I read a little more about St John Mary Vianney recently. And among the words that appeared to my mind was: mad.
The guy was was madly in love with God.
Now venerated as the Patron Saint of Priests, he is quoted in the Catechism to summarize what the priesthood is: “the love of the Heart of Jesus.” He’s so identified with the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, that on the 150th anniversary of his departure to Heaven, then Pope Benedict XVI declared the year 2009 as the “Year for Priests.”
Among his most outstanding traits is his commitment to hear Confessions. He clearly saw the Sacrament crucial to fulfill mission, the salvation of souls. The Curé of Ars (as he is also known — the Parish Priest of Ars, a farming town in eastern France) would spend 13-17 hours in the confessional! (And here I am, I can’t even stand sitting in the office for an hour!)
It is also said that St John Mary Vianney sometimes wept while hearing Confession. When asked by the penitent why he was crying, the saint replied: “My friend, I weep because you do not weep.” He was totally convinced of the malice of sin, which cost all the blood of Christ on the Cross.
So, it would be good to ask the prayers of St John Mary Vianney when we are about to go to Confession — so that we would do our best to be simple, emptying ourselves of sins, so that Christ can fill us with himself.