A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Whom others ignored

Some people ignored the doorkeeper, but Peter did not. The doorkeeper's job was menial, his education spotty at best, and there was something dark about his past, but his devotion, penitence, and holiness were palpable and Peter was drawn to it.

For his part, the doorkeeper knew that God wanted Peter to go to the missions and constantly exhorted him to follow that path. Peter obeyed and eventually found himself thousands of miles from home in a very bad place. To his horror, he discovered that he was in a large center of the slave trade. Repeated Church condemnations had failed to stop this monstrosity and too many Christians simply ignored its evil and shunned contact with the slaves.

Peter’s first instinct as a priest was that these slaves were souls desperately in need of Christ’s saving comfort. He dedicated the rest of his life, 44 years, to their care. He had to defend his flock and his work against slave traders, bigoted parishioners, and even his superiors (who received innumerable complaints). He found translators, trained catechists, worked miracles, and baptized more than 300,000 African slaves.

St. Peter Claver, S.J., died 355 years ago yesterday (his memorial is celebrated today). He was canonized in 1888 (on the very same day as his friend the doorkeeper, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J.).

(from a previous post)