St Rupert

Bishop of Saltzburg (Austria) (entered heaven this day around 717)

Dear Bert,

I can’t help sharing your disappointment.  I too was hoping for success.  I wanted your efforts to make a big splash on campus as much as you did.  But things didn’t work out as you would have liked.  That’s OK.  It has happened a thousand times in the history of the Church.  Now, however, you are faced with the crucial question: how will you react?  Only you can decide.  God is waiting to see what you will do in the face of failure and rejection.  I suggest taking a gander at today’s saint before you make any plans.

Rupert was one of those phenomenally brilliant figures of Europe’s so-called Dark Ages.  He was a noble Frenchman by birth, and early on dedicated himself to prayer and service of the Church.  His preaching and charity (and miracles) were so effective that while still a young man he was made Bishop of Worms – an important city (in Germany) at the time.  The people there, however, were more interested in their reputation and their entertainments than in the Kingdom of Christ.  Rupert began denouncing sin and spiritual mediocrity and calling all Christians to take up their crosses and strive to follow in the footsteps of Christ.  That didn’t go over well with the morally lax and sensually indulgent populous.  They stormed the Bishop, beat him with rods, and chased him from their city.  Talk about failure.

So the saint took a little pilgrimage to Rome.  Meanwhile, the Duke of Bavaria heard talk of his reputation for holiness and miracles.  He invited Rupert to come and preach the Gospel to his people, the Bavarians.  Rupert accepted.  Although the area had been Christianized by St Severinus two centuries before, the faith had fallen into a horrible state.  Rupert had to rebuild it.  And he did.  He spent the rest of his life at the task.  Instructing, baptizing, building, and rebuilding.  He even rebuilt the ruined city of Iuvavia, which subsequently became known as Saltzburg.  Still today it is the most important Diocese in Austria, and St Rupert is known as the Apostle to Austria.

God often closes a door only to open a window.  He wants us to learn to trust him, so that he can do wonderful things in us and through us.  That means we have to stop trusting our puny selves so much.  Keep that in mind and I think you will be able to make the right decision at this crucial juncture in your apostolic endeavors.

Your loving uncle,


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