Finding the face of Jesus

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

 Finding the face of Jesus
Easter Day 45
St. Damien

We have been thinking about how it was that the apostles and disciples who knew Jesus well in his lifetime did not recognized him after he arose from the dead.  Some people have learned how to do this very well and one of them is the saint of today St. Damien de Veuster, who ministered to the lepers in Molokai.  Damien was ordained in Honolulu in 1864 and told his parents that he was now “the poor priest who is now going out day and night on the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands in search of stray sheep.   His quest lead him to minister to the lepers on Molokai where his brother wanted to go but was prevented by illness from doing so.  Damien saw the face of Jesus in his daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in the mysteries of the rosary which he prayed constantly.  He then was able to bring the presence of Jesus to the leper colony  which was plagued also by rampant immorality.  He was required by the political authority either to return to Hawaii or to reside permanently in Molokai.  He chose to stay.  Within a year, on Corpus Christi he lead the residents of the Island in the stations of the cross in which Damien carried the blessed sacrament and blessed the people at two of the stations along the route.  Besides the Catholics who took part in this procession, eight Protestants were converted to the Catholic Faith.  

This is what St. Damien said of his ministry

“The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout my body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me.”
  (Damien de Veuster of Molokai)

This is what he said of his flock

If I cannot cure them as (Christ) did, at least I can comfort them,
and through the holy ministry that he in his kindness has given me,
I hope that many of them, cured from the leprosy of the soul,
will go before his tribunal able to enter the society of the blessed.”

He and St. Paul shared similar experiences.
this is in the reading from Acts today

…the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

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