January 6, 2020
(St. Andre Bessette, Religious)
Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 1_Jn_3:22–4:6
Jesus went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. Mt_4:12-17,23-25
Our Gospel reading today could not have been more appropriate for the Saint we commemorate today. St. Andre Bessette was God’s model for us – of the healing power of Jesus.
Born in the mid 1800’s, out of obscure poverty, a Canadian orphan at the age of 12, who had to forgo formal education in order to work for his living, Alfred Bessett himself was sickly from birth, yet lived to the blessed age of 91.
After multiple attempts at entrance into seminary in Montreal, Alfred, who took the name Andre after his Pastor, was admitted into Notre Dame College, and was assigned as the Door Keeper.
And yet, little did his superiors realize, that Andre was a Saint in the works. For, in the years to come, through Brother Andre’s prayers, and the intercession of St. Joseph, to whom he had a lifetime devotion, it was estimated that St. Andre had cured in excess of 10,000 illnesses of the people he loved and cared for.
St. Andre Bessett truly embodied the Spirit of God that St. John speaks of today. He would not let the spirit of a judgmental or condemning world influence, in the least, his love for God and God’s people.
On the very site where many of his miracles occurred, St. Andre built a small shrine dedicated to his patron, St. Joseph. Today, in its place stands the massive Oratory / Basilica of St. Joseph, in honor of both St. Joseph the step-father of Jesus, and its founder, the “Miracle Man of Montreal.”
It’s all simply a reminder to us, beloved, that when we dedicate our lives to God, when we follow His command of love, and even when we mess up and repent, despite the illnesses that will inevitably occur, He is our healer.
And regardless of how small, how insignificant, or how uneducated we may feel, we are and always will be His Saints.
St. John reminds us: “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1_Jn_4:4
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