When Son and I traveled to the Far, Far North a few weeks ago, we walked in the forest, and I fussed about the black flies getting stuck in my hair biting and hurting, leaving behind very itchy, bloody bite marks;  and I still have some welts left on the back of my neck.   And mosquitoes. . . .

isaacBut here is a man who really knows the bites and stings of black flies and mosquitoes.   And other buzzing, swarming things.   And lice.  And other vermin in his clothes and blankets and robes.   Snakes, worms, and maggots.   Foul water and stale food.   He tramped off into the deer paths of the northern forests in Quebec, Ontario, and New York state, up and down hills,  slipping and sliding on the wet leaves, the mud, the uneven ground, fording ice cold streams with soaking wet shoes and wet, muddy leggings, and skin shredded by the thorns and scratchy underbrush.

15, 20 miles a day.    He must have had a powerful reason to continue on that way.

It was to get somewhere,  to get to the villages of the American forest dwellers, because he had something wonderful to tell them.

He didn’t write about the itches and bites and cuts and infections, discomfort and fatigue.   Instead,  his words are full of eagerness and happiness.    He tells of joy and  light and the wonderful Truth that gives to each man eternal life, eternal peace with God, and he could hardly wait to tell the Huron people and the Algonquins and the Iroquois nations.     He knows that they are just as likely to take him prisoner as to hear what he has to say, and the imprisonment would be surely followed  by days of extreme torture and then being burned or sliced to death.

And this all eventually happened to him, but he never lost his confidence in God’s loving care, nor his confidence that some, just some, of the forest people will hear him and believe, and their souls would come to know the love and peace and joy of God’s saving grace.

And that’s the story that went through my mind today as I heard the beginning of our Readings,  which are the same Readings that this man,  St. Isaac Jogues,  would have heard on this same Sunday:   “Brethren!”  (St Paul writes)   ” Such confidence we have through Christ towards God.”   (II Corinthians 3:4)

He was called to be a missionary, and I am called to a different station in life,  but here is the same confidence we should have that Christ has made peace with God for us, and wherever we go,   we need not be timid to speak nor ashamed of what we know.

St Isaac Jogues heard these words and made it a part of his character – to speak to people with confidence in the words he was speaking.

We have the same Faith.

He lived as our nation had just the earliest possibility of developing and growing,  with all its new and raw and dangerous problems.   I live as our nation has given up all the wonderful things it had, and is now content with devolving and dying, with all the dangerous and deadly problems that that produces.

But we have the same Faith.

I’ve been in a little funk lately, as I wrote last time….concentrating on the bug bites and fatigue, so to speak, getting lost in the problems.     Now, thanks to our  Readings today,  I remember that I also have  the Faith,   the answers,  the wonderful Truth of Light and Life and Peace and Hope, and there is no reason I can’t approach these problems with confidence.

The same confidence available to all.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Analysis, saint, Sunday Readings


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3 Comments on “12th SUNDAY P.P. – CONFIDENCE!!”

  1. I thought you had a dissertation on Bishop Baraga …
    It’s amazing to me that the U.P. had become well-known in the 1600’s …. Because of it’s accessibility by water AND the Catholic priests coming down from Canada!

  2. Ha Ha !! Was it the “black flies” and the “mosquitoes” that gave you that idea??? As much as I want to travel to upstate New York, to walk on ground made holy by St. Isaac JOgues and friends, I realize I can “travel in the footsteps of the Blackrobes” in the U.P. as well. Interestingly, I know personally some Ojibwa and some Chippewa; they are college educated professionals – and still Catholic. The Blackrobes began a good thing.

  3. […] wrote about them in the 16th century.     I also have a great respect for and devotion to St. Isaac Jogues, who was martyred by some in the Huron Nation in the 17th century, and so these Indian names keep […]

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