Wednesday, August 4, 2010



For Parish Priests

Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest,
to win souls for God.
You endured years of toil and humiliation
to attain the Priesthood.
You became a priest truly after God's own heart,
outstanding in humulity and poverty;
prayer and mortification.
Totally devoted to the service of God's people.
The Church has exalted you as model
and patron saint of all Parish priests,
trusting that your example and prayers
will help them to live up
to the high dignity of their vocation
to be faithful servants of God's people,
to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour
Who came not to be served but to serve,
to give His Life in ransom for many.

Pray that God may give to His Church today
many more priests after His own Heart.
Pray for all the priests under your patronage,
that they may be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining modelss of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of God's Grace in the Sacraments.
May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary His Mother
be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.



Memorial of Saint John Vianney, priest

Reading 1
Jer 31:1-7

At that time, says the LORD,
I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel,
and they shall be my people.
Thus says the LORD:
The people that escaped the sword
have found favor in the desert.
As Israel comes forward to be given his rest,
the LORD appears to him from afar:
With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.
Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin Israel;
Carrying your festive tambourines,
you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
those who plant them shall enjoy the fruits.
Yes, a day will come when the watchmen
will call out on Mount Ephraim:
“Rise up, let us go to Zion,
to the LORD, our God.”

For thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm
Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12ab, 13

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Mt 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,

“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,

“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”

And her daughter was healed from that hour.


August 4

St. John Vianney (1786-1859)

A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.

His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.

Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.)

With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.

His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.

Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.

Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.


Thou madest all and dost control,
Lord, with thy touch divine.
Cast out the slumbers of the soul,
The rest that is not thine.
Look down, Eternal Holiness,
And wash the sins away,
Of those, who, rising to confess,
Outstrip the lingering day.
Our hearts and hands by night, O Lord,
We lift them in our need;
As holy Psalmist gives the word,
And holy Paul the deed.
Each sin to thee of years gone by,
Each hidden stain lies bare;
We shrink not from thine awful eye,
But pray that thou wouldst spare.
Grant this, O Father, Only Son
And Spirit, God of grace,
To whom all worship shall be done
In every time and place.

A prayer in sickness
Psalm 38 (39)

We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

I said, “I will watch my ways,
I will try not to sin in my speech.
I will set a guard on my mouth,
for as long as my enemies are standing against me.”
I stayed quiet and dumb, spoke neither evil nor good,
but my pain was renewed.
My heart grew hot within me,
and fire blazed in my thoughts.
Then I spoke out loud:
“Lord, make me know my end.
Let me know the number of my days,
so that I know how short my life is to be.”
All the length of my days is a handsbreadth or two,
the expanse of my life is as nothing before you.
For in your sight all men are nothingness:
man passes away, like a shadow.
Nothingness, although he is busy:
he builds up treasure, but who will collect it?

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
Psalm 38 (39)

Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.

What, now, can I look forward to, Lord?
My hope is in you.
Rescue me from all my sins,
do not make me a thing for fools to laugh at.
I have sworn to be dumb, I will not open my mouth:
for it is at your hands that I am suffering.
Aim your blows away from me,
for I am crushed by the weight of your hand.
You rebuke and chastise us for our sins.
Like the moth you consume all we desire
– for all men are nothingness.
Listen, Lord, to my prayer:
turn your ear to my cries.
Do not be deaf to my weeping,
for I come as a stranger before you,
a wanderer like my fathers before me.
Turn away from me, give me respite,
before I leave this world,
before I am no more.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.
Psalm 51 (52)

Against calumny

But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
Why do you take pride in your malice,
you expert in evil-doing?
All day long you plan your traps,
your tongue is sharp as a razor –
you master of deceit!
You have chosen malice over kindness;
you speak lies rather than the truth;
your tongue is in love with every deceit.
For all this, in the end God will destroy you.
He will tear you out and expel you from your dwelling,
uproot you from the land of the living.
The upright will see and be struck with awe:
they will deride the evil-doer.
“Here is the man who did not make God his refuge,
but put his hope in the abundance of his riches
and in the power of his stratagems.”
But I flourish like an olive in the palace of God.
I hope in the kindness of God,
for ever, and through all ages.
I shall praise you for all time for what you have done.
I shall put my hope in your name and in its goodness
in the sight of your chosen ones.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
My soul waits for his word;
– my soul puts its hope in the Lord.

Amos 9:1-15

I saw the Lord standing at the side of the altar.
‘Strike the capitals’ he said ‘and let the roof tumble down!
I mean to break their heads, every one,
and all who remain I will put to the sword;
not one shall get away,
not one escape.
Should they burrow their way down to Sheol,
my hand shall haul them out;
should they scale the heavens,
I will drag them down;
should they hide on Carmel’s peak,
there I will track them down and catch them;
should they hide from my sight on the sea bed,
I will tell the Dragon to bite them there;
should they go into exile driven before their enemies,
I will order the sword to slaughter them there;
and my eyes will be on them
for their misfortune, not their good.’
The Lord, the Lord of Hosts –
he touches the earth and it melts,
and all its inhabitants mourn;
it all heaves, like the Nile,
and subsides, like the river of Egypt.
He has built his high dwelling place in the heavens
and supported his vault on the earth;
he summons the waters of the sea
and pours them over the land.
“The Lord” is his name.
‘Are not you and the Cushites all the same to me,
sons of Israel? – it is the Lord who speaks.
Did not I, who brought Israel out of the land of Egypt,
bring the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Aramaeans from Kir?
Now, my eyes are turned on the sinful kingdom,
to wipe it off the face of the earth.
‘Yet I am not going to destroy
the House of Jacob completely – it is the Lord who speaks.
For now I will issue orders
and shake the House of Israel among all the nations,
as you shake a sieve
so that not one pebble can fall on the ground.
All the sinners of my people are going to perish by the sword,
all those who say,
“No misfortune will ever touch us, nor even come anywhere near us.”
‘That day I will re-erect the tottering hut of David,
make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins
and rebuild it as it was in the days of old,
so that they can conquer the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that belonged to me.
It is the Lord who speaks, and he will carry this out.
‘The days are coming now – it is the Lord who speaks –
when harvest will follow directly after ploughing,
the treading of grapes soon after sowing,
when the mountains will run with new wine
and the hills all flow with it.
I mean to restore the fortunes of my people Israel;
they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them,
plant vineyards and drink their wine,
dig gardens and eat their produce.
I will plant them in their own country,
never to be rooted up again
out of the land I have given them,
says the Lord, your God.’


I shall return and rebuild the House of David, says the Lord. I shall restore the House of David, so that all men, all the pagans consecrated to my name, will look for the Lord.

God has arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans, since the scriptures say: I shall restore the House of David, so that all men, all the pagans consecrated to my name, will look for the Lord.

A Catechisn on prayer, by St John Mary Vianney

The noble task of man, to pray and to love

Consider, children, a Christian’s treasure is not on earth, it is in heaven. Well then, our thoughts should turn to where our treasure is.

Man has a noble task: that of prayer and love. To pray and to love, that is the happiness of man on earth.

Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvellous light. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax moulded into one; they cannot any more be separated. It is a very wonderful thing, this union of God with his insignificant creature, a happiness passing all understanding.

We had deserved to be left incapable of praying; but God in his goodness has permitted us to speak to him. Our prayer is an incense that is delightful to God.

My children, your hearts are small, but prayer enlarges them and renders them capable of loving God. Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an overflowing of heaven. It never leaves us without sweetness; it is like honey, it descends into the soul and sweetens everything. In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.

Prayer makes time seem to pass quickly, and so pleasantly that one fails to notice how long it is. When I was parish priest of Bresse, once almost all my colleagues were ill, and as I made long journeys I used to pray to God, and, I assure you, the time did not seem long to me. There are those who lose themselves in prayer, like a fish in water, because they are absorbed in God. There is no division in their hearts. How I love those noble souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette saw our Lord and spoke to him as we speak to one another.

As for ourselves, how often do we come to church without thinking what we are going to do or for what we are going to ask.

And yet, when we go to call upon someone, we have no difficulty in remembering why it was we came. Some appear as if they were about to say to God: ‘I am just going to say a couple of words, so I can get away quickly.’ I often think that when we come to adore our Lord we should get all we ask if we asked for it with a lively faith and a pure heart.


Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome: an eternal glory which far outweighs our distress.

Things no eye has seen, no ear has heard, things beyond our imagining — all these have been prepared by God for those who love him: an eternal glory which far outweighs our distress.

Almighty and merciful God, by your grace Saint John Mary Vianney was remarkable for his eal as priest and pastor.

Help us by his example and prayers to win our brethren for Christ by love, and to share with them in eternal glory.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.