Thought for the Week



November 10-16, 2019


Recently, as I was reflecting on Vocation Awareness Week, which occurred last week, I thought of all the media on the crisis in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  However, I believe that there is a greater crisis in marriage and family life.  Today we see the struggle to maintain a healthy marriage and family bombarded by secularism and a godless political and educational system.  As a child, I attended public school and saw the Ten Commandments on every classroom wall.  Prayers and Bible reading was a daily digest, even though they were from a Protestant viewpoint.  My mother said that I should stand respectfully during this time. She also said that as long as you know who you are and what you believe, no other race, culture or religion is a threat to you.  They can only enrich you.  What a woman of wisdom.


Why have I thought of all of this?  I ran across an article on Pope Francis’ book, THE BLESSING OF FAMILY: INSPIRING WORDS FROM POPE FRANCIS.  He says that family is the cornerstone of our faith. Here are ten suggestions for strengthening ones’ life: 1. Say these three words:  please, thank you and sorry. 2. Do the little things – little gestures of love. 3. Keep dreaming. 4. Make time to play. 5. Pray together. 6. Accept yours’ and others’ imperfections. 7. Be patient. 8. Look to our elders. 9 Set an example of the presence of Jesus in the family. 10. Light the way. Be living examples of love, forgiveness and care. Be sanctuaries of respect for life. 


The reading from 2 Maccabees 7: 1-2, 9-14 speaks of seven brothers and their mother who were tortured by a king, who wanted them to deny their faith.  Courageously, all seven brothers and their mother proclaimed their faith and were put to death.  As painful as it was for a mother to see her children slaughtered, she was proud of her sons for loudly praising God and their faith.  Hopefully, all of us and our families would have the courage to die for our faith.  However, we have an even greater challenge daily to defend our families and faith from the onslaughts of the negative and sad situations that surround us.


St. Paul reminds us in 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-3:5, “The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen us and guard us from the evil one…May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ… who encourages your hearts… in every good deed and word.”


Though there are many saints to remember this week, I pick St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who was the first naturalized citizen of the U.S.A. to be canonized.  She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Italy in 1880.  In 1889 she was directed by Pope Leo XIII to go to the U.S.A. and serve the Italian immigrants.  She set up numerous educational and medical institutions throughout the U.S.A., Europe and South America.


May you be blessed with joy, peace and strength,


Sister Rosemarie Goins, Franciscan Felician