Monday, February 29, 2016

Blessed Marcel Callo: the man who was "Too Catholic."

Hello, everyone! Meg, the Hobo Missionary, is doing a Lenten link-up about how different Saints (Blesseds, Venerables, and servants of God) exemplify how we can show or receive the Father's mercy. Well, I love the saints, and I really love mercy, so I am a huge fan of this Lenten series! Today, I want to join in and discuss Blessed Marcel Callo, a young Catholic man who died in 1945 (An awesome modern "blessed"!). 

First off, can we just appreciate how nerdy this guy looks? Seriously, this is great-I legitimately love his glasses :)  
From salt & light.

Marcel was born in Rennes, France, on December 6, 1921 (feast of St. Nicholas! Epic saint right there!). Melissa Keating notes that he was an "obnoxious Christian," which I find quite wonderful. Marcel was a fairly normal kind of Jesus Freak: a cradle Catholic, boy scout, and was active in a local group of young Christians, Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne. He liked going to the movies, parties, and fell in love. He got engaged to Marguerite Derniaux when he was 20, and the two of them planned to attend daily Mass together during their engagement-how wonderful is that?!?!?! 

In March of 1943, the city of Rennes was bombed, and Marcel volunteered to help clean the rubble. In the process, he discovered the body of his dead sister. Soon after that, Marcel was faced with a summons for Compulsory Work Service in Germany, where he would be forced to manufacture firearms. Marcel feared that if he went into hiding (instead of going into service) his family would be harmed, especially since his brother was in formation to become a priest. Seeing himself as a missionary to the others in Germany, Marcel went into service. 

In the first couple of months under harsh conditions, Marcel experienced depression, but he eventually discovered a priest who celebrated Mass indiscreetly in the barracks. Revived by the Eucharist which he could now receive occasionally, Marcel thrust himself into prayer and fraternal love, organizing communal leisure activities and spiritual nourishment for the men who were with him in the barracks. In 1944, Marcel was arrested for being "too Catholic," was imprisoned in Gotha, and eventually was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Weak, sick, and suffering, Marcel continued to radiate holiness, peace, and trust. He died peacefully on March 19, 1945. 

Blessed Marcel shows us how to live out God's mercy in our daily lives. 
When the city was bombed, he was one of the people who volunteered to help clean up the mess (think: Corporal Works of Mercy). And, even though he could have put himself first and gone into hiding instead of responding to the summons, Marcel selflessly put his family's safety before his own. He also hoped to be a missionary of God's love in Germany, thinking about the spiritual needs of others. Here's the really cool part: on his own, he was was having a really tough time in Germany. But, fortified by the Eucharist and heartfelt prayer, he was able to extend God's mercy and love to many other people! This is the biggest thing that struck me about Marcel's life. He first looked to God, and then he looked outward to show mercy and love to other people. 

In our own lives, we need to show mercy and love to others. But, in order to do this, we must first recognize and receive God's mercy. I think that at times, a zeal for serving other people can be such a huge focus that we forget to first give ourselves completely over to God in prayer and the Sacraments. Eventually, we'll get burnt out because we're worn down from being all "go go go" constantly, and never taking time to rest in God.

Today, open yourself up to God's love and mercy in a deeper way. Let Him into every area of your life, and let him transform you. 
Make the time to pray, and hold that prayer time as precious and important. Don't be afraid of the Confessional-God has so much mercy that He wants to dump out on each and every person in this beautiful Sacrament. 
Fill yourself with God, and then bring that love and mercy to other people! 

Blessed Marcel Callo, pray for us! 

For more saintly awesomeness, head back to Meg's blog! 

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