Hunting is unquestionably a manly sport. Here in the U.S., deer season is in full swing, and over the next few months, thousands of heavily camouflaged hunters will take to the woods with rifles and bows in pursuit of a trophy buck.
But what many Catholic hunters don’t realize is that there is an ancient and venerable tradition of Catholic hunting, and the Church has even appointed a patron saint for those who crave the thrill of the chase. His name is St. Hubert.
The Conversion of a Master Hunter
Have you ever seen a bottle of Jagermeister? If so, you’ll no doubt have noticed a majestic looking deer with a cross suspended between its antlers. Jagermeister is not known as a particularly Christian company, so what does this image mean? It’s a reference to the story of St. Hubert, the master hunter.
Born around 705 A.D., St. Hubert was quite the playboy. As nobility, he had the freedom and wealth do as he pleased, and what pleased him more than anything was hunting. But after his wife died in childbirth, hunting went from a hobby to an obsession, and Hubert devoted nearly all his time to the spot. What he didn’t know, however, was that all the while, God was hunting him.
On Good Friday morning one year, faithful flocked to the churches for mass. But Hubert was not among them. He had no time for pious devotions, and he was in the woods pursuing a magnificent stag. Hubert was closing in for the kill when, without warning, the stag he was pursuing turned and looked directly at him. Suspended between its majestic antlers was a glowing crucifix. Hubert was dumbfounded. A voice from heaven boomed, “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell.” Deeply moved, Hubert asked what he must do. He was instructed