E-mails -- August 3
Saint Germanus of Auxerre, (central
(entered heaven in
I am glad to hear that your little business is not so
little anymore; it is gratifying to see my young niece show such ingenuity and determination. Most
young men and women your age wait for good things to happen to them; you have learned to be the
instigator of good things. Congratulations.
I often wonder why we don´t apply the same
creative energy to our efforts at spreading Christ´s Kingdom, and I would be interested to hear your
thoughts on the matter. After all, the results of a successful project of evangelization (the
salvation of even one soul) far outweigh the results of the most successful business project (an
increase of material prosperity for a large number of people). When I think of our Church´s great
saints, like today´s saint, for instance, I can´t help wondering how many Catholics through the
centuries could have been great saints if only they had applied their economic or political
shrewdness to the work of building up the Kingdom.
Germanus, born in central France, began
his brilliant political career by studying law in Rome, where he married and was subsequently
appointed governor of the outlying Roman provinces in Gaul (that´s what they called France back
then). He was such a popular and successful governor, that when the bishop of the diocese died, the
people clamored for Germanus to be appointed his successor, which, much against his personal
preferences, he was (in those days, bishops were not only spiritual fathers, but in many cases, they
looked after their people´s temporal welfare as well). Immediately, out of a deep sense of
obligation to fulfill his new position worthily, he changed his life style, spending his personal
fortune as well as his time in beautifying churches and serving the poor. Soon the Pope sent him and
another bishop (St Lupus) on a special mission to root out the Pelagian heresy from Great Britain.
(That´s the heresy that denies original sin and the necessity of grace for salvation.) Through
tireless preaching, numerous miracles, and the example of his undying charity, St Germanus helped
win Britain´s Christians back to the true faith. A few years later, however, the heresy made a
comeback, and Germanus was sent back to finish the job. This time he obliterated the heresy
completely, converting its propagators and establishing schools for clergy in order to insure
lasting purity of the faith. On this trip, he was invited to be chaplain to the British army, which
was engaged in a defensive campaign against the ferocious Scots. Germanus spent his time catechizing
the pagan soldiers, until the vast majority decided to receive baptism at Easter.
thereafter, Germanus also came to their military rescue, gathering the small British force in a
hidden mountain valley near a field where the advancing Scots were about to appear. When they showed
up, the saint led his soldiers in a booming cry of "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia," which the valley
walls so amplified as to give the impression that the Brits were a vast army. The Scots dropped
their weapons and fled for their lives – a complete victory without the shedding of blood. Till the
end, Germanus marshaled all his worldly wisdom in the service of his otherworldly mission, becoming
one of Europe´s most popular and effective evangelizers of all time.
I guess we should pray that
the best leaders of our great society get appointed bishops, right? Or perhaps it will be enough if
the leaders of tomorrow, like yourself, decide to channel their spirit of initiative not only into
secular affairs, but into all affairs – especially the everlasting ones.
read more about other Saints of the day, CLICK