Be inspired by the zeal of the saints for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
JESUS is calling us to announce His gospel of mercy, forgiveness and love. Winning souls for Him by interesting others in our holy Faith should be the business and concern of every Catholic. Christâ€™s words were addressed to all His followers including you. â€œGo into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creatureâ€ (Mark 16:15). And again: â€œGo, therefore, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even unto the consummation of the worldâ€ (Matt. 28:19,20). These words were addressed not only to the Apostles but also to all His followers.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ promised: â€œTherefore everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge him before My Father in Heavenâ€ (Matt. 10:32), and â€œHe who reaps receives a wage and gathers fruit unto life everlasting so that the sower and reaper may rejoice togetherâ€ (John 4:36).
Consider the zeal and examples of some of the saints and holy persons:
St. James the Apostle: â€œHe must know that he who causes a sinner to be converted from the error of his way will save his own soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sinsâ€ (St. James 5, 19-20).
St. John Chrysostom, (347-407), the illustrious Bishop of Constantinople, and Doctor of the Church, tells us: â€œZeal for the salvation of souls is of so great a merit before God, that to give up all our goods to the poor, or to spend our whole life in the exercises of all sorts of austerities cannot equal the merit of it. There is no service more agreeable to God than this one. To employ oneâ€™s life in this blessed labor is more pleasing to the Divine Majesty than to suffer martyrdom. Would you not feel happy if you could spend large sums of money in corporal works of mercy? But know that he who labors for the salvation of souls does far more; nay, the zeal of souls is of far greater merit before God . . . than the working of miracles.â€
St. Vincent de Paul (1576-1660): That St. Vincent was devoured by zeal for the house of God, his entire life testifies, because that life was employed in combating evil and extending the reign of good; and in this consists true zeal. Listen to some of his instructions to his community: â€œLet us give ourselves to God, gentlemen, to go to carry His holy Gospel over the entire earth and into whatever part He may lead us; there, let us maintain our part, and continue our duties until such time as His good pleasure will withdraw us. Let no difficulties move us, the glory of the eternal Father and the efficacy of the Word and of the passion of His Son are at stake. The salvation of men and our own are so great that they merit to be obtained at any price.â€
St. Margaret Mary (1647-1690): â€œMy divine Savior has given to understand that those who work for the salvation of souls will have a gift of touching the most hardened hearts, and will labor with marvelous success, if they themselves are penetrated with a tender devotion to His Divine Heart.â€
St. Anthony Mary Claret (1808-1870): â€œAnother thing that spurs me on to preach ceaselessly is the thought of the multitude of souls which fall into the depths of hell, who die in mortal sin, condemned forever and ever… if you were to see a blind man about to fall into a pit or over a precipice, would you not warn him? Behold, I do the same…â€ â€œHow often I pray with St. Catherine of Siena: O my God, grant me a place by the gates of Hell, that I may stop those who enter there, saying: â€œWhere are you going, unhappy one? Back, go back! Make a good confession. Save your soul. Donâ€™t come here to be lost for all eternity!â€ St. Anthony resolved never to waste a moment of time, and during his 35 years as a priest, he wrote 144 books and preached some 25,000 sermons. On one trip, besides traveling, he preached 205 sermons in 48 days and 12 in one day.
St. ThÃ©rÃ¨se of Lisieux (1873-1897): â€œWe have only short moments of this life to work for Godâ€™s glory. The devil knows this and that is why he tries to make us waste time in useless things. O, let us not waste our time! Let us save souls! Souls are falling into hell innumerable as the flakes of snow on a winter day. Jesus weeps! Instead of consoling Him we are brooding over our own sorrows . . . There is only one thing to do during the brief day, or rather, night of this life: Love Jesus with all the strength of your heart and save souls for Him, so that He may be loved!â€
Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menen-dez (1890-1923): â€œI am not attracted by your merits but by your love for souls.â€ â€œWhen a soul is generous enough to give me all I ask, she gathers up treasures for herself and others and snatches great numbers of souls from perdition.â€ â€œ I so much want souls to understand this! It is not the action in itself that is of value; it is the intention with which it is done.â€Â â€œUnderstand this well, Josefa: when a soul loves Me, she can make up for many who offend Me, and this relieves My Heart.â€ â€œOne faithful soul can repair and obtain mercy for many ungrateful ones.â€ â€œA little act of generosity, of patience, of poverty . . . may become treasure that will win a great number of souls to My Heart.â€
Pope Pius XII (1939-1958): â€œNo one is permitted to be idle and lazy while so many evils and dangers impend, and while those who are on the other side are working so hard to destroy the very basis of Catholic religion.â€
– – – written by Richard White