Posted by: frburke23 | August 4, 2014

Thought for August 4 – Memorial of St. John Vianney, patron saint of diocesan priests

Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.


Today is the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of diocesan priests.  This humble man had a difficult time becoming a priest because he was not a good student.  When given the chance, he made the most of it, especially growing in holiness on a daily basis.  They weren’t sure when they ordained him that he would be effective, so they put him in a country parish in Ars, France so that he couldn’t do too much damage to the people.

He started simply by providing the Sacraments and spending a lot of time in prayer.  He opened a simple orphanage and taught the children the catechism himself.  His model became the model for such orphanages all over France. 

People would come to him from near and far to go to confession and for spiritual direction.  Toward the end of his life, Fr. Vianney would spend 16-18 hours a day in the confessional because of the great demand.  He was given the gift of supernatural knowledge – knowing the past and future events.  He labored with love, gentleness and joy, even while practicing strict mortification of his body – not eating or sleeping well.

St. John Vianney was so united to Jesus in prayer that he was given superhuman abilities – incredible knowledge and the power to heal.  Jesus promised His disciples that if they remained close to Him, they would be able to perform miracles too – in Jesus’ name.  That is what happened in the life of this holy man – John Vianney.  On his own, he could not do much at all – he was quite ordinary.  But by surrendering his life to Jesus, amazing things happened in and through him.

How is God asking you to surrender your life to Jesus?

Do you doubt that the Lord can work through you to teach or heal?

The Lord wants to give you every good gift.  Stay close to Him in prayer.

Today we begin our seminarian retreat – the perfect day as we celebrate our patron saint.  Please keep us in pray and be assured of our prayers for you.

God bless,

Fr. Burke



  1. Fr. Burke prayers for you on retreat
    Please keep me in your prayers


  2. Be assured of our prayers always. Thank you for the sermon.

  3. God is good with us, Father! Having people like you in our lives to show us the way to Jesus Christ is a great blessing. Thank you!

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