Saint Hilary of Arles (400-449), a saint called to holiness at a young age, who suffered persecution from within the church late in life for his obedience to the Lord. The life of Saint Hilary suggests to us that even the holiest of men and women struggle with their callings, require assistance and support in prayer and encouragement from their friends and families, and despite their sanctity, are slaves to their human weaknesses.
Hilary was born into a noble family in France, a relative of Saint Honoratus, Archbishop of Arles. Hilary was raised with an extraordinary education, wealth, and privilege, and seemed poised to make his mark on the secular world when Saint Honoratus came to him, urging his entrance into the Abbey at Lerins. Saint Hilary was torn, as the monastic life was not what he had planned, nor had he felt called to completely. He wrote, "On one side, me-thought I saw the Lord calling me; on the other the world offering me its seducing charms and pleasures. How often did I embrace and reject, will and not will the same thing! But in the end Jesus Christ triumphed in me. And three days after Honoratus had left me, the mercy of God, solicited by his prayers, subdued my rebellious soul."
"What floods of tears," he wrote about Saint Honoratus, "did this true friend shed to soften the hardness of my heart! How often did he embrace me with the most tender and compassionate affection, to obtain of me that I would take into serious consideration the salvation of my soul! Yet, by an unhappy victory, I still remained conqueror." Honoratus, finding his endeavors to wean him from the charms of a deceitful world not completely effective, turned to prayer, saying to our soon-to-be-Saint, "I will obtain of God, what you will not now grant me."
“You will not so easily get out of hell, if you are once unhappily fallen into its dungeons!" as warning to sinners.
Not only was Saint Hilary a gifted orator, he also wrote several treatises on God, some of which survive today. "We are all equal," he wrote, "in Jesus Christ; and the highest degree of our nobility is to be of the number of the true servants of God. Neither science, nor birth, according to this world, can exalt us, but in proportion to our contempt of them."
“The Lord taught by way of example that the glory of human ambition must be left behind when he said, “The Lord your God shall you adore and him only shall you serve.” And when he announced through the prophets that he would choose a people humble and in awe of his words, he introduced the perfect Beatitude as humility of spirit. Therefore he defines those who are inspired as people aware that they are in possession of the heavenly kingdom. Nothing belongs to anyone as being properly one’s own, but all have the same things by the gift of a single parent. They have been given the first things needed to come into life and have been supplied with the means to use them.”
The life of Saint Hilary is one of struggle to be obedient. His plans for his life were not what the Lord had in mind, and he struggled to obey—relying not only on his own merit but on the prayers and support of his family. At age 29, Saint Hilary resisted his appointment as Archbishop, but eventually was obedient to the Lord’s will and served with zeal. Even in his older age, Saint Hilary struggled with submissiveness to the pope, but through prayer and penance was able to again overcome his human weakness.
A Prayer for the Virtue of Obedience
Jesus, Almighty King of kings, You Who obeyed Your Father to the end, Teach me the meaning of obedience. My soul burns to comply to Your Will, Striving to charm Your Divinity. While my worldly nature seeks one way, My spiritual nature seeks another. Bless me with the strength to obey, That my soul may subdue both natures, Blending them as a fair aromatic bloom. I always seek favor in Your eyes, To always obey You until my last breath!
Year 2: Day 125 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Obedience; Confidence in the Lord.
Requested Intentions: Successful resolution to legal proceedings (N); Freedom from worry and successful employment (M); For successful sale of home and freedom from debt (J); Freedom from pain and illness (E); For successful living arrangements, travels, health, and studies (F); Healing, successful studies, financial success (F); For husband’s successful employment (Y); For children’s faith journey; Recovery of a friend suffering from addiction (M); Successful employment (P); Obedience to the will of the Lord (J); Financial recovery (S); Freedom from evil influence (I); Recovery from illness (J); Freedom from addiction (J); Successful transplant surgery (K); Healing for a daughter (T); Acceptance into school (V); Successful immigration; for a sister’s career and marriage (F); Financial recovery; Successful ministry (A); Financial ability to send children to school (S); Safe return of a runaway (J); Healing of a family (J).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."