"If we have to suffer martyrdom it would be a great grace given to us by God; it's something to be desired, not feared." (Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, in a letter from China to his uncle)
Today, September 11, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840), Vincentian priest, missionary, and first saint of China. Canonized in 1996 by Pope John Paul II, the holy pontiff reminded the congregation that many more Chinese would be raised to the altars in the future, based upon the holy work performed by missionaries and martyrs like Saint Jean-Gabriel.
“For many years I had desired to meet a Saint, and when I saw Monsieur Perboyre, it seemed to me God had answered my wish. Several times I said, ‘You will see that Monsieur Perboyre will be canonized.’”
“One does good for souls only by prayer. In all that you do, work only to please God, otherwise you would waste your time and effort.”
“I’ve great news for you. God has just granted me a very precious favor which I certainly don't deserve. When he was pleased to give me a vocation to the priesthood the main reason which made me answer his call was the hope of being able to preach to pagans the good news of salvation. Since then I've never really lost sight of this target, and above all the idea of the Chinese mission always made my heart beat faster.”
“my head shaved, a long pig-tail, stammering my new languages, eating with chopsticks.”
“I am never happier,” he said, “than when I have offered the Holy Sacrifice.”
“Trample on your God, and I will free you!” the local government official demanded.
“Oh!” the holy martyr replied, “how could I so insult my Savior?” And seizing a crucifix, he pressed it to his lips.
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
I pray You
To destroy in me
All that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
But in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say,
With St. Paul,
"I live - now not I -
But Christ lives in me".
Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, priest of the Congregation of the Mission, he wanted to follow Christ evangelizing the poor, the example of St. Vincent de 'Paoli. After exercising the ministry of the clergy as a trainer in France, went to China. Here earnestly bore witness of Christ's love for the Chinese people. "I do not know what awaits me in the journey that lies ahead of me, without a doubt the cross, which is the daily bread of the missionary. What we can hope for better, going to preach a crucified God?" (Letter No. 70), wrote at the gateway to China. Along the streets where he had been sent found the Cross of Christ. Daily through imitation of his Lord, with humility and gentleness, fully identified with him. By following step by step in his Passion, caught forever in his glory. "One thing is needful: Jesus Christ," he liked to say. His martyrdom is the culmination of his commitment to following Christ, the missionary. After being tortured and condemned, reproducing the Passion of Jesus with remarkable similarity, as he came to death, even death on a cross. Jean-Gabriel had one passion: Christ and the proclamation of his Gospel. That's loyalty to this passion that he has been equated with the lowly and the condemned, and that the Church can now solemnly proclaim his glory in the choir of the saints in heaven.
Year 2: Day 252 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Full focus on Christ in our daily lives
Requested Intentions: Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).
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."