Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Example of the Saints
To begin his sermon on St. Rita's feast day this past Saturday, Father Robert Hagan, OSA, issued this advice: If you want to know God, get to know His friends. And if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. How fortunate we are as Catholics to have the example of the Saints, especially the Queen of all the Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who accepted God's will for her life without question. In reviewing my books on the saints to write yesterday's reflection on St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, I was really struck by her motto: To suffer, not to die!" I must confess to occasional temptations to reflect on how much this life really is an exile in a valley of tears, when perhaps what I should be thinking about is how life is an opportunity to try to demonstrate gratitude to God for all of His blessings, especially knowing that if I gain entrance into His kingdom, it will based not on my own merit but His unfathomable mercy and love.
St. Therese knew this. When her sister Celine expressed concern about how she would get to heaven, her little sister's advice was "Hold out your hand to God." The ladder might be steep, but we are not expected to climb it all alone, and the biggest mistake we can make is to think we can do anything by ourselves. St. Rita's life did not pan out exactly as she dreamed. When she longed for life in the convent, what she got was a less-than-perfect marriage and the heartache that went with it. In the novena prayed weekly to her there is the line "by the surrender of your children rather than have them offend God." In all things, obedience to God's Will directed all of her thoughts and actions. Even when she found herself a childless widow, God did not exactly make the path to life as a religious without its obstacles, but in the end, Rita obtained what she wanted. How fortunate for us who have come to realize the power of her intercession with Him.
A priest I know once commented that St. Therese is someone you admire, while St. Rita is someone you can imitate. I say let's try imitating both of them. We can fail, but even our failure will be more pleasing than if we had simply not bothered at all.
Posted by TLW at 7:24 PM