Monday, September 24, 2007

St. Gerard of Csanad: A Traveling Tutor "Hungary" to Spread the Truth

Lord do not lay this sin to their charge, they know not what they do.
–St. Gerard's prayer, just before his martyrdom

St. Gerard (or Gellert), one of today's numerous but not very well-known saints, seemed perfect for me in this imperfect time we live in. Personally, I can relate to him because he was a writer (though few of his writings, save a commentary on the three young men in Dan. 3 survived) and teacher (he is the patron saint of tutors) and yet he "FITS" in well for all of us who have had plans changed abruptly, for both good and bad—which, come to think of it, IS all of us!

As a young man, Gerard left the monastery in San Giorgio, Italy, to pilgrimage to Jerusalem to seek the will of God for his life. He never got there, no doubt because he found God's will for himself along the way. Traveling through Hungary, a chance encounter with King (and later Saint) Stephen had the monarch becoming so impressed with the young monk's grasp of the faith that he offered Gerard the task of tutoring his son, Prince Emeric, which Gerard gladly accepted. And in this regard, Gerard did such a fine job that not only did Prince Emeric himself later become "Blessed Emeric," but St. Stephen also appointed Gerard the Bishop of Csanad. Few of the subjects here were Christians, and even fewer of the men were educated, but against all odds (or rather as Gerard would say "through the strength I obtain through constant prayer,") the mild mannered bishop-monk converted tons of hard-nosed Hungarian ruffians, and Gerard's See remained strong throughout King Stephen's reign.

But alas, the peace was not to last, for upon Stephen's death, un-Christian factions seized control of the Kingdom, attacking Gerard (who had just finished celebrating Mass) and his party with stones. After repeating the words of the earlier St. Stephen, Gerard was stabbed with a lance, dragged to the edge of the cliff known as Mount Kelen, and hurled over the side. His followers immediately revered their bishop as saint and martyr, even renaming the cliff Mt. Gellert. Gerard died around the year 1046. At the pleading of the Venetians his remains were transferred to Venice, Gerard's birthplace, in 1333, where they remain today.

St. Gerard, pray for us, and all those pro-lifers trying to evangelize the modern day "ruffians" of Planned Parenthood, especially in Aurora.

No comments :