October 16, 2021 – Feast of St. Gerard Majella, Redemptorist Saint
“Here the will of God is done, as God wills, as long as God wills.”
These are St. Gerard’s words of wisdom to us, and to himself. Until now, on the door of his room in Deliceto, Italy where he was formed as Redemptorist & in Materdomini, where he was assigned until his death, Gerard placed a sign with these words: “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, as long as God wills” to remind others & himself who he is, & what his life is all about.
His words of wisdom are based on his lived experience of faith and life, & not just product of inspirations from prayers & contemplation. As frail child, Gerard experienced a lot of bullying & rejections. While working as apprentice tailor, many times he was rejected entrance to seminary & religious life. Not until that he became involved with Redemptorists on mission in their town in Muro Lucano that he was able to join the Redemptorist, though not without the recommendation: “I am sending you a useless brother.” As young Redemptorist, Gerard had bouts of mistreatments, even from his fellow Redemptorists. Like, Alphonsus disciplined Gerard for being humbly silent about a false accusation made against. His deep empathy & remarkable apostolic zeal of counselling & taking care of the poor people have also garnered jealousy & hatred among his very own confreres. And in a highly feudal society & clericalized church of his time, he ran into conflict with his superiors & brother priests vis-à-vis the witness & practice of religious life.
Despite these odds, all along what sustained Gerard are these words to himself: “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, as long as God wills.” Like St. Paul, Gerard deeply believed that Jesus Christ made him His own, and thus Gerard made Christ his Own. Same way, as Jesus also said in our gospel: “the Father will honor whoever serves me”, Gerard served & followed the Lord, and in life has been favored with many spiritual gifts, among which were prophecy, reading people’s heart & miracles. And now honored in the church as our Saint & patron of expectant mothers.
Like Gerard, may our Christian faith & life always be attuned with God’s will, so that we may enjoy God’s plentiful redemption now and always. Amen.