Thought for the Week
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
February 2-8, 2020
Today is World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. Perhaps you can recall the many order priests, brothers and sisters who have entered and influenced your life. They have dedicated their entire life to serve in home and foreign missions. They pray daily for specific intentions, as well as, for the entire world. Whisper a prayer for them and give thanks for these dedicated men and women. It may also be enlightening to know the various kinds of consecrated life: Religious Life, Societies of Apostolic Life, Secular Institutes, Consecrated Virgins and Widows and Eremetic Life (hermits).
Today the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem is remembered. According to the Law of Moses every boy child had to be consecrated to the Lord. Therefore, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple to redeem him with two turtledoves. In fulfilling this law they made way for the great revelation of the destiny of this child. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, had a revelation from the Holy Spirit, that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. Upon seeing the Child Jesus he took him in his arms and proclaimed that he had now seen “salvation – a light for…the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.” He also addressed the mother of Jesus and told her that she would be “pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” Anna, the prophetess, was also on hand and spoke to many about this child, who was to be the deliverance of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 22-40
We can marvel at the vigilance of Simeon and Anna. They lived in hope that they would see the presence of the Christ – the Messiah. We have the opportunity to see Christ daily, if we are vigilant. He appears in others, especially the suffering and downtrodden. It’s something like when St. Francis of Assisi met the leper and hugged him. The leper was Christ himself in the appearance of that leper. We can also experience Christ in the Eucharist, if we strengthen our faith and trust. God’s presence is everywhere, if we but pause in our busy lives. Even the traffic lights can remind us of God – red for love; green for hope; yellow for joy and loyalty.
There is little known about St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, a Sicilian woman of the 3rd century. She was arrested, because she was a Christian. She was sent to a house of prostitution and later tortured and put to death. It is said that when the Mt. Edna volcano was about to erupt, the people prayed to her for protection. The threat subsided and her devotion spread rapidly. She is the patroness of Diseases of the Breasts and Nurses.
St. Paul Miki and companions, “26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers, and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits, and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans, and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church. Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution. When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity, but after establishing themselves they found, that thousands of Christians still lived there.”
St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave for most of her life, was finally dropped off with the Sisters of Charity in Venice by one of her many slave owners in the late 19th century. After her baptism she became a religious sister. Josephine endured unimaginable hardships in her life, but she showed mercy. “If I were to meet the slave traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me,” she once said, “I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and religious today. The Lord has loved me so much. We must love everyone.” In the face of inhuman trials, she only saw the face of Christ. She was canonized by St. Pope John II in 2000. She is the patroness of Trafficked Victims. Information for all of the above saints is taken from Franciscan Media.com.
May you have a blessed week walking the way of faith in God,
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director