Saint John of God (1495-1550)
for March 8
Saint John of God was a very enthusiastic person. When he got an idea in his head, he acted on it in a big way. John stopped practicing his Christian faith during a stint with the military. Once he realized the sinfulness of his ways, he dedicated his life to serving God and traveled to Africa to free Christian captives and possibly become a martyr. When he was advised that his motives for martyrdom weren't spiritually sound, John returned to Spain. He felt unsettled until he heard Saint John of Avila preach. John of God was so moved by the sermon that he ran through the streets beating himself and fervently begging for God's mercy. John's wild display worried the townspeople and they admitted him into a mental institution. After he was released and reprimanded by John of Avila, John of God began to channel his zeal and enthusiasm into ministering to the poor. He cared and provided for the poor through begging on the streets. Many people were inspired by John's great compassion for the less fortunate and began to provide monetary donations and supplies to his cause. Eventually, John gained a number of followers who formed the Brothers Hospitallers after his death. Saint John of God is the patron of many things, including hospitals, sick people, and firefighters.
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Saint John of God was a very zealous person. However, his great enthusiasm and zeal were overwhelming to some people, and he was not taken seriously until he learned to channel his excitement into ministering to the poor. Do you channel your passion and enthusiasm about your Christian faith into constructive ways to minister to others, or do you display your faith in a wild, overbearing way that may scare others off?
Loving God, you are the endless gift-giver! Thank you for this day. I will try to spend it with Jesus Christ at my side and the Holy Spirit leading me. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)