Mary Vitamin for January 5th
Topic: St. John Neumann "Servant of Mary"
Feast January 5th
"Throughout his life the rosary would be one of John Neumann's favorite devotions, along with a consuming love of Our Blessed Lady. When he died his flock could think of no greater tribute to pay him than to call him 'Servant of Mary.'"
Philip Douglas, Saint of Philadelphia (Ravengate Press: 1977), 21.
St. John came to America from Bohemia (Czech Republic) in 1836 as a missionary to the German speaking people of New York. (He would also serve the people of Maryland and Pennsylvania.)
He was hard working, a lover of poverty, and given to many mortifications. After a few years in the diocese of New York, serving the people in the Buffalo area, he entered the Redemptorists. In imitation of the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus di Liguori, St. John Neumann made a vow never to waste a minute of his life.
As bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann traveled to every corner of his diocese visiting parishes, the Catholic people and administering the sacrament of Confirmation. Despite all of this tireless effort on behalf of the Lord, St. John died a sudden death, alone and without the sacraments of the Church.
Pope Benedict XV said of St. John Neumann
"We shall not pause to remark that works even the most simple, performed with constant perfection in the midst of inevitable difficulties, spell heroism in any servant of God. Just because of the simplicity of his works We find in them a strong argument to the faithful of whatever age, sex or condition: You are all bound to imitate the Venerable Neumann."(175-6)
Learning from the example of St. John Neumann, the true servant of Mary attends to the simplest of his duties with great energy and zeal. He is mortified and willing to serve others in charity. He prays the Rosary and understands the words of the Lord, "You do not know the hour or the day."
Today, I will imitate the example St. John Neumann simple tasks done well. If one lives as though he only had a few hours left, one finds he has plenty of time for people and everything else pales in comparison.
I will renew my vow of unlimited and total consecration to the Immaculate today using one of St. John Neumann's favorite invocations:
"Mother, I am a sinner but wish to perfect myself."
Philip Douglas, Saint of Philadelphia (Ravengate Press: 1977), 37.
I give this resolution to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Thanks be to God for graces received.