November 27: St. Maximus, Bishop

The saints are models for our lives.  By reflecting on their stories, we grow in sanctity and improve in various aspects.

ST. MAXIMUS was born in Provence, France.  From his earliest years he gave evidence of more than ordinary virtue.  After living a saintly life in the world for some years, he finally retired to the famous monastery of Lerins, where he was kindly received by St. Honoratus, by whom it was governed.  When the latter had become Archbishop of Aries in 426, St. Maximus was chosen second Abbot of Lerins.

The reputation of his sanctity drew crowds to the island, and the monastery prospered under it about seven years when the See of Reiz in Provence became vacant.  Finding that he was wanted to fill it, he fled to the coast of Italy; but he was overtaken, brought back, and forced to accept the new dignity.  In this position, he continued to wear a hair shirt and to observe the monastic rule insofar as his duties allowed.

He assisted at the Council of Riez in 439, the first held in Orange in 441, and at that of Aries in 454.  He died before the year 462.

PRAYER  Almighty and ever-living God, You willed to make Bishop St. Maximus rule over Your people.  Grant by his interceding merits that we may receive the grace of Your mercy.  Amen.

From Lives of the Saints No. 870/22.

“he was overtaken, brought back, and forced to accept the new dignity.”

What a way to put it!  How would we feel if we were given a promotion at work that we really didn’t want, quit our job, moved to another city, only to be brought back and forced to work!  Many of us would resent it.  Most of us would resent it.  St. Maximus was human, so he probably resented it too, until he learned and accepted that he was doing what God willed for him to do.

Here is the key difference between the saint and everyone else: the saint puts aside his resentments for the greater glory of God!

Our stories aren’t as far from St. Maximus as you may think.  Substitute his bishopric with the program.  After I entered the program, I ran from it until God Himself dragged me back to it.  On surrendering to His will for my life, I have learned a new freedom and a new dignity!

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Possible things

My confessor recommended to me that I meditate on the passion so that I can come to a greater understanding of God’s love.  His instructions were to simply read a passage from the Gospel, and quietly listen for what God has to say.  Sounds simple enough.

Yesterday I was reading the 14th chapter of Mark, when Jesus is in Gethsemani.  My eyes fell upon these words, “And he saith: Abba, Father, if all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

I stopped.  Something didn’t seem right.

So I read them again, this time more carefully.

And he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.

What happened?  The first time, my brain added two letters before the word all: “if.”  I added a condition to what Jesus said.  Certainly our Lord knows that all things are possible.  I’m the one who introduced doubt, my doubt.

It made me wonder: how much of my prayer life has been conditional?  Have I been praying, “If you can do this God…” rather than “If you will do this God…” or simply, “Thy will be done”?

Jesus probably prayed more than these words.  He was there for an hour.  But the evangelist records only this one bit.  Jesus affirms the power of God.  He makes His request.  Then He surrenders to His Father.

Here we have the first three steps: we admit that we are powerless over sex addiction and that only God can restore us to sanity, we come before God with our needs, humbly and sorrowfully; and we surrender our lives to Him.

Remember the passion of our Lord when working the steps.  Remember them year round, not just during Lent.  Find an hour every day to enter the garden and pray with Him.

 

Oh! My brethren, how shall we admire the loving-kindness of the Saviour? With what power, and with what a trumpet should a man cry out, exalting these His benefits! That not only should we bear His image, but should receive from Him an example and pattern of heavenly conversation; that as He has begun, we should go on, that suffering, we should not threaten, being reviled, we should not revile again, but should bless them that curse, and in everything commit ourselves to God who judges righteously. – Saint Athanasius, Letter 2.5