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*†ç Today is the Feast of St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862). How appropriate on a day where I have several dear friends suffering from physical pain or sorrowing over the pain of a loved one, and I am also praying for two LJ friends, brotherskeeper and momflower and her daughter.




St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862 ) was a passionist priest, the same order to which the newly sainted Belgian priest, Father Damien DeVuister (1840-1889) belonged. While Gabriel and Damien were contemporaries, Father Damien of Molokai was a hero of my childhood, a justifiably celebrated name for his call to help the sick and donate to the ostracized lepers of Hawaii and of the world the dignity and medical care every Child of God is due.

To this day, 110 years after his passing into eternity, Damien is consistently voted "most admired Belgian", well before sport celebrities like Eddy Merckx (another of my childhood heroes) in my now very much secularized home country.

Damien was just canonized by Benedict XVI in October 2009.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows died more than 25 years before Damien, even though he was only two years older. Damien himself lived only 49 years, dying from then incurable leprosy (now known as Hansen's disease).

Gabriel lead an apparently much quieter priestly mission in Italy than our fiery "Apostle to the lepers", living only four short years past his ordination at the tender age of 20. Suffering like Damien from yet another incurable ailment, tuberculosis, Gabriel was only 24 years old when he entered into eternity, offering his suffering and shortened for the sake of unrepentant sinners. Yet he was canonized in 1920, 48 years later, an earlier recognition of his spiritual healing gift than Damien, whose deep engagement in the world, the persecution he had to endure as a catholic priest, and in the communities and state affairs of Hawaii, delayed his canonization, which occurred finally last year, 110 years after entering into eternity.

The parallel in these two saints' lives - who from a worldly perspective could not be more strikingly different - is found in the very Passion of Our Lord they committed themselves to unite themselves to by their vocation.

Like Christ before us, they suffered with grace avoidable and now curable ailments and untimely death, in order to be close to the ones they were serving and bring salvation and eternal life to their lost brothers.

The following two excerpts from St. Paul of the Cross in his Primitive Regulations for Passionists nuns sums really well the calling and the life of quiet St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, and fiery Damien of Molokai as Passionist priests, and is a source of reflexion and prayer for the clergy in the Year of the Priest.

A Life of Intercession and Reparation

“Let them have at heart the conversion of sinners…the sanctification of the neighbor, freedom of souls in purgatory and the exaltation of Holy Mother Church. Let them pray also for the Sovereign Pontiff…and for all evangelical workers…

A Life of Worship and Self-Gift

“To this end, let them frequently offer to the Eternal Father the Passion of Jesus Christ. This being the very end of the Institude of the Daughters of the Cross and Passion of Jesus Christ.”



Isaiah 58: 1 - 9

6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,





http://www.charmedbygrace.com/FatherDamien/

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Emilio Vega Garcia
Mar. 8th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
correcting above information
Saint Damien of Molokai belongs to the Congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary / not passionist priest.
Emilio evegarcia234@msn.com
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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