By Fr. Paul Stark, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry
In a few days, we'll celebrate the life of Peter Canisius, S.J., a Jesuit saint best known for being an intellectual and a great defender of the Catholic faith in a time of unrest and reform. He was an eloquent speaker who attracted hundreds of people with his sermons, and served as an advisor for many of the famous and powerful people in authority in his world. But most of all, he was known for his zeal to help people understand their faith.
When Canisius was born, into a world of great upheaval and many changes, Martin Luther was beginning to spread his ideas of reform and St. Ignatius was just beginning to turn from his life of a worldly soldier to a life more taught and directed by God, to a life more selfless.
By age 19, Canisius had received his master's degree and had met Peter Faber, one of the first Jesuits who made a great impact on him. Canisius would enter the Society of Jesus and continue his training. At the request of the Pope, Ignatius sent Canisius to the Council of Trent after his ordination. He would later be sent to the hotbed of political and religious revolution of the time, Germany, where he became known not only for his education, but also for his use of his own experience of helping the poor and sick to inform his preaching and writings.
His dedication and energy became legendary. He was one of the first Jesuits to use the new medium of the printing press in an effective manner to reach and to influence more and more people. Though he was busy with founding several schools, preaching on a regular basis and writing many books, he also found time to serve the poorest people. When asked if he felt overworked, Peter replied, If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all.
As we see the end of this academic year approaching, and we begin to feel the pressure of final papers and exams, last-minute projects and the various tasks that face us, we might use the words of Peter Canisius to give us hope. We too often spend energy wondering and moaning about all we have to do-energy we could use more productively if we remember that all these tasks are possible if we ask for God's help, and then get on with all we have to do, all we need to do.
As we prepare for a good finish of this year, ask God for the help to bring to a successful completion all He has begun with us. Then we can confidently turn to our many tasks, knowing that God will give us what we need, if we do our part.
If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all.
With God's help...