St Hilary

Bishop of Arles (on the southern coast of France) (entered heaven this day in 449)

Dear Hillary,

Nothing should surprise you less than what you described in your last note.  Do you think the devil just stands idly by while someone like yourself – who has every necessary qualification to be a huge success in this crazy world – is discerning a call to the consecrated life?  Don’t be so naïve. I once knew a young man who had suffered an unrequited crush on a young woman for almost three years. As soon as he told his friends that he had decided to join the seminary, she came knocking at his door – do you think it was a coincidence?  But don’t take it just from my experience; look at the history books. Today’s saint is a perfect case.

Exceptional in every way, and having received a top-notch education, Hilary had a future bright as gold.  Then one day his uncle showed up. His uncle happened to be St Honoratus, founder and first abbot of a nearby monastery.  Honoratus loved Hilary deeply and tried to convince him to put his many gifts into God’s service. Hilary laughed him off, relishing the prospects of a successful, prestigious, and lucrative career.  Honoratus gave up his arguments, returned to the abbey, and prayed earnestly for Hilary’s vocation. A couple of days later Hilary felt the call. It wasn’t a pleasant phenomenon. Here’s how he described it: “On the one side I felt that the Lord was calling me, whilst on the other hand the seductions of the world held me back… My will swayed backward and forwards, now consenting, now refusing.  But at last Christ triumphed in me.” And now St Hilary is remembered and revered as one of the pillars of the early European Church. In his few years of monastic life and then in his taking over the bishopric of a key city in southern France, he brilliantly and doggedly laid the groundwork for centuries of Christian growth throughout Western Europe.

So if I were you, I wouldn’t be surprised if you still find it hard to see your vocational path as clearly as you would like.  Ask St Hilary to help you out, and then do whatever you think will please God most. Keep me posted, Uncle Eddy

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