“God is thinking of us! Nothing can happen to us except by God’s Will.”
These words can sound like a mere pious sentiment – until you learn the circumstances under which they were spoken. Gabriel Possenti and the other Passionist seminarians had been moved to the remote town of Isola to escape the revolutionary violence that was tearing through Italy. Eventually the trouble made its way even to this isolated town; the rebels looted the Passionist retreat where Gabriel and his companions were staying, and then the opposing royal army rushed in to search the monastery for fugitives. It was in the midst of all this upheaval that Gabriel spoke these words of confidence to his terrified friends – and even went out to defend the townspeople with remarkable courage!
Trust in God is a virtue that shines particularly brightly in the life of St. Gabriel. He understood that God is mercy itself, and that He arranges all things for our good. While it is easy to say that we trust God, it is only in difficult circumstances that we can see how deeply rooted our trust is; the incident above is evidence of how solid was Gabriel’s confidence in his Heavenly Father.
Gabriel did not practice trust only in the face of physical suffering; he brought this virtue to bear in his spiritual trials as well. When his poor health and the touchy political situation in Italy made it impossible for him to realize his dream of being ordained a priest, he could easily have doubted God’s love for him; after all, wasn’t it God Who had given him the dream of becoming a priest and Who was now snatching that dream from him? However, Gabriel’s confidence in God enabled him to accept this heavy cross with peace, since he knew that the Lord’s plans, while often mysterious, are ultimately motivated by His infinite love and lead to the greatest possible good for each of us.
O good St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, you were taught by God to love the Passion of Jesus and to remember the Sorrows of Mary His Mother. By her side, you stood by the Cross of Jesus and shared her compassion. Following her, you grew in love for God and all His people. O St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, we humbly ask you to intercede before God on our behalf, especially for the intentions we now present before you.
For our vocation promotion endeavors
For all the women whom God is calling to join our monastic family
For the spiritual and temporal needs of our novitiate members and the novice directress
For all who pass through this novitiate – this holy training ground – that they will respond generously to God’s graces poured out in their hearts during this time of intense formation
We place our trust in your prayers St. Gabriel and wish to follow your example. Remember us, and especially our youth, with compassion. Support us all our days by your holy prayers. And when this life is done, may we join you in heaven in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen!