A year after his arrival in Hawaii, Fr. Damien wrote home to his family: I love my Hawaiians very much and am doing all I can for them. And they in turn love me. It is by this mutual affection that I hope to convert them to God. For if they love the priest, they will easily love our Lord.
Missionaries have often been criticized for forcing their faith on others, but Fr. Damien relied on love to bring Christ to the Hawaiian people, both the lepers and the healthy. There was no distinction for him; they were all simply God's people, even if they didn't yet know Him. If they could come to love this simple, rough and sometimes disheveled man, surely they would love God who is perfect in all ways.
We can all try to show Christ's face to the world, as imperfect as we are. If we are sincere in our efforts to model Jesus, even our defects can be put to use by God. People will see our joy through difficult times, our humor at our own ineptness, our patience in trials, especially those we may have caused! This is how St. Damien brought others to Christ; he accepted himself and was not afraid that showing his true nature would compromise his mission, for Christ dwelt in his heart through faith and he was rooted and grounded in love. (Eph. 3:17)
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!Â