Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Unprofitable Servants

By Beth DeCristofaro

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all … as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11, 13-14)

So should it be with you.  When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Oh, Saint Martin, who cut your own cloak to clothe Our Lord disguised as a beggar, we humbly ask for you intercession before Our Lord Jesus Christ and help us to be worthy of the grace and mercy of the Holy Ghost that leads us from darkness to light into the eternal kingdom, forever and ever. Amen

This is the week of the Martins.  Last week we celebrated the feast of Martin de Porres, then the martyrs Martin Tho and Tinh, now Martin of Tours.  My Martin was my great-uncle, Fr. Martin Hayes, OSB.   He is always in my thoughts and heart during this week although, admittedly, I do not know which of these courageous saints was his patron.  “Pop” Martin (Uncle Billie to my mother) was a warm, funny man with a generous heart and a deep commitment to his faith, his teaching, his monastery, Belmont Abbey and especially his golf.  He was always ready to treat a homesick student to a meal and he delivered great sermons. Although joining Pop for Vespers meant dinner afterwards in the refectory, I also grew to love the voices of the monks raised in prayer.

All of these men would have known just what Jesus’ message meant for their lives and how it deepened their relationship with God.  “Pop” was firmly grounded in his place as a Benedictine, dedicated to the Divine Office, full of hospitality and purposefully living “ora et labora” (prayer and work).  In his late 80’s he was hospitalized and he called me from North Carolina to tell me good-bye.  He knew that he was dying and he knew that he would be met by the God he had served for sixty-plus years.  There was no touch of fear or regret, in fact he cracked a few jokes in that last call.  He would strongly agree that he had merely done what he was obliged to do, eager to do what is good for the Lord.

For whom am I being “Martin” today?  Who will see God’s glory though my commitment to the poor or in my work for the Lord?  

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