2nd DAY – GONE!

Notice all the dire predictions for 2018?

2018

“Each year will bring us changes and trials . . . .”

I expected to write yesterday,  “the 2nd day of January,”  but that day is gone!  Circumstances surprisingly changed and  ironically,  that was to be the theme of Jan. 2nd,  the saint for that day being a man who remained courageously faithful despite changing circumstances all his life.

St.  Fulgentius.  All the lessons I was going to bring out about his life came back like a boomerang onto me.  So maybe  I  better pay attention!

st f.jpg  Fulgentius’s first job as a young man was as a procurator,  in the days when the Roman emperors were still appointing procurators to do their minor administrative tasks.   It was like today’s equivalent to going to Washington DC to join the bureaucracy there.   Job security, if you don’t mind the tasks.  But a nice entry level job.   Who knows how high you can rise?

 

But Fulgentius was a good young man,  observant,  thoughtful, and of good character.  His main task was to collect taxes for his region –  but he began to hate the job.  The Empire was merciless and unforgiving about getting your taxes paid,  and the use to which those taxes were put   troubled the young man.

One day he heard a talk given by St. Austin,  a scholarly treatment of the Psalms.   Fulgentius immediately understood the truth of the words,   the historical plan of God for Jews and Gentiles alike, and above all,  the worthiness of this God to be worshiped and glorified and served, made clear in the Psalms.    Fulgentius became a Christian.

Now his service was to the Church, first, and not to the Empire, and he should have had a clear and easy pathway in his life,   but there were powerful enemies against the Christians,  the Arians who had their own idea of what Christians should believe in, and they had come to power.    At every turn, for many decades,  Fulgentius was blocked,  his plans thwarted and stopped,    made to move to another area,    falsely accused, and finally brutally punished, left bloody and bruised.

beatin g  Nearly half-dead,  the Arian leader of the area came to see him and offered to prosecute the man responsible for his nearly fatal beating.     Fulgentius would at least have his legal redress.

But by this time of his life, after all of life’s twists and turns, after all the negative challenges, Fulgentius had become a mature Christian,  holy, and Christ-like.  He replied that  “A Christian must not seek revenge in this world.   God knows how to right his servants’  wrongs.   If I should bring the punishment of man upon that priest,  I should lose my own reward with God.   And it would be a scandal to many little ones that a Catholic,  however unworthy he maybe,   should seek redress from an Arian.”

After this,  Fulgentius retired to a quiet island, and died shortly after.

The lesson of his life?   I quote Fr.  Alban Butler:      Each year may bring us fresh changes and trials;  let us learn from St. Fulgentius   to receive all that happens as from the hand of God,   and appointed for our salvation.

This year will bring may unexpected changes of circumstances. Even just paying attention to the news will be unsettling.     Our plans will not come to pass, our hopes and dreams will not come true,  and not all our work will  have rewards.   And other people will be the cause of it.

Anyway –  we work how we can,  when we can,  where we can —  the important things happen inside you, between you and God.

So what happened to my plans for an efficient new year, getting everything done just right?     Now that I am no longer in bed, doubled up with pain,  no more wobbly legs,  and able to eat a little,    I guess I just adjust to a couple lost days and accept:  I’m not really in charge of everything that comes to me.

It’s okay.  I’m still cheerful.

God is in me, and Him I serve.    No matter what happens to this planet.

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