very careful not to
demonstrate impatience or anger. He knew that people could never be bullied into love, so he gave
them what he hoped they would find in themselves.
After eight years, he was exonerated and
transferred back to Cracow. He had been so successful that these once-hostile people followed him
several miles down the road, begging him to stay.
For the rest of his life, he was professor of
sacred Scripture at the university. He was so well-liked that he was often invited to dinner with
nobility. Once, he was turned away at the door by a servant who thought John's cassock was too
frayed. John didn't argue but went home, changed into a new cassock, and returned. During the meal,
a servant spilled a dish on John's new clothes. "No matter," he joked. "My clothes deserve some
dinner, too. If it hadn't been for them I wouldn't be here at all."
Once John was sitting down to dinner when he
saw a beggar walk by outside. He jumped up immediately, ran out, and gave the beggar the food in his
bowl. He asked no questions, made no demands. He just saw someone in need and helped with what he
his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience,
kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause."
In His Footsteps:
John put all his effort
into a new and frightening job, that others might have considered beneath him. Today do something
you have never done before or do something in a new way, perhaps something that has frightened you
or you felt was beneath you. This can be something as simple as trying a different type of prayer or
as complex as serving others in a new way.
John of Kanty, you were unjustly fired from your work. Please pray for those who are jobless or in
danger of losing their jobs that they may find work that is fulfilling in every way. Guide us to
ways to help those looking for work. Amen