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Renounce Your Sovereignty: Weekly Message for 04-28-2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Peter Chanel, priest and martyr. He was ordained a priest at 24 years old and briefly served as an assistant priest at Ambérieu-en-Bugey. The former pastor of that parish had become a missionary in India, and his letters put the idea into Peter’s head to become a missionary. His first request to become a missionary in 1828 was denied by his bishop and he served as a parish priest for three years at Crozet, where he revitalized a difficult parish.
When the Society of Mary (the Marists) formed in 1831, dedicated to local and foreign missions, he joined and was promptly assigned as a spiritual director to the seminary at Belley. Undeterred, in 1836 the Marists were formally approved, and he made his vows and departed on Christmas Eve of that year with six other missionaries to evangelize the southwest Pacific. He arrived with a lay brother and a layman to the island of Futuna over ten months later.
The local king, Niuliki, welcomed them at first, but when the missionaries learned the local language and started having success in teaching and baptizing the natives, the king saw it as a threat to his sovereignty not only as king, but as high priest. When his son, Meitala, sought baptism that was the last straw for the king, who sent warriors to ransack Chanel’s home. One of them clubbed St. Peter Chanel to death, making him a martyr just three years after his arrival to evangelize the island. Niuliki didn’t realize that his sovereignty was finished well before the missionaries landed on his island. Only months after St. Peter Chanel’s death the entire island became Christian.
Followers of the Lord are followers of Christ the King, knowingly or unknowingly. St. Peter Chanel showed a missionary zeal in his dedication to his King; Niuliki just sought to hold on to a sovereignty that would ultimately fade away. How many times do we see Our Lord as infringing on our “sovereignty?” Whether we acknowledge it or not, during the Easter season we recall and celebrate that Our Lord has not only conquered sin, but death as well. Has any other sovereign managed to do that? Let’s spend some time during this Easter season renouncing any pretenses of sovereignty. The Lord will help us accomplish whatever we try to do in his service.
Today is also the feast of St. Louis de Montfort, a tireless missionary of true devotion to the Blessed Mother, so while you’re renouncing your sovereignty this Easter, take advantage of May to grow in love and devotion for your Queen too: Mary.
May Christ Our King watch over you and Mary Our Queen intercede for you in this Easter season.