St. Gerard of Brogne
Gerard was born at the end of the ninth century in France. His family was wealthy, but Gerard was not proud. In fact, he was known because of his friendly, kind ways. After a hunting trip, he and his friends returned to his estate tired and hungry. After he invited the others inside for refreshments and rest, he left. Gerard went out and slipped into a little chapel that was on his property. He prayed for a long time. His tired body seemed rested and he forgot all about his hunger.
The idea occurred to Gerard that if people only realized the joy of praying, they would be so much more willing to pray. Then he thought about the monks who spend their life praising God. Imagine how privileged they are, he thought. He prayed over the possibility of a religious vocation and joined the monastery of Saint-Denis.
Gerard loved the life he had chosen and after studies became a priest. He had been a monk for eleven years when he was given permission to start a monastery on his own property at Brogne. The monastery flourished but Gerard felt there was too much activity and excitement. He built himself a little hermitage next to the church. He lived there quietly and alone. But he was not allowed to stay in peace for very long. His superiors asked Gerard to visit the monasteries in Flanders and Normandy. The monks needed some guidance and help in becoming more fervent. This work took Gerard on many journeys for some twenty years.
All of his life Gerard lived a strict life filled with sacrifices. He did this because he wanted to show Jesus that he loved him. He showed that love by willingly offering little acts of self-denial. When he knew his life on earth was nearly over, he asked to be able to return to his little hut back in Brogne. He was given permission to do that. Gerard died peacefully on October 3, 959.
St. Gerard discovered the joy of prayer that comes from a close relationship with God. Is there a way that I can foster a closer relationship with God in my own life?