Nov 07th - Vincenzo Grossi
We often gravitate toward the big, flashy saints. We know their names, we know their lives, and they truly are worthy of our honor. But there are many saints, who labor in quiet, who live long lives of service and die naturally of old age; people who quietly devoted their lives to the Gospel, growing in holiness and love.
Vincenzo is such a saint. He is very new, dying in 1917 and canonized in 2015 (a day he shared with the likes of Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.), but he shows us that even today, amidst hustle and bustle or even war, we can quietly live out the Gospel, in peace and joy.
So let us commit Vincenzo to our daily lives, ask his guidance in how to live out the Gospel in the little things, in the daily moments of our lives.
Jesus is the Servant of the Lord. His life and death, marked by an attitude of utter service (cf. Philippians 2:7), were the cause of our salvation and the reconciliation of mankind with God. The kerygma, the heart of the Gospel, testifies that his death and resurrection fulfilled the prophecies of the Servant of the Lord. Saint Mark tells us how Jesus confronted the disciples James and John. Urged on by their mother, they wanted to sit at his right and left in God’s Kingdom (cf. Mark 10:37), claiming places of honor in accordance with their own hierarchical vision of the Kingdom. Their horizon was still clouded by illusions of earthly fulfillment. Jesus then gives a first “jolt” to their notions by speaking of his own earthly journey: “The cup that I drink you will drink… but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (v. 39-40). With the image of the cup, he assures the two that they can fully partake of his destiny of suffering, without, however, promising their sought-after places of honor. His response is to invite them to follow him along the path of love and service, and to reject the worldly temptation of seeking the first place and commanding others.
Faced with people who seek power and success in order to be noticed, who want their achievements and efforts to be acknowledged, the disciples are called to do the opposite. Jesus warns them: “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 42-44). These words show us that service is the way for authority to be exercised in the Christian community. Those who serve others and lack real prestige exercise genuine authority in the Church. Jesus calls us to see things differently, to pass from the thirst for power to the joy of quiet service, to suppress our instinctive desire to exercise power over others, and instead to exercise the virtue of humility.
...The men and women canonized today unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master. Saint Vincent Grossi was a zealous parish priest, ever attentive to the needs of his people, especially those of the young. For all he was concerned to break the bread of God’s word, and thus became a Good Samaritan to those in greatest need.
-- From The Canonization Homily for Vincenzo Grossi, Mary of The Immaculate Conception, Ludovico Martin and Maria Azelia Guérin
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