Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius | iPray with the Gospel
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”
Jose Luis was twelve years old on December 27 1942. He was spending his Christmas holidays with his priest uncle in a country hamlet in the north of Spain. That night someone came from the neighbouring town to ask the priest to attend a dying old lady. It was dark and snowing. But nothing stopped the priest from taking his coat and setting off to walk the three-mile distance. His young nephew volunteered to accompany him. They had walked two miles when the snowfall became very heavy, covering their way. Their feet were freezing and, in few minutes, they got lost. Suddenly the old priest fell. In pain, he realised he couldn’t walk anymore and sent the boy for help. Jose Luis ran and knocked at the first house he found. The word spread through the village. A party of young men came to rescue the priest. They found him unconscious, freezing. They took him to the house of the old lady and there, by the fire, the wounded man recovered a bit of strength. Then he asked to be placed close to the old dying lady to fulfil his duty. In the little room the priest comforted the old lady, heard her confession in whispers and gave her Holy Communion. The priest knew what was coming. He too received Communion. “I sat next to the fire”, Jose Luis explained years later, “hearing my uncle’s heavy breath, like a broken machine; somehow I saw him being consumed like a log in the fire…fading away. His smile didn’t fade, though. He was happy to die in the line of duty, warming up others like a log in the fireplace…Then it came clear to my mind: why couldn’t I be the ‘log’ that had to replace him in the ‘fire’?” Both died the following day. Moved by the example of his uncle, Jose Luis became a priest years later, to ‘keep the fire burning,’ to give light, warmth, comfort, to set others aflame.
Mary, my Mother, I pray for labourers, for generous souls – first of all, myself – that would like to labour for your Son’s harvest, to be consumed keeping the fire burning.