In May last year, I went to visit family in Montreal. I spent a day at St. Joseph’s Oratory where Saint Andre Bessette, commonly known to the people of the city as Brother Andre, had originally paid homage to St. Joseph by erecting a small wooden chapel. Today is the Feast Day of this Canadian who people called the Miracle Man of Montreal. He had a deep love for St. Joseph and would say intercessory prayers through him for healing. Anyone who goes to the Oratory can see remnants of what the sick people left–crutches and the like. Canonized on October 17, this humble, unschooled orphan was an instrument of God’s love and mercy.
In today’s first reading from 1 John 5, we are promised that if we ask anything in boldness according to the will of God, it will be heard. People came to Brother Andre with boldness and with similar confidence in God, Andre asked great favours for the people. In the Gospel Reading, one that I love deeply, Mary tells the servants at the wedding feast of Cana to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Suddenly, water becomes fine wine. This miracle always makes me smile. Jesus launches his public ministry and serves a whole community. St. Ignatius teaches us about the greater good and this may have been one of the Gospel readings that inspired him. Brother Andre too served the community.
We ask for prayers from saints like Brother Andre because he understands our struggles. A physically unwell man, he knew suffering. A man of prayer, he must also have known what it was like to wait for answers to prayers that were slow in coming. However, he must have also marveled at the miracles that unfolded when he prayed to St Joseph for those who lined up to see him. On this feast day of this humble Canadian saint, may we come to know that God hears us when we ask. St. Andre believed that when you say to God ‘Our Father’, he has his ear right next to your lips. May we too learn to trust in the intercession of the saints and the mercy of a loving God who hears our prayers. As this new year begins, perhaps selecting a saint to journey with you through the year is one way of having your prayers answered.
Do you have a favourite saint who intercedes for you?
Can you recall an experience when God’s ear was right next to your lips?
Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us, through St. Joseph, for our healing. We are a world so desperately in need. Our hope is in a God who changes water into fine wine for the benefit of all. May we listen to him and do whatever he tells us. Amen.