It is amazing how God works…
I had no idea what to write about for this devotional. However, when I came downstairs the other morning, an article had somehow found its way to my computer screen. I had never heard of the person featured in the article before, but as I read it, I immediately understood that he was to be the subject of my next devotional. His name? Father Hugh O’Flaherty!
As you can tell by the name, he was Irish. He is, in fact, known as “Ireland’s shining priest”.
Father O’Flaherty lived from 1898-1963, and he was a central figure in the Catholic resistance to Nazism. During WWII, he was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews.
Father O’Flaherty received a number of awards following the war. He was honoured in Italy, Canada and Australia. He was even awarded a lifetime pension from Italy. He refused to use this money, however.
Although known for his heroic war efforts, Father O’Flaherty was foremost a servant of the Most High God, and he saw it as his primary responsibility to bring as many people to the Lord as possible. He never gave up on anyone. Not even a former SS chief named Herbert Kappler. He understood that even the most evil people in history are redeemable, and he never gave up hope that Kappler would come to the Lord. Thanks to Father O’Flaherty’s efforts and prayers, the hardened war criminal eventually repented of his past and came to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
Father O’Flaherty saw it as his personal responsibility to save people from both impending physical and spiritual harm. What would the church be like today if it were filled with people as dedicated to saving others as Father O’Flaherty? What if each of us reached out to the lost? What if we, also, believed that even the most evil person is redeemable and committed ourselves to prayer for that person’s salvation? What if we, also, did everything in our power to rescue those from poverty, danger, etc?
Isn’t this how we are all called to live? Isn’t this the whole point of the parable of the sheep and the goats?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:31-40 NIV)
Let’s let the life of Father Hugh O’Flaherty be an inspiration to each of us, that we may also reach out to save as many as we can, both spiritually-speaking, and physically as well! For when we do, we will be earning the reply of the King: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)
In His love,