Becoming rich in the sight of God

Brother André, whose 10th Anniversary of canonization will be celebrated this year, had, like many people still today, his share of misery and misfortune. Orphaned by father and mother at the age of 12, sickly and uneducated, he had to work hard to earn his living and make his way. But he wasn’t destitute for all that.

Over the years, little by little, with the help of those around him and his good friend Saint Joseph, he discovered an immense richness that inhabited him, like a seed deposited in him. He welcomed this seed as a precious gift from God. He made it grow in faith and prayer.

This precious gift that made Brother André live so intensely, Saint Paul tells us about it: “God is rich in mercy; because of the great love with which he loved us, we who were dead because of our sins, he made us live again with Christ. With him he raised us up. By his goodness to us in Christ, he wanted to demonstrate in the centuries to come the extraordinary richness of his grace.” (Eph. 2:6-7)

This is the only richness that brings human beings back to life: the Love of this God who has made us like him. “He gave us his own Son,” says St. Paul, “how could he not give us everything with his Son?” (Rom. 8:32)

Every day, advertising tries to make us believe that happiness and success come through material wealth. But our personal experience and the media, which day after day open a window on the world, clearly contradict all these dreams. The example of the COVID 19 pandemic shows us the fragility of our societies. We know that no wealth can buy love or health. No wealth can give love. But love is worth more than all the wealth in the world, especially in this time of pandemic.

Brother André shows us the way to this wealth that no one or anything else can take away from us. He never ceased to marvel at the goodness of God. He spent hours talking about the passion of Christ and his love for us. “See how good God is, how good he cares for us,” he would often say.

Strengthened by this love of God, Brother André spent his life welcoming all kinds of distress, human and spiritual; he comforted and gave hope, he bore fruits of peace and happiness. He became rich in the sight of God. Thanks to him and to the support of all his friends, he left us this house of prayer that is the ORATORY, AN OPEN DOOR on the love of God.

Even today, he invites us to make this wealth deposited in each one of us bear fruit and to share it. This richness can only be grasped with the heart as Mary and Joseph did in the simplicity of the crib. Let us open our hearts wide to this richness.

Jean-Pierre Aumont, c.s.c.