February 27, 2018

The Young Man of 26

It is said that time spent in the presence of the Eucharist can change a person. Well, one cannot expect that to happen immediately. It usually takes time. As to the story below, there is more to it than the short portion provided here. The real story may be more about what happened afterwards. Still, this was the starting point.

A young man came to see the Cure D’ Ars for confession one day. He lived in a town of about 25,000 people. He was known by most everyone there and held in high regard. This was quite important to him.

Also, it seems that for young people like himself, and for others whose opinion mattered to him, belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was looked on skeptically and perhaps even derision. To be popular, one would not openly demonstrate support for such a belief.

And so it must have been quite surprising, and disquieting, for the young man when Fr. Vianney told him that, for his penance, on one of the two Sundays in his town for the procession celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi, he would have to walk in that procession. Further, he would have to walk in a spot directly behind the canopy over the Eucharist.

He avoided doing it the first Sunday. On the second, he knew he had to. And so he did. He later said, for two hours, “cold perspiration bathed my forehead; my knees shook under me.” He also said that were he to “live a hundred years,” he would never forget “those two hours.”

It did change him. He said that, because of it, he “roused” his faith and “endeavored to pray.” Two years later, he led a conference of St. Vincent de Paul, in front of thirty young men who had been inspired by his example.

Source: Trochu, Abbe Francois, The Cure D’Ars (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books 2007) p. 318.


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