Why Would Anyone Go Hunting?

Just last week, I went on my annual squirrel-hunting trip with my dad, grandpa, uncle and cousins for a couple of days.  Squirrel hunting?  Who in their right mind would do that?  I’ve received this question many times over the years.  To answer this I thought I would share a little bit about the patron saint of hunting, who we recently celebrated on November 3: St. Hubert.

St. Hubert was a 7th century Belgium saint who experienced the tragedy of losing his wife during the birth of their son.  Because of this, Hubert retreated into the forest and gave himself entirely to hunting.  According to the legend, on Good Friday, while everyone was at church, Hubert was out hunting a big deer when all of a sudden the deer turned and he saw a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord, and lead a holy life, you will quickly go to hell.”  In response, Hubert fell prostrate and asked, “Lord, what would you have me do?”  He heard the answer, “Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you.”  So he responded and went to Bishop Lambert, and eventually became a priest to serve our God.  The prayer to St. Hubert helps to explain his story as well:

“Great St. Hubert, you were passionate about hunting, but when touched by Divine Grace, you put down your bow and took up the collar of priesthood.  Known for your miracles and the conversion of hundreds, you convinced others to worship and glorify Our Lord.  Moved by your example, I implore your help.  I ask for the grace to follow in your footsteps and become a passionate disciple of Christ. Amen.” 

From St. Hubert’s story, we realize that he used hunting to run away from the issues of his life.  That is precisely the opposite reason I go hunting.  Rather than running away from issues in life, I go hunting to give myself time to think about the issues of my life and unpack them with the Lord.  Hunting provides the quiet solitude needed to digest life’s situations.

In the gospel this weekend, Jesus calls us to “stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 1:13).  Do you spend your days awake, giving yourself the time to connect with the Lord and allow him to work through the issues of the heart?  Or are you asleep?  Do you run away from life’s problems by busying yourself with many activities?

This week, strive to give yourself the quiet solitude you need to be with the Lord, to stay awake, to enter into the situations you find yourself in.  He will help you through it all.

May God’s peace and joy be with you,

Fr. Jeremy