Thursday 1 August 2019

August 2, 2019 St. Peter Faber SJ (one of the first companions of St. Ignatius) - Will you like Peter Faber radiate Christ by what you do?

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Cor 2:1-5; Mt 10:24-27
Peter Faber was born in 1506, at Villaret, Savoy. As a boy, he was a shepherd in the high pastures of the French Alps. He had little education, but a remarkable memory. Two of his uncles were Carthusian priors. At first, he was entrusted to the care of a priest at Thônes and later to a school in the neighbouring village of La Roche-sur-Foron.

In 1525, Faber went to Paris to pursue his studies. He was admitted to the Collège Sainte-Barbe, the oldest school in the University of Paris, where he shared his lodgings with Francis Xavier. There Faber's spiritual views began to develop, influenced by a combination of popular devotion, Christian humanism, and late medieval scholasticism. Faber and Xavier became close friends and both received the degree of Master of Arts on the same day in 1530.

At the university, Faber also met Ignatius of Loyola and became one of his associates. He tutored Ignatius in the philosophy of Aristotle, while Ignatius tutored him in spiritual matters. Faber, Xavier and Ignatius all became roommates at the University of Paris. Faber was the first among the small circle of men who formed the Society of Jesus to be ordained. Having become a priest on in May 1534, he received the religious vows of Ignatius and his five companions at Montmartre in August that year.

In 1546 Faber was appointed by Pope Paul III to act as a peritus (expert) on behalf of the Holy See at the Council of Trent. In April 1546 he left Spain to attend the Council and reached Rome, weakened by fever. He died, reportedly in the arms of Ignatius, in 1546. 

After Ignatius, Faber was the one whom Xavier and his companions esteemed the most eminent. He merited this esteem by his profound knowledge, his gentle sanctity, and his influence over people.

If there is one quality that characterised the life of Blessed Peter Faber, it was his desire to spread the Word of God through his teaching and sermons. He was renowned for his learning and his knowledge of scripture and his skill in giving the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. Though he was an eloquent speaker and knowledgeable preacher his humility made him attribute his success to the grace and blessing of God.

Though he died when he was barely forty years of age, he was able because of his humility and openness to do great things for God.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast (10:24-27) is from part of the Mission Discourse (10:1-42) of the Gospel of Matthew. In the verses of today, a parallel is drawn between the disciples who are sent by Jesus and Jesus himself. The disciples will share the same fate as their master. His response to negative assessment of his mission was equanimity and this must be the response of the disciples’ as well. They must not retaliate, but continue to persevere in the firm hope that they will eventually succeed. They are asked to be fearless in mission. The command “not to be afraid” is repeated twice in these verses. The reason for their fearlessness is that the Father is in control even if all evidence is to the contrary. If they remain faithful they will show themselves to be true disciples.

We often begin things with a bang and then end them with a whimper. This is because sometimes our enthusiasm runs away with us. What is required is perseverance and this is more likely if we start slowly and steadily (as Jesus and Faber did) and then let things build up gradually than if we start with much fanfare, which soon fizzles out.

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