Feast of Saint John Francis Regis, by Father Médaille

Saint John Francis Regis“To the poor the gospel is preached.” – Luke 7:22

Saint John Francis Regis may well be called the Apostle of the Poor, The reason why he was inflamed with zeal for them was that he found in them more motives for compassion, more grounds for consolation, and more occasions for merit. The rich, he said, have the bread of the word in abundance, while the poor often perish for want of this food. Alas! they are deprived alike of spiritual and temporal help. Can we remain unmoved by this kind of poverty, even if we have no feeling for their other misfortunes?

Generally speaking, it is more consoling to labour for the salvation of the poor. We speak to them more freely, they listen with greater docility, have fewer allurements to sin, and fewer hindrances to virtue. The conversions which cost Saint John Francis Regis least, were the conversions of the peasants. Let the rich tremble at their condition; let the poor appreciate their good fortune; let apostolical men examine into the sources of their zeal: if their sole aim is to labour in the field of Our Lord, who can prevent them from reaping so easy and so bountiful a harvest?

As a common rule, there is more merit gained in our dealings with the poor: our charity is purer; the deceptions of self-love are less to be feared; faith alone promotes and sustains our efforts. “In working for the poor,” said Saint John Francis Regis, “I shall gain more and risk less.” Oh, how many gospel labourers will have no further reward than the applause and fame gained among the rich! Were we then to consult our own interests only, we ought to employ ourselves more willingly for the poor.