Today is the feast of St. Louis de Montfort, most well-known for the total consecration to Mary and for founding the de Montfort Fathers.
There is a story I heard about him once that I love, although it is perhaps apocryphal. St. Louis was a large man, well over 6 feet tall, and filled with missionary zeal. He traveled about France preaching wherever he went. In one village he was preaching in the small church, but kept getting interrupted by the raucous noise from a tavern next door. Interrupting his preaching, St. Louis purposefully went into the tavern and ordered the rough, and probably semi-drunk, men there to either be quiet or, better, come next door to the mission.
They jeered at him, throwing food and beer at him, but St. Louis would have known of that. He immediately waded into the crowd alone, knocking heads, and subduing the men, until finally, properly chastened and likely sporting a few bruises, they all eventually trooped to the church to hear St. Louis finish his preaching.
Now that’s a saint for me! We may be called to love, but we’re not called to be doormats. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, “Extreme means in preaching the Gospel is no vice.”