St. John of God picked me!
Moneybags at A Catholic Life (via Julie D.) reminded us Catholics about “the practice of picking a saint at random to be your ‘holy protector’ for the year. Actually, the saint is the one who chooses us though.” He quotes an excerpt from St. Faustina:
There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn’t read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: “I am your patron. Read.” I looked at once at the inscription and read, “Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.” My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.
— Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina
For me, it is not so much the idea of a “holy protector” but a chance to meet and get to know another friend in the Body of Christ. And as with my contemporary friends, this friend has something to teach me too if I am open him.
From a little internet research, the following points jumped out at me about St. John of God:
Born March 8, 1495. Died March 8, 1550.
From different resources, St. John of God is the patron saint of booksellers and printers because he initially traveled from town to town selling religious books and holy cards; of the sick (some sources emphasize heart patients), hospitals, and nurses because of his work with the sick poor and starting a hospital in Granada, Spain; and of firefighters because he once rushed into a burning hospital to rescue patients, blankets, and mattresses. It so happens that I love books and am a heart patient.
The Order of Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God was founded after his death.
John “heeded the word of God when he was already forty years old”. I was baptized at Easter three years ago when I was 40.
John was known to be quite impulsive to help others. I get the impression that he often acted first before thinking, and as a result, had to deal at times with unwanted consequences. That never deterred him! There are times where I act quickly, more so now than before, but then again, there are those times when I feel crippled by indecision and inaction.
John was noted for “a spirit of humility” and “a deep interior prayer life”. Both of which, with God’s grace, I am striving for.
John was blessed with the stigmata.
From the Saint of the Day for March 8:
The utter humility of John of God, which led to a totally selfless dedication to others, is most impressive. Here is a man who realized his nothingness in the face of God. The Lord blessed him with the gifts of prudence, patience, courage, enthusiasm and the ability to influence and inspire others. He saw that in his early life he had turned away from the Lord, and, moved to receive his mercy, John began his new commitment to love others in openness to God’s love.
And from Catholics Online, this prayer:
Saint John of God, pray for us to act out of love as soon as we feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us to learn to fight the little voices in our heads and hearts that give us all sorts of practical reasons to wait or delay in our service of God. Amen