St. Leopold was born in 1866 and ordained a Priest in 1890. By the time he died in 1942 at the age of 76, he had managed to become known for something about as far away from accomplishing his own dream as possible. The lesson here is “Humility.”
Leopold was confessor to Bishops, often spending all day in the confessional.
In seminary and throughout life he was plagued with illness – from stomach ailments and arthritis to poor eyesight – and in these speed bumps, he never got down the road. He spent most of his life in Padua when his real dream was to be an ambassador of unity between the Roman and orthodox Churches.
While Leopold’s sainthood is predicated on different matters during and after his life, I think there is a great message in WHO he was.
He was who God called him to be, and did what God told him to do, despite his great dreams and plans for himself.
Sounds like me. I wanted to be and do all sorts of great things. As you know I learned (relatively) not too long ago that God wanted me to BE a ManHusbandDad…not the rich and famous guy I wanted to be. Once I realized who He wanted me to BE, my heart was open to what He wanted me to DO.
Prior to God’s intervention – at least the one I finally listened to – I figured I could DO being a man, a husband, and a father as the world generally expected. God had bigger plans and wanted me to BE someone in obscure anonymity for the people he needed me to be that.
Leopold answered the same call and, like every ManHusbandDad who by definition has acquiesced to the will of The Lord, still had a longing for his dream. He taught patrology – the study of the Fathers of The Church – and longed to use that knowledge to unify the Churches.
Instead, God kept him as a relatively obscure priest, using him to influence others. God has a Plan and it is a Big Picture. His apparent denial of Leopold’s dream was actually not that at all – in fact, it was a dream bigger than Leopold could imagine – though the Saint himself would tell you that such was God’s way.
Ecumenism and unity amongst the Christian faiths it at perhaps the highest level of understanding and confluence that it has seen in the last 1000 years. Leopold was confessor to so many who participated in that effort and who themselves now have a legacy of unity amongst their own disciples.
And Leopold did all this in relative anonymity. His voice was so soft that he couldn’t preach homilies. Every ounce of his influence came from one-on-one ministering. It’s an influence of global reach and perpetual impact.
As a ManHusbandDad, in the spirit of Sts. Joseph and Joachim, we are called to be anonymous, affecting those with whom God has entrusted us their souls. Will glory find us? Yes, but not necessarily in this life. But how great will it be to stand before The Lord and see what good you have done in your anonymity – things and impacts that you and I cannot even imagine – ten seconds from now and ten millennia from now. I want us to stand before The Lord and have Him show us the value of our acquiescence.
And we will reply: “Now I understand.”
I think Leopold said that. This is what he said in life: “I wonder at every moment how a person may risk the salvation of their soul for reasons absolutely futile and weak.”
I wonder that, too, mostly about myself when I stray from the vocation God has given me: