Thought for the Day – 15 February – The Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere S.J. (1641-1682)
This is a special day for the Jesuits, who claim today’s saint as one of their own. It’s also a special day for people who have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a devotion Claude de la Colombière promoted, along with his friend and spiritual companion, St Margaret Mary Alacoque. The emphasis on God’s love for all was an antidote to the rigorous moralism of the Jansenists, who were popular at the time.
Claude showed remarkable preaching skills long before his ordination in 1675. Two months later, he was made superior of a small Jesuit residence in Burgundy. It was there he first encountered Margaret Mary Alacoque. For many years after he served as her confessor.
As a fellow Jesuit and as a promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Claude must be very special to Pope Francis who has so beautifully emphasised the mercy of Jesus. The emphasis on God’s love and mercy are characteristic of both men.
“The past three centuries allow us to evalutate the importance of the message which was entrusted to Claude. In a period of contrasts between the fervour of some and the indifference or impiety of many, here is a devotion centred on the humility of Christ, on His presence, on His love of mercy and on forgiveness. Devotion to the Heart of Christ would be a source of balance and spiritual strengthening for Christian communities so often faced with increasing unbelief over the coming centuries.
May the canonisation of Claude La Colombiere be for the whole Church an appeal to live the consecration to the Heart of Christ, a consecration which is a self-giving that allows the charity and mercy of Christ to inspire us, pardon us and lead us in His ardent desire to open the ways of truth and life to all our brothers and sisters!”…St Pope John Paul II, during the canonisation of Saint Claude (31 May 1992)
St Claude de la Colombiere, pray for us!