Pondering for Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Readings for James Otis Sargent Huntington Priest and Monk

Psalm 34:1–8 Galatians 6:14-18 John 6:34-38

 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  (John 6:35)

It is interesting that the two components of Christian transformation are to come to Jesus and then believe in Jesus.  Jesus uses the terms of hunger and thirst to explain this concept.   This draws me back to my days at St Vincent de Paul Catholic School.  The sisters insisted that we children first eat all of our food before we drink our milk.  First we satisfied the hunger, and then we quenched our thirst.  I don’t know if they were making this particular connection, but this day, as I write this, I can make the connection.

Today I will remember James Otis Sargent Huntington whose day was actually the 25th of November.  “James Otis Sargent Huntington was born in Boston in 1854. After graduation from Harvard, he studied theology at St. Andrew’s Divinity School in Syracuse, New York, and was ordained deacon and priest by his father, the first Bishop of Central New York. In 1880 and 1881, he ministered in a working-class congregation at Calvary Mission, Syracuse.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 25)

“While attending a retreat at St. Clement’s Church, Philadelphia, Huntington received a call to the religious life. He considered joining the Society of St. John the Evangelist, which had by that time established a province in the United States, but he resolved to found an indigenous American community.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 25)  It seems Huntington wanted his own brand of bread so to speak.  His hunger and thirst was for a domestic kind.  When we introduce our Lord Jesus to people we must then step back as see how our Lord Jesus works in them.  We should not make the people that we tell about our Lord Jesus, how they should respond. We should just watch our Lord Jesus work in them, and be amazed.

“Huntington and two other priests began their common life at Holy Cross Mission on New York’s Lower East Side, ministering with the Sisters of St. John Baptist among poor immigrants. The taxing daily regimen of Eucharist, prayer, and long hours of pastoral work soon forced one priest to leave for reason of health. The other dropped out for lack of a vocation. Huntington went on alone; and on November 25, 1884, his life vow was received by Bishop Potter of New York.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 25) For reasons of poor health I understand, but, “lack of vocation?” I don’t. Perhaps he drank his milk before he finished his meal.                                                     

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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