"The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possess, even if he does not realize it, is family life." - Bl. Adolph Kopling
Father Kolping was a German priest in the early- to- mid-nineteenth century. The son of a shephred, he journeyed to Cologne at eighteen to become a shoemaker's assistant. This is where he heard God calling him to the priesthood. He was ordained that the age of twenty-three. Fr. Kolping's apostolate was centered on working class young men, like himself. It was the dawn of the factory in European society, and young men were feeling hopeless, worthless; they were forgetting what was beautiful about being a human being in the life, made in the image of God Almighty. Young Fr. Kolping was ridiculed by some for waisting his gifts on young workers, but he was passionate about his apostolate--supporting family life and the dignity of labor--and pursued it faithfully until his death at age fifty-two. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1991. His feast is celebrated today, December 10th.
A quick explanation for my readers who don't know: "Bl." means "Blessed." This indicates that a person has been beatified (the first step to formalized sainthood) but is not yet canonized (the step that makes you a recognized saint). We're still waiting on a confirmed instance of one more miracle due to Fr. Kolping's intercession. I wonder, though, if many have not already occurred that we just cannot document.
What strikes me about Fr. Kolping's work on earth is that he worked tirelessly to prevent the need for larger miracles. How many lasting marriages, hopeful lives, and conversions of the heart were due to his work on earth? How much more so due to his prayers in heaven? Yet, in our modern times, aren't these the true miracles? Someone turns water into wine and we call it an illusion. Someone has a healthy, passionate, godly marriage for sixty years and we say, "Miraculous!"
Miraculous! What we do in our homes--the lives that we lead for God--the witness that we give by living them--are miracles! Let us celebrate Fr. Kolping's life by recognizing the everyday miracles of our own family life and our own labors, and let us seek his intercession that, with God's help, we may persevere to the end, running the good race that, to some may look ordinary but, at the end is marked with cries of, "Miraculous!"