Wednesday, April 20, 2016

An Extraordinary, Yer Ordinary Man!

St. Isidore.  Have you heard of him?  You must have for he was as ordinary as you and me, but he became extraordinary.  St. Isidore is a prime example to all of us “average Joe's” of the world that even in the ordinary situations of life, we can become holy through the gift of faith and prayer.

St. Isidore was a simple but pious man of faith and prayer.  He was born in Madrid, Spain, and though his family was unable to procure for him any type of educational advancement, they taught him to have great faith and to have a great fear of the Lord and to always turn from sin.  When he became of age to work, he found employment from a wealthy resident by the name of John de Vegras as a farm laborer. Before going to work each day, Isidore would attend Mass and spent much time in prayer. When his fellow workers took notice of his absence or late coming, they would complain to Vegras.  Having heard this news, Vegras wanted to see for himself so he secretly hid to watch Isidore.  When he discovered that the complaint was true, Vegras decided to put a stop to Isidore's irregular behavior. But to his amazement he saw mysterious figures working alongside Isidore in his work of plowing the fields.  In addition, Vegras even saw an increase of many benefits for his estate and his family coming from the work of Isidore.

Isidore loved giving to the poor.  Though he himself was poor he always gave what he had to the poorest of the poor.  His love for the poor even extended to animals.  On one cold winter day, Isidore couldn't help but notice the sound of hungry birds. So while he was carrying a sack of corn to a mill, he used about half the sack to feed the poor hungry animals.  People who witnessed this, scoffed at his actions and made complaints.  However, once Isidore completed his task of carrying the corn to the mill, the bag he was carrying was fully restored.

So who was St. Isidore.  He was an ordinary man of the church, a farmer.  He was not a monk, a well-educated theologian, priest, high ranking official or even a politician.  St. Isidore was a simple beloved child of God who in his life left a prime example of the ordinary person being a faithful witness to God within the world.  He is an example for all “average Joe's” that holiness is possible in any state in life, in any situation with the gift of faith and love for prayer.

Today St. Isidore is the patron saint of farmers and of the city of Madrid with his feast day on May 15.  He was officially canonized in March, 1622, next to four great saints of the church: St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa and St. Philip Neri all who are great priests, theologians and religious.