Monday, February 19, 2007

Boniface of Lausanne... Feb. 19 -- Bishop and teacher

Boniface of Lausanne (Bishop and teacher, d. .1265) is commemorated today, Feb. 19. He only served nine years as bishop of Lausanne, since he had the temerity to publicly scold the EMPEROR and local clergy for their corruption. In speaking of Boniface, Butler's Lives of the Saints talks of his living the Christian life in "quiet desperation." The text says,
As has been true of so many who labor for Christ, Boniface ran into years of opposition and misunderstanding. Exasperated, he publicly expressed his poor opinion of the clergy who worked with him. Opposition intensified, and Emperor Frederick II also began to work against Boniface. An unruly group of men ambushed and seriously wounded him in 1239. Weak and competely discouraged, he resigned his post as bishop and returned to Brussels and the nuns at La Cambre (where he had been educated as a young boy).

For many of us, we buy into the notion that the good life is one that brings about results. The only struggle worth engaging in, we are told, is one where we can change things, gain results. But the Christian life is precisely not about results... at least outward, per se. As a Christian we engage in a struggle where God alone will bring about results... at the end. Now, we are called to engage in the struggle where we are sanctified. We are built up by practicing fortitude.

My only concern about Butler's text is where it says Boniface was weak and completely discouraged. As long as "completely discouraged" does not mean despair, then I am fine with that... but we must continue to hope that God is active in our lives and our words and deeds, even if we cannot see it at the moment.

For all who labor for Christ, we should hear that we do not labor in vain, even if we continually run into opposition. We should see that we are signposts to God's fortitude and never-ending desire to bring about the Kingdom.


No comments: