“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” — St. Andre Bessette
How many Saints were “small brushes” who had to convince their superiors, family, or colleagues that being small and weak was not a total handicap? How many superiors, family members, or colleagues had to convince Saints-in-the-making that their ailments or times of doubt and weakness were not impediments in accomplishing the will of God?
St. Andre Bessette, whose feast day is today, was accused of seeking entry to the Holy Cross Brothers out of desperation rather than a call to religious life. He had “frail health” and was unable to sustain a job. St. Andre on the other hand simply assumed that if there was nowhere else he could go then God wanted him there. Interesting difference of interpretation, yes?
By the time he died at the age of ninety-two, “his dream” of a huge basilica created to honor St. Joseph, Jesus’s foster father, had neared completion and countless people had been cured of various ailments. The naysayers had been proven wrong. All St. Andre had done was greet people at a door and collect nickels and pennies for forty years. His “frail health” and associated limitations didn’t stop him from doing his part even though they remained with him for life.
All of us are called to holiness. That means allowing God to develop a deeper relationship with us and accomplish His will through us. Ill health not only can’t stop that it can facilitate it when we cooperate, which sometimes includes seeking help in order to keep symptoms at bay so we can function. Let’s live our lives faithful to the Lord and find practical ways to work with and around our ailments rather than think of them as a total handicap. We can then proceed. God will do the rest in very small steps.
St. Andre Bessette, pray for us that we see our ailments as instrumental rather than a ball and chain. Help us to keep our eyes on God alone.
Sources and terrific biographies:
Picture from Wikicommons, public domain. This is a revised post from last year.