Nowhere else is God’s love for us more evident than when He sent His own Son to die for us. God loves us so much that He could not bear to see us lost to sin.
He wanted us to know the joy and blessing of being His children. Deciding to punish sin while still showing mercy, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to become man, to bear the punishment we deserved, in order that we could be free. Now that is love!
Now that He has us as His children once again, God our Father wants to be involved in our lives on a daily basis – as any loving parent would. He wants to work powerfully within each of us daily, to heal us, to break the patterns of sin we struggle with, and to make us like Himself. He wants us to become recognizable to others as His children. It should be of great encouragement for us to know that we are not alone; we have the Lord of the entire universe as our loving Father. He will protect, guide, and lead us through each day.
The best way to come to know our Father and develop a better relationship with Him is to set time aside each day to be with Him. In this special time of prayer, we will come to see how compassionate and wise our heavenly Father truly is.
Equally important is our participation in Mass and celebrating the gift of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In short, we should take advantage of every opportunity to encounter the One who loves us most.
We can bring our needs to our Father with confidence. We can be sure that God, Who gave His own Son for the life of the world, will certainly answer us when we call out to Him.
Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to pay the price of my sins, so that I could be your child again. I want to know you as my Father. Help me to trust you today. Let me see the signs of your love and favour today, and let your blessing rest on my family and friends and all those I deal with today – especially those I find difficult to love.
On January 7th, we, here in Canada, celebrated the feast day of our patron saint, St. Andre Bessette, or as he is also known, Brother Andre of Montreal. Our neighbours to the south, the Americans, celebrate St. Andre’s feast day on January 6th. Why the discrepancy one might ask? The reason is that the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on January 6th, and the Epiphany of the Lord being a universal feast day of the Church, supersedes any feast days (greater, or universally celebrated feast day in the Church’s calendar, in the hierarchy of feast days always trump the local Canadian feast days). As a result, the feast day of St. Andre Bessette is moved to the following day with the approval of the Holy See.
Because Canadian winters can be quite cold and harsh and are not ideal for pilgrims to make their pilgrimages to St. Joseph’s Oratory (the Church St. Andre built) the Canadian Bishops have petitioned the Holy See to have St. Andre’s feast day moved to a time when there are more favourable weather conditions to allow for pilgrimages. Let us hope for a favourable response sometime soon!
A bit about our patron saint: St. Andre was born as Alfred Bessette in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, in a small town near Montreal, as the eighth of twelve children, on August 9th, 1845. Since his birth, Brother Andre was always frail. When Alfred was nine years old his father tragically died in an accident, and three years later, his mother dying from tuberculosis, left him an orphan at the age of twelve.
Alfred made many attempts to find a stable job but each time he was either turned away or let go because he was small in stature, weak, and frail. When Alfred was working for his pastor, Fr. Andre Provencal, he recognized Alfred’s faith and vocation and sent him to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal with a letter to the superior of the Congregation stating, “I am sending you a saint.” Even with this extraordinary letter, Alfred was rejected because of his frail health. That is when the Archbishop of Montreal intervened. And as a result Alfred was accepted and became Brother Andre. Br. Andre was entrusted with the task of being porter at Notre Dame College, as well as sacristan, laundry worker, and messenger. For 40 years he remained faithful in his simple duties.
Br. Andre had a great confidence and devotion to St. Joseph, and many of his prayers were answered and many more received miraculous healings. Br. Andre was visited and befriended by so many pilgrims during his life time that when he died at the age of 91 in 1937, a million people came to mourn. St. Joseph’s Oratory, the Church he envisioned and completed 30 years after his passing, receives approximately 2 million visitors annually.
May St. Andre intercede from heaven for us so that we too may grow in confidence of St. Joseph and so that we will reach our dream of having our beautiful church building in Maple soon.