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‘It is always springtime in a soul united to God’

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‘It is always springtime in a soul united to God’

‘Saints never grow old,’ said John Paul II, ‘they never become figures of the past, men and women of ‘yesterday’. On the contrary, they are always men and women of the future, witnesses of a world to come.’ 1

Take today’s saint, John Vianney, for example. Even now, he still touches the lives of souls seeking God:  His words ‘it is always springtime in a soul united to God‘ not only emphasise the eternal present of the Communion of Saints, but are available on a rather snazzy Zazzle T-Shirt – how cool is that?!  Seriously though, despite looking like the first Dr Who, William Hartnell2  and dying over 150 years ago, I find it easy to admire him today because he struggled academically throughout his years as a seminarian and then when he was eventually given the parish of Ars, it was a quiet backwater place, with nothing to draw the eye: ‘all’ he had to recommend him was his authentically holy life.  Those words of Our Lord’s to St Paul could have been written for him:

‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9).

St John Vianney could have settled down to comfortable mediocrity but –  through channelling the grace of God – he worked with what he had and set to work to prepare the inhabitants of the little town of Ars for heaven.  As you’ll know (not least of all because you’ll have read it in last year’s post), it was eventually not only Ars he ministered to, but people from all over France and beyond.  His mystical knowledge of penitents’ souls, the example of his own holy life and his continual pointing out that eternity is a long time to spend in the wrong place brought many thousand of souls back to God during his lifetime.

As Blessed John Paul II has said, though, he is not merely a figure of the past but a man of the future.  He points from the past to the future that lies beyond us, to eternity – the home for which we are made:

‘See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honours will pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in Heaven.’3

St John Vianney, patron of Parish Priests, pray for our Parish Priests and pray for us!

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1 during a homily in Lisieux in 1980

2 does that make him a figure of the past or of the future, though, ‘hmmm‘?

3 John Vianney’s Catechetical Instructions chapter 1

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