I very much appreciate the painting of the angel during the proclamation of the vocation of Isaiah as being the background image for this video. Great choice Father Mark.
I have spoken and written many times about my own little illumination of conscience after I asked my Guardian Angel to help with my examination of conscience. Unlike the Patron Saint of Priests featured in the video above, Saint John Vianney, who had no fear, I was fearful enough to ask my guardian angel to be gentle in this illumination. And still it was like being hit with clarity so hard as to throw me into a kind of PTSD event, repeatedly.
It wasn’t all at once. But it was like my guardian angel was saying: “Remember this?” (wham!) and then after a minute, “Remember that? (wham!), and then after a minute, “Remember this other thing? (wham!)” And so on. Yikes! I have a great confessor. Jesus is good and kind. The angels rejoice.
Should you do this, just be sure to ask your guardian angel to be gentle with you, lest you get a heart attack and die unconfessed. Even having done this, mind you, I’m still way too afraid to do as Saint John Vianney did. And even he repented right away and asked our dear Lord to take the piercing illumination away. And you still wonder why it is that Saint John Vianney did such great penances? I feel like a little ant next to him.
There’s been a monkey on my back since last year, 2018, when – out of the blue – I was contacted by Father Patrice Chocholski, Rector of the Shrine of Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney in Ars-sur-Formans. As you know, his famed predecessor is the patron saint of priests, the Curé d’Ars, as far as I know, the only canonized priest who lived and died as a diocesan priest (though even he was also a T.O.S.F.). Sanctity is not easy for mere diocesan parish priests!
Father Chocholski was after me because Pope Francis has instituted me a Missionary of Mercy, and therefore as someone who is given to hearing confessions as much as this is possible. That’s what Father Chocholski needed: confessors! Saint John Vianney spent his life as a priest in the confessional. When people visit the Shrine in Ars they want to go to confession. This isn’t easy throughout the rest of France as there are so few priests, and so few among them hearing confessions. Two to three churches every day are attacked in France. No one speaks of this. The situation is dire.
Having put this to my ecclesiastical superiors, I awaited a decision, and waited, until just the other day. I pushed for an answer given that I would need to start on a religious worker visa, given that airline tickets would soon skyrocket in price for the Summer. A replacement for me in the parish here was sought, but as time went on it didn’t look good. In fact, just these past couple of weeks told the story, with various religious communities leaving parishes. This left the diocese stretched for resources. In the face of this the answer was given: “Not this year.”
So, what that means is, “Yes, this year, Andrews will be my Ars.” A profound feeling of being at home came over me.
All the same, at this late stage, I hope Father Chocholski might be able to find an English speaking confessor for the Shrine in Ars… Hail Mary…
Meanwhile, the renovation of the confessional is making good progress in the parish here. More on that later.
Vianney: “Are you repentant of not being repentant?”
Vianney: “I absolve you from your sins…”
I agree entirely. We are not our fallen feelings and emotions. Our Lord graces us to repent with an act of the will even over against fallen feelings and emotions. Just because we have a cross to carry with temptation and distraction doesn’t mean we can’t at the very same time love God and be great saints!