Saint John Mary Vianney is truly a saint for our times. He was born into poverty in 1786, a few years before the French revolution and The Terror of 1793 and 1794 when thousands of people were summarily executed in France. After great personal difficulty he was ordained a priest.
St John Vianney was not the brightest bulb in the box: he could master neither Latin nor theology but when he had enough Latin to say Mass they decided to ordain him if for no other reason than that he was persistent. At this stage John Mary had shown none of the holiness that would make him world famous.
In 1817 John Mary was made priest of the village of Ars. The marvellous gift of the unlearned priest for seeing into the depths of the soul brought the world to Ars. From 1830 forward he averaged twelve to sixteen hours a day in the confessional.
Why would the Curé be such a great saint for today? Because we are running everywhere to seek solutions to our problems instead of the one place where the solution lies—with God. We seek peace in money, sex and power but never in the depth of our soul. We are afraid of that place, the place deep within us that reveals to us who and what we really are; we dare not go there.
Men such as the Curé have the gift of bringing us to that place safely, a place where we can be with God, speak to him and hear his voice. Padre Pio had the same gift and that is why thousands flocked to him. Not everyone is blessed with the ability to listen to our heart, sometimes we need the direction of a good person to lead us there.
That is why finding a good spiritual director or confessor is so important for the spiritual life—they can lead us safely where we dare not go.