Tuesday, May 15, 2012

“We'd like to be humble...but what if no one notices?”

A humble knowledge of ourselves is a surer way to God than is the search for depth of learning. --Thomas a'Kempis

(Gospel Text: 2Co 1:12)
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, [and] not by human wisdom but by the grace of God.

May 15: Feast Day of St. Isidore the Farmer
This saint was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, Spain. Isidore's parents wanted to offer their son a first-rate education, but they could not afford it. They were tenant farmers. Their son would spend his life in the same occupation.

Isidore went to work for a rich land owner in Madrid. The man's name was John de Vargas. Isidore worked all his life for Mr. de Vargas. He married a good girl from a family as poor as his own. The couple loved each other very much. They had one child, a boy, who died as a baby. Isidore and his wife offered to Jesus their sadness over the child's death. They trusted their son was happy with God forever.

St. Isidore began each day at Mass. Then he would go to his job. He tried to work hard even if he didn't feel like it. He plowed and planted and prayed. He called on Mary, the saints and his guardian angel. They helped him turn ordinary days into special, joyful times. The world of faith became very real to St. Isidore, as real as Mr. de Vargas' fields. When he had a day off, Isidore made it a point to spend extra time adoring Jesus in church. Sometimes, on holidays, Isidore and his wife would visit a few neighboring parishes on a one day pilgrimage of prayer.

Once the parish had a dinner. Isidore arrived early and went into the church to pray. He arrived in the parish hall late. He didn't come in alone. He brought a group of beggars, too. The parishioners were upset. What if there wasn't enough food for all those beggars? But the more they filled up their plates, the more there was for everybody else. St. Isidore said kindly, "There is always enough for the poor of Jesus."

Stories of miracles began to circulate about this farm worker saint. Isidore was totally unselfish. He was a loving and compassionate human being. He is one of Spain's most popular saints. Isidore died on May 15, 1130. In March, 1622, Pope Gregory XV proclaimed five great saints together. They were St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Philip Neri and St. Isidore the Farmer.

As you can see, this simple farm worker is in some serious company!

Reflection: “Humility and love are precisely the graces which the men of the world can understand, if they do not comprehend doctrines. They are the graces about which there is no mystery, and they are within reach of all classes... The poorest Christian can every day find occasion for practicing love and humility.”

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