I wish I had known Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. I would have savored the opportunity to ask him what it was like to spread the Gospel with the likes of Hollywood royalty such as Lucille Ball and Shirley Temple. I would have been thrilled to have taken part in one of his Rosary Rallies, which attracted more than 28 million people.
But thankfully I now have a glimpse into Father Peyton’s world, thanks to the new edition of his autobiography, All for Her. Released by Ave Maria Press, the work is a treasure trove of information and anecdotes from a Renaissance man who was ahead of his time in terms of his engagement with the media.
Father Peyton’s life and words can teach us many lessons. Here are just a sample:
It is possible to use modern media for good. In this time when social media can seem like a cesspool of negativity, it is important that we remember that we can also use the media at our fingertips as a force for good. Father Peyton built bridges with the film and television industry to share the goodness of the Gospel. Certainly we can try to spread the love of Christ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
With the Blessed Mother’s help, we can achieve amazing things. In a stirring passage, Father Peyton writes of giving his life over to Christ’s immaculate mother:
If I had the heavens in my hand at the moment, I’d have given them right to her. At Notre Dame that day, I gave my heart and soul in love to Mary. I promised her all the merit of my priesthood until death. The merit and glory of every action I would ever perform would be hers and hers alone.
Prayer, and in particular the Rosary, can be a source of unity for families. In this age when so many cultural forces try to drive families apart, it’s comforting to know that there are steps families can take to ensure their health and well-being. Among the best prescriptions for what’s ailing us is daily prayer. As Father Peyton stated:
The family is the greatest treasure the earth possesses. God is the greatest treasure of heaven. The Rosary is the link of steel that has the power to unite them together for time and eternity.
Inspirational words can lead us to victory. Father Peyton was a master of the inspirational quote which could sum up a dramatic truth in just a few words. If he were living today, he would probably be the master of the Internet meme with quotations such as these:
“A world at prayer is a world at peace.”
“The family that prays together, stays together.”
And this line, borrowed from Alfred Lord Tennyson: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
The cause for Father Peyton’s canonization opened in 1997. In 2017, Pope Francis declared him venerable. Let us pray that someday soon the priest who vowed to give all for Mary will have his place in the canon of the saints.
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Copyright 2019 Maria V. Gallagher