December 5 -- St. Sabas
St. Sabas (439-532) lived mainly in Palestine. He left home at a very early age to go to a monastery. After he had spent ten years in religion, his family attempted to persuade him to leave the monastery and to return home to pursue a secular life.
He replied, "Do you want me to be a deserter, leaving God after placing myself in His service? If those who abandon the militia of earthly kings are severely punished, what chastisement would I not deserve if I abandoned that of the King of heaven?"
When he was thirty years of age, desiring greater solitude, he began to live an angelic life so far above nature that he seemed no longer to have a body according to St. Euthymius. Word of his great sanctity spread and, despite his desire for solitude, he attracted many disciples.
As the numbers grew, he organized them into a "laura" which was a semi-eremitical type of monastery. These monasteries were a great bulwark against heresy.
Being staunchly orthodox, St. Sabas persuaded vast numbers of people to return to the True Faith during times of schism.
Although he wished to remain a hermit, he accepted ordination to
provide the sacraments to those who flocked to his example. As a result, he founded several influential monasteries which produced several distinguished monks, among whom was St. John of Damascus.
The eastern churches at this time were in great confusion. the
Emperor Anastasius supported Eutychian heresy and banished many Catholic bishops. At age seventy, St. Sabas was sent to stop this fury of persecution. After success with the Emperor's successor, St. Sabas travelled far and wide to preach and gain back many fallen souls for the Faith. Finally, four days before he died , he lay in silence without seeing anyone and contemplated God alone.
This story shows that St. Sabas would have been happy to spend his entire life, hidden and in silence. But God had other plans.
St. Sabas was generous of soul, totally flexible in God's hands. He actually spent most of his 90 plus years founding monasteries and preaching against heresy. We should ask St. Sabas to ask Our Lady for the grace to be like clay in her hands so that we can do what is necessary for the glory of God whether it be in our plans or not.