The people of Europe had just recovered from the plague, which had wiped out about one-third of the population. The Western Schism occurred, in which three men claimed to be pope! The Franciscans had a heretical group within them! The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and were moving into central Europe. So, what was a body to do? Preach! He preached to great crowds who were either ambivalent or confused about the Church. He sparked great conversions in the people who heard him. He helped the Franciscans root out the heretical group in their midst. He then preached a crusade in central Europe to stop the Turks, leading an army into Belgrade, Hungary lifting the siege and stopping the Muslim advance into Europe.
Why is all this important for the life of St. John and for us? We are called to live our faith in the circumstances we encounter. If there is heresy, preach against it! If there is corruption, be a force for light and truth! If there is apathy, live with zeal! When there are forces of evil to face, do so with courage! And that’s the rest of the story! St. John of Capistrano, pray for us.