Saturday, May 12, 2012

God's love in action, Fr. Damien

When Fr. Damien arrived in Molokai to assemble a prefabricated Church for the lepers, he spent the first few weeks sleeping out under the trees, because he was unable to cope with the stench in the hovels of the lepers.  He certainly wouldn't dare preach to them about God's love for them, because as they saw it, that would be offensive.  But slowly he opened his heart to the grace of God which enabled him to see the suffering Jesus in them.  In no time, he was washing them, bandaging them, and burying them.  He came to love them, and though him, they came to believe that God loved them.  He smoked a pipe to counteract the stench, but soon he was passing the pipe around for others to have a smoke.  He ate food with them from a common bowl, out of which they scopped the food with hands that had no fingers.  He caught the disease himself, and he was happy to be able to live and to die for them.  Thus, St. Damien followed Jesus' commandment of love given to us:  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know he had that problem at first. I guess his sanctity lay in the fact of his willingness to love like Jesus, and then in his courage to gradually give his life in doing so. Seems he really fell in love with Jesus along the way as he fell in love with these poor outcasts. One of the most beautiful stories of heroic Christ-like love. Such a human saint.