March 15, 2020 – Feast of St. Clement Maria Hofbauer, CSsR
Have you failed recently? Is life too difficult these days? Are you confused, depressed and sad of what is happening with your family, studies, work and your entire life now?
Do not lose hope. Keep the positivity. Keep dreaming!
Despite failures and difficulties, God has always something good and wonderful prepared for us that we may not yet aware of as of this moment. Life could be difficult these days for you, but never lose hope. Never be afraid of taking risk in trusting your loved ones, your friends, the Church and God especially.
Today March 15, we, in the Redemptorist Family throughout the whole world, celebrates the Feast of St. Clement Maria Hofbauer. He is considered as the Second Founder of the Redemptorist Family because he took the risk and never lost his hope despite the many challenges and difficulties he faced. It was because of him that the Redemptorists are now present in more than 70 countries around the globe.
St. Clement was born in Moravia, which is now in Czech Republic. He met “major, major” challenges in his life. At an early age, war had torn his childhood. His father died when he was seven. His mother was poor. As a young man, he had to work and study at the same time to reach his dream. This is an experience of many working-students today.
He dreamed of becoming a priest but it seemed that it was just so difficult. Moreover, he pursued his studies by becoming a baker and other works. Yet, as he applied to the local seminary, he was refused. However, this did not discourage him. He became a hermit at the beginning. A hermit is a person who lives alone in a remote place, dedicating life into prayer and penance.
But, with his friend, Thaddeus Hubl, they journeyed to Rome to find a seminary who might welcome them. There in Rome, they found the Redemptorist Missionaries and expressed their desire, but still, though they had been accepted yet they experienced discrimination because they were not Italians. Again with His friend, Thaddeus, after their ordination, they volunteered and took the risk of doing missions outside Italy. They went to Warsaw, Poland, an action that was unimaginable by the Redemptorists at that time.
St. Clement was indeed a risk taker and a believer of hope in God’s providence and generosity. In Poland, he revived a dying Church, founded an orphanage and helped victims of war. All these had been his childhood experiences. He lost his father at an early age and was displaced many times because of war. The difficulties of the past made him ready for this kind of challenges.
However, he and his co-Redemptorists were expelled from Poland when another war broke out. They had to flee until they reached Vienna. Despite the difficulties, Clement did not lose hope. In fact, he made those difficult moments as opportunities to serve God and serve the people around them, whom he loved.
In Vienna, he met and changed the lives of many young people, intellectuals and academicians. His presence and experiences in life became an inspiration to many. This was because he too was a witness of constant hoping amidst difficulties and challenges in life. He learned how to listen and dialogue with different kinds of people and won their hearts for the sake of Christ.
In those times, he found God most near to him. And in those difficult times he allowed God to transform him, becoming a person for others by loving and serving, and not in complaining, bitterness and being depressed.