Friday, August 03, 2012

Is He Not the Carpenter's Son?

Is He Not the Carpenter’s Son?

August 3, 2012
Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
 (Say to the people of Judah:) Thus says the Lord: If you disobey me, not living according to the law I placed before you and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them, I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth shall refer when cursing another. (Jeremiah 26:4-6)
Since for your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons, because zeal for your house consumers me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. But I pray to you, O Lord, for the time of your favor, O God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. (Psalms 69:8-10, 14)

The more I love You, Lord, the easier it is to stand firm and see what You can do… and what I can do in Your name. I ask that You continue to challenge me so that I might continue to grow in grace.

I’ve spent much of the past six weeks researching women saints for a 365-day devotional I’m writing for Franciscan Media. It’s an ambitious project with a tight deadline: By October 1, I have to produce for each day of the year in no more than 250 words per day the lifespan of the saint, what’s important about her that’s relevant to life today, how we can put the lesson to work for us, something from her writings or related works or scripture, and a related challenge for the day.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s also great study… and formation. I learn something from each of these women, but the overarching message for me so far has been not to let anyone or anything get between you and God when you’re sure of His direction. For example:
·         St. Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint, was excommunicated as part of a battle with her local bishop. She went to Rome to challenge the decision, and was reinstated two years later.
·         Joan of Arc was excommunicated—though she was allowed to take the Eucharist before she went up in flames—and wasn’t fully reconciled for twenty-five years.
·         St. Rose of Viterbo was turned away from a convent because she didn’t bring a dowry.
·         St. Maria Crescentia Höss was mistreated by the others in her convent because she lacked a dowry and the town’s mayor had engineered her acceptance as barter for a favor he’d done the sisters.
·         St. Kim A-gi Agatha, one of the Korean Martyrs, refused to deny her faith even after her husband and son had apostatized. She was beheaded.

Often, the saints, like Jesus, were without honor in their native or desired place. While they may have cried all night in private, in public they presented a serene confidence that comes only with knowledge of God’s love. For with that, we can survive the insults and shame others try to heap upon us. We can hold our heads high as another day of childish and potentially deadly behavior by God’s enemies dawns, safe in the knowledge that what matters is Him—not them, not us, but Him.

Spend the day loving God and loving those who challenge you. Don’t waste a second despairing about whether they will ever love you back.

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