May 10, 2016

Pope Benedict XVI on Saint Damien of Molokai

St. Damien of Molokai

The following remarks are from the homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the canonization Mass of Saint Damien. [St. Damien was canonized along with four others on October 11, 2009, at the Vatican in Rome.] 
Jozef De Veuster received the name of Damien in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. When he was 23 years old, in 1863, he left Flanders, the land of his birth, to proclaim the Gospel on the other side of the world in the Hawaiian Islands. His missionary activity, which gave him such joy, reached its peak in charity. Not without fear and repugnance, he chose to go to the Island of Molokai to serve the lepers who lived there, abandoned by all. Thus he was exposed to the disease from which they suffered. He felt at home with them. The servant of the Word consequently became a suffering servant, a leper with the lepers, for the last four years of his life. In order to follow Christ, Fr Damien not only left his homeland but also risked his health: therefore as the word of Jesus proclaimed to us in today's Gospel says he received eternal life (cf. Mk 10: 30). On this 20th anniversary of the Canonization of another Belgian Saint, Bro. Mutien-Marie, the Church in Belgium has once again come together to give thanks to God for the recognition of one of its sons as an authentic servant of God. Let us remember before this noble figure that it is charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable. Following in St Paul's footsteps, St Damien prompts us to choose the good warfare (cf. 1 Tim 1: 18), not the kind that brings division but the kind that gathers people together. ...
Prayer to St. Damien

St. Damien, on this your feast day, help us reach out to those who are disfigured by sin, the imperfect and the lacking. Let us care for the sick and the suffering. Let us comfort those who are broken, whether in body or in spirit. May we follow your example of selfless love in the imitation of Christ, every day of our life without ceasing. Amen.

No comments :