Today is the feast of Saint John Mary Vianney. This great saint, the patron of diocesan priests, teaches us much about humility and perseverance.
Saint John Mary Vianney humbly recognized that he was not the brightest pupil, that he was, to use even his own description, slow in his studies. He had great difficulty learning his Latin. Other studies came hard to him as well. He did not give up. Helped by a wonderful mentor, Father Balley, who had worked as a carpenter during the French Revolution so as to hide his identify as a Catholic priest as he offered Mass in various hideaways and without any "communion" with the bishops and priests of the "constitutional church," John Mary Vianney persevered time and time and time again, praying to Saint John Francis Regis for help and guidance.
Yes, he was tempted to quit his studies, believing himself to unworthy of priestly ordination because of his lack of intellectual aptitude. Father Balley told him very pointedly, "You've decided to give in to the devil?" That knocked some sense into our Saint, and it should knock some sense into any young man today who might have experienced some difficulties and perhaps even gross injustices in their own pursuit of the priesthood. Never give up. We need priests, especially now in this time of apostasy and betrayal.
Always close to Our Lady, Saint John Mary Vianney was brought to the point of his priestly ordination on August 13, 1815. His superiors judged that his moral qualities had overcome any academic deficiencies that would have held others back from being ordained to the priesthood, and they were vindicated in their judgment by the long and devoted service that he gave to the people of Ars.
Oh yes, sure, he tried to run away from his people on three occasions, wanting to seek the solitude of a monastery. Each time, however, he responded to the pleas of his sheep who loved their shepherd, who spent so much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in the confessional to hear the confessions of the thousands of people who flocked from all over the world to the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus applied to their souls through his priestly ministry, and returned home to Ars.
Saint John Mary Vianney, who knew failure in his studies for the priesthood, was a firm supporter of the "patron of failures," Pauline Jaricot, the foundress of Society of the Propagation of the Faith and the Universal Living Rosary Association, and zealously devoted to the cause of our great wonderworker, Saint Philomena. Saint John Mary Vianney spent himself tirelessly in behalf of the flock that was entrusted to his pastoral care. We need to invoke his intercession so that our own true bishops and priests will be fortified by his example as they seek to serve us, the scattering and wandering sheep of this time of apostasy and betrayal, unto eternity.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for is.
Saint John Mary Vianney, the Cure of Ars, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence the Deacon, pray for us.
Saint Romanus, pray for us.