How do we win hearts and minds? How do we evangelize? Is it with sword and whip or with compassion and empathy?
John approached it with a combination of spirituality and practicality.
John's success with the Huron people echoes in the success of the many Jesuits who made their way to North America to spread the Gospel.
His death (and theirs) also echoes the end of many of those who did.
But his death was not loss, because as Paul states: "[But] whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and [the] sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:7-11)
Honor to the North American Martyrs! Pray for us!
• You must love these Huron, ransomed by the blood of the Son of God, as brothers.
• You must never keep the Indians waiting at the time of embarking.
• Carry a tinder-box or a piece of burning-glass, or both, to make fire for them during the day for smoking, and in the evening when it is necessary to camp; these little services win their hearts.
• Try to eat the little food they offer you, and eat all you can, for you may not eat again for hours.
• Eat as soon as day breaks, for Indians when on the road, eat only at the rising and the setting of the sun.
• Be prompt in embarking and disembarking and do not carry any water or sand into the canoe.
• Be the least troublesome to the Indians.
• Do not ask many questions; silence is golden.
• Bear with their imperfections, and you must try always to appear cheerful.
• Carry with you a half-gross of awls, two or three dozen little folding knives, and some plain and fancy beads with which to buy fish or other commodities from the nations you meet, in order to feast your Indian companions, and be sure to tell them from the outset that here is something with which to buy fish.
• Always carry something during the portages.
• Do not be ceremonious with the Indians.
• Do not begin to paddle unless you intend always to paddle.
• The Indians will keep later that opinion of you which they have formed during the trip.
• Always show any other Indians you meet on the way a cheerful face and show that you readily accept the fatigues of the journey.
-- de Brebeuf's Instructions to the Missionaries, 1637
Truth to Ponder
I decided to spend a year thinking about the Faith celebrated in the sanctoral calendar. There are also just some events, Scriptural, and other quotes that strike me on random days; or randomly on days, as the case may be.
Saint's Days by Month
Days by Entry