St Guy of Anderlecht

(near Brussels) (entered heaven in 1012)

Dear Gilbert,

Don’t be so depressed.  With God, even our foolish failures can become successes.  He doesn’t expect us to know everything, to make the perfect decisions all the time, to avoid even the smallest blunder… Such is not our lot, my boy, and God knows it.  We are just “dust and ashes,” as the Good Book says, and God is plenty familiar with our weakness.  So in situations like the one you find yourself in now, convinced that you made a wrong decision about that particular extracurricular activity, avoid dwelling on the mistake.  Rather, treat it like a trampoline, using your fall to make a sincere act of humility and trust in God, which will bounce you right back up again, drawing you even closer to him than you were before.  Today’s saint shows this principle in action.

Guy was a poor son of poor (but faithful and happy) parents in Belgium.  He received no education except what his folks taught him by word and example about being a true follower of Christ.  He learned his lesson well, and early on began to treasure his poverty as a great gift from God, one that could insulate him from the temptations to pride and self-satisfaction so often brought on by the comforts of wealth.

As a young man he took a position as sacristan and caretaker of a local parish church, having impressed the priest with his sincere faith and humble diligence.  He became a favorite among the parishioners.  Soon, however, a merchant offered him the chance to invest his small savings into a promising business venture.  He was even convinced to leave his sacristan position and join the trader’s company, thinking that a larger income would give him more money to spend on helping the poor (that’s where all his small pittance used to go – sometimes he even fed others while fasting himself, not having enough cash to buy food for both parties).  Unfortunately, the ship with their goods sank before it even got out to sea, and Guy lost everything.  He reproached himself for trusting more in his own schemes than in God, and decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome as penance.  After Rome, he continued on to the Holy Land, and by the time he returned home he was emaciated, ill, and thoroughly exhausted from the hardships of his travels.  He died in the hospital soon afterwards.  Miracles were granted through his intercession almost as soon as he was buried, and the townspeople transferred his remains into a shrine, where he is still venerated today.

A business failure, but a spiritual success – what matters is not that we fail, but how we respond when we fail.  Trust in the Providence of God, my dear nephew, and as many times as you fall down, get right back up again, glad to have to depend even more on the Lord.


Uncle Eddy

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