Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Five Quick Lessons From a Saint

 “Fight all error, but do it with good humor, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.”  ~St. John of Kanty

St. John of Kanty

Here are five quick facts about St. John of Kanty and the example he sets for all believers.

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Who is This Man?

  • St. John of Kanty was born on June 23, 1390 in Kanty, Silesia, Poland. His parents recognized the quick, kind intelligence of their son and sent him to the University of Cracow where he earned a doctorate in philosophy. He was ordained priest and given a position to teach at the university.

  • He was well liked by the students which bothered his superiors at the college. Falsely accused of doing wrong, he was sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz, a diocese of Krakow. Being frightened of the responsibilities of a parish priest, it took some time for him to win the hearts of the town people, but he eventually did through love.

  • A legend says that as some people robbed St. John of Kanty, they asked him if that was everything, and he replied yes. After the robbers left, he remembered some gold that he had sewn into his clothes. He tracked the robbers down and insisted that they took the gold as well. Shocked, the robbers refused and then gave him back all that they took.

  • St. John of Kanty lived on the bare minimum he needed in order to survive, giving everything else to the poor. He would go as far as to give the very dinner he was eating to a passing beggar (only to return to find his plate miraculously re-filled).

  • He died on December 24, 1473 and was canonized in 1676 with his feast day set to December 23. St. John of Kanty is the patron saint of Poland.

Prayer

“Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by the example of the Priest Saint John of Kanty, we may advance in knowledge of holy things, and by showing compassion to all, may gain forgiveness in your sight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.” [1]

References

[1] Optional Memorial of St. John of Kanty, priest, Catholic Culture 

[2] St. John of Kanty, Catholic Online

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Love Came Down

A reflection on love and relationships in light of Jesus

Holding Hands shadow on sand

If there is anything that I’m learning that is a matter of importance, it is that love is rough. It is one of the hardest things that a person can do, especially all giving love. I do not have any kids of my own. I am not married. But I have this man, whom I adore, and as I wait for him to present me with a ring, I realize that there will be never anything harder to do than always fully giving myself over to the love that is between us.

I struggle everyday to set aside my more difficult traits for him. I know that I could go to a jewelry store and find the perfect ring. I could get what I desire most, propose to him, and take care of it so that it would never plague me again. But I realize that this is not the love that we are supposed to have for each other. I am not even sure that it could be called love. It would be me pushing events in the manner and timing of my choosing merely because I couldn’t suffer waiting any longer. It would be taking the easy way out.

The love that we feel, between the BF and I, between the parent and the child, more importantly between husband and wife, it is a very minor reflection of God’s love and endurance for us. I have a hard time setting aside my controlling behaviors for the man I know very dearly, the man who I profess my love for. And yet Love came down from heaven with an even greater purpose—a purpose to redeem all of mankind—to suffer incredible pain that would have killed any other person time and again before they even reached the cross.

Jesus didn’t just love us. He was human, and yet he was able to set aside his humanity in order to do the Lord’s bidding. Jesus suffered greatly for us. He knew what was coming and he still did not run, push it aside, or take the easy way out, because he is love. Loving people and being in relationships is not easy at all, but we have an amazing intercessor that is willing to help us understand just what love endure. Who better to show us how to set aside our wants, desires and emotions for the well being of our love ones?

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Good Ol’ St. Nick

A reflection on how myths can be used to reveal the love of God.

There are many different kinds of myths.  Often times when we hear the word ‘myth’ we think of some story that had been believed to be truth at sometime, but not any longer and cannot be verified scientifically or historically.  Perhaps we think of other types of stories that are created not to explain any truth but to explain away an issue (“I swear, Aunt Pam, it was a really BIG ghost that stole that cookie”). Then there is the definition of a ‘myth’ from the Catholic perspective, one that I have been struggling to grasp.  It is a definition much like the first, but with a few subtle differences.  The first is that the myth is not “a story believed to be truth” but a story given to us through divine revelation from God.  The second is that the truth behind the story still stands to this day and is verifiable through the Church teachings, the bible, and history.  Vague, I know.

Let’s approach it this way:  Santa Claus is a well known myth.  But what kind of myth is it?  Let’s think about it.  Santa Claus is some overweight, jolly, white bearded man who is full of great charity and love for all.  He has this list, as we all know, and he checks it twice for children who have behaved enough to receive a gift from him.  Then in the middle of the night, like a thief, he flies around the world and sneaks gifts into the homes of those children on his list.  One can get lost in some of the ludicrous ideas in this myth—such as the reindeer, traveling to every child in one night, the use of elves to produce the gifts.  Such a character surely could not exist.

Enter St. Nickolas.  No, not the Santa Claus St. Nick, but a man who once lived a full life in God around the year 345.  He was the Bishop of Myra and known for his charity.  The legend goes that St. Nickolas heard of a man, who in suffering great poverty, felt forced to put his three maiden daughters out onto the street for prostitution.  Out of charity and love, St. Nickolas threw three bags of gold through the window of the man’s house in the middle of the night, rescuing the girls from a life of sin.  We can see how the myth of Santa Claus was created from this legend.

I would propose that there is more to the myth than just a story of some ancient man, but reveals an even greater truth about the Creator.  This is the truth of God’s great charity and love for all, how he steals through the night bearing gifts for those of his children whose names are found in the Book of Life.  Our joy in giving others Christmas gifts, of surprising our children with presents sneaked under the Christmas tree in the middle of the night, is a small reflection of God’s great joy in giving us the greatest gift there ever was and is: his Love in the form of Christ.

Happy St. Nickolas day and Merry Christmas.

Additional Reading

Catholic Culture

Catholic Pages Directory

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