The secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, wrote an article for today’s feast of St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars. The Vatican prelate highlighted the saint's untiring service to God and neighbor, calling him a true “revolutionary of love.”
During the saint’s time, Archbishop Piacenza said, human reason was removed from faith and religious expression in an atmosphere that was very hostile to the Church. Amidst it all, “The Cure of Ars demonstrated heroism in the faith. In response to attempts to de-legitimize Catholic dogma, the saint offered a clear, relentless catechetical and preaching effort, both in public and private,” Archbishop Piacenza wrote.
The saint responded to secular practices of the day with “a enormous sense of the sacred” that permeated his liturgical celebrations, the archbishop continued. “He became prayer himself, bringing all those who were close to him into his relationship with God.”
While those in power at the time sought to destroy the faith, St. John Marie Vianney never wavered. He often spent up to 18 hours a day hearing confessions, continuously demonstrating “an availability without limits, which alone spoke of the love of God,” Archbishop Piacenza continued.
The Cure of Ars fully embraced virtue, living authentically poor in spirit and faithfully adhering to the virtue of chastity, “understood not only as a necessary consequence of celibacy, nor as a mere church law, but as a true act of total donation to his Lord,” the archbishop said.
St. John Marie Vianney was truly counter-cultural and an authentic “revolutionary of love,” Archbishop Piacenza added. “We priests must all renew our gratitude to our brother … and ask that his example and virtues will be followed by many, so the splendor of holiness will never be lacking in the Church and in the world,” the archbishop said.