By Karen Schwaner Sheehy
About three months back, I watched in gratitude as my sixteen-year old son, Joseph, was Confirmed. Today’s saint, and Joseph’s Confirmation Patron, is St. Francis De Sales, a perfect role model for the new evangelization. As a spiritual director, St. Francis taught that every Christian, no matter his or her state of life, gender or vocation, was called to an ordinary life of Christian devotion, a life of personal holiness modeled after Jesus. These teachings, outlined in his Introduction to the Devout Life, forged the way for Vatican II’s universal call to holiness.
During Joseph’s Confirmation, I marveled at his emotional, spiritual and behavioral growth over the last few years. You see, since his freshman year, he had been away from home, working and studying along-side many young Catholic men at a functional cattle ranch in Cody, Wyoming. There, he was becoming the man God had created him to be. The hard work, clean mountain air, daily rosaries, evening vespers, and self-paced home school curriculum proved the perfect answer for my son’s many learning challenges and special needs. Although the decision to send him away for school had been excruciating, I thank God, every day, for the necessary strength and grace to follow His promptings.
In today’s Gospel, we read about the sower and the seeds, the varied responses to God’s word, and subsequent fruit born by each, (Mark 4:3-20). Here, Jesus calls for true hearing and seeing, and for perseverance during life’s many distractions or hardships, (Mk 4:14-20). The life of St. Francis represents each of the Gospel’s spotlighted growing conditions. As a child, he sensed a divine call to the priesthood. Despite this, however, he did as his father directed, enrolled in college, received a doctorate in law, and studied fencing and riding as well. The Lord, for His part, continued to call Francis to the priesthood. Three times he was thrown from his horse, only to find his sword and scabbard on the ground in the shape of a cross. Finally, Francis did as the Lord directed. St Francis was ordained a priest and eventually became Bishop of Vienna. His spiritual direction and writings for laity changed the way ordinary Catholics lived.
Excerpt from my son’s Confirmation paper:
“Like St. Francis, I have struggled to hear the voice of God in my life. As I ride my horse through the beautiful Wyoming countryside, I slowly hear His words. These words, echoed through the story of St Francis and my various spiritual mentors, are calling me to a simple life filled with love of God and neighbor. This I can do, I can live a simple life of Christian devotion, so I say yes to Confirmation and to the Confirmation name of St. Francis De Sales.”
Are you prepared to receive and act upon the word of the Lord, to give your yes and become an advocate for the faith?
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com