“I will become a priest, but to be a good and holy priest” (V. Maymard, Vie du R. P. Gailhac,14)
Among the many teachings and testimonies of Father Jean Pierre Antoine Gailhac, who died on 25th of January, 1890, his openly courageous and committed choice stands out. To persevere in the good, which is proper to saints, is to know in advance that the challenges to be faced considering that the perversities that human creatures are capable of committing will be innumerable, some even unimaginable. In 19th century France, Fr. Gailhac had first-hand experience of conflicting ideological radicalisms, among other adversities.
In this life project, Fr. Gailhac took on, as an existential determination, the verse of the evangelist John (10: 10): “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Life in abundance is life that overflows in the relationship with others, in the generous sharing of affection and in the delicacy of caring for those whose lives dwindle into indigence.
That was the purpose of Fr. Gailhac’s life. He became a priest at the age of 24 and, while he was still young, he kept with him his father’s teachings, which cemented his path to becoming a good and holy priest. In a letter from 1883, he wrote: “Not all Christians are called to a life of contemplation; they must, however, lead a life of faith, as our parents did, of which I myself was a witness in my childhood. When the Christian spirit still reigned in our homeland… our parents would say morning and evening prayers as a family. In conversations, there were a few words that showed a living faith and religion always had a place in daily life.” (La Vie Religieuse, Letter 1883).
134 years after his death, his words live on, almost a warning for the 21st century. Let’s dare to be good in life.
January 25th, 2024
With gratitude to Area Brasil for contributing with the text.