BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence and keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.
Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that comes with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..
May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!
Take a moment. Bless your morning. Let your morning Bless you……Take another moment…. Bless your world…… Let your world bless you……
Be still…..Relax…….Do not rush.
Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….
Last week we meditated on walking with the saints. Saints of God inspire us to live our life with courage and determination and a deep desire to do God’s will where we are. It is not always easy to follow the Lord’s call and be faithful in fulfilling the mission that He calls us to fulfill. His call sometimes takes us to places where we would rather not go. It takes real courage and trust in His provident care to move on to where our God leads us! And it is definitely not easy with all our human limitation.
You will remember the story of Abraham being called to do the impossible – to sacrifice his only son, to destroy his only hope for descendants (Genesis 22) and of Moses being called to lead a stubborn people out of slavery to the Promised Land (Exodus 32). You will remember the prophets and the disciples of Jesus who had to make very difficult choices, choices that defied human logic. Only “Theo-Logic” could explain their choices. Only God’s Grace could enable them to make the choices they made and remain faithful, steadfast! Remember the prophet Elijah running from Jezebel (1Kings 19) and Jeremiah being cast him into the cistern of Malchijah which had no water but only mud, and how he sank into the mud (Jeremiah 38). Remember how the frightened men, the disciples of Jesus, were called and sent to proclaim the good news for which their master died.
It takes real courage and trust in His provident care to move on to where our God leads us! It takes courage and lots of it to be true, to be authentic and to be steadfast with all our human limitation.
Spend a few moments with the following men and women and walk with them little longer when you have time. They inspire us to live our daily lives faithfully and joyfully while doing our daily chores.
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) grew up without a religious background and by age 16 decided that there was no God. She wanted to use her talents to work for social justice and scorned religion. She became a mother before marriage and the experience of carrying a new life within her brought forth a deep new faith in a loving God. When she decided to become a Catholic, the father of the child broke off the relationship.
Dorothy wrote about the suffering of the poor in the Catholic magazine, Commonweal. She started the newspaper “The Catholic Worker” and sold them on the streets of New York for one cent so that everyone could afford it. She founded the first of many Catholic Worker Houses of Hospitality.
Dorothy and her staff lived in voluntary poverty, depending on God to meet their needs. She herself dressed in the used clothing that people donated to the house. Dorothy was a woman of peace, loved a philosophy of non-violence and believed that war was not compatible with the message of the Gospel. Between 1950 and 1960, she was arrested many times for refusing to go into shelter during New York’s annual air raid drills which were supposed to show people how to protect themselves in the event of nuclear war. She believed that these drills were meant to give the American people a false sense of security. Each year more and more people realized her wisdom that shelters could not protect them from nuclear war. Eventually the city cancelled the drills. Because of her remarkable spirit, Dorothy Day has been thought of as a prophet of the twentieth century.
It takes courage to map out a course of action and follow it to an end in spite of the difficulties that you may have to face.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York City (1774-1821). Her parents were wealthy and well-educated Episcopalians. They believed in helping the poor and taught Elizabeth to do so from the time she was a small child. She married a successful business man and had five healthy children. She found time to do important volunteer work and founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with small children.
By the time she was thirty years old, her husband lost his business, grew seriously ill and died. Then two of her daughters died too. She did not give up! She just worked harder and prayed harder! During her husband’s illness, encouragements from her Catholic friends brought her comfort. She decided to become a catholic and in doing so lost the support of her wealthy family. Now she was a single parent with five children to care for. She did not give up! She just worked harder and prayed harder!
She became a teacher and opened the FIRST American Catholic school and then opened the FIRST American orphanage and then founded the FIRST American Order of nuns, the Sisters of Charity. Finally, she also became the FIRST “born-in-America” to be canonized a saint!
Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together even when everyone else may understand if you fell apart, that’s true courage.
St. Josaphat (1580-1623) was the first Byzantine-rite saint to be formally canonized. As Bishop, he worked for better understanding, acceptance and fair treatment of Byzantine Catholics in Poland. One day, he offered himself in the place of the servants being beaten by an angry crowd and the crowd hit him with an ax, shot him and threw him in the river. He kept his faith alive and stirred into flame the faith of many others.
It does take courage and lots of it to answer God’s call and remain steadfast!
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, known as Mother Cabrinbi ((1850-1917) is the first United States citizen to be canonized. She was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850 and died in Chicago in 1917. The religious order that educated her refused to accept her into their convent. She wanted be a missionary and go to China. At the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she came to USA to work among the Italian immigrants, going west instead of east. She traveled with six sisters to New York City to work with the Italian immigrants.
She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York City, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a courageous woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she did.
She said, “The whole world is not enough for me” and she traveled from New Jersey to Seattle, from Chicago to New Orleans and to many parts of the world crossing the Ocean 30 times. And she was afraid of water! She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1880 and founded schools, hospitals and orphanages in USA for the care of Italian immigrants and children. By the time she died there were 67 schools, orphanages and hospitals in different parts of the world.
Oscar Romero (1917-1980) was born in El Salvador and became Archbishop of San Salvador. He was a source of strength and hope for the poor and for the oppressed of his country, working with and for them, taking their struggles as his own. Romero wrote and spoke passionately and publicly of the need for Christians to work for justice, frequently faced with threat and danger from those who opposed his ideas.
On March 24, 1980, while celebrating the Eucharist, Archbishop Romero was shot and killed at the altar by a death squad assassin, paying the highest price for the commitment about which he spoke so often and so eloquently. Because of his courageous stand for justice, he became a martyr not only for poor Salvadorians but for all struggling to overcome oppression and poverty. The example of Romero’s courageous life and death continue to inspire those who struggle for human dignity and justice.
Courage involves standing firm in hope against all kinds of pressures, even pain, suffering and death.
Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853) was born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave. When his master died, Pierre was determined to support his master’s widow, himself and the other house slaves. He was freed shortly before the widow’s death in 1807. Four years later, he married Marie Rose Juliette, whose freedom he had purchased. They later adopted his orphaned niece. He attended daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church.
Pierre donated to various charities, generously assisting blacks and whites in need. He and his wife opened their home to orphans and educated them. The couple also nursed abandoned people who were suffering from yellow fever. Urged to retire and enjoy the wealth he had accumulated, Pierre responded, “I have enough for myself, but if I stop working I have not enough for others.”
He was originally buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where he was once refused entrance because of his race. His sanctity and the popular devotion to him caused his body to be moved to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Pierre died a free man, a renowned hairdresser and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. He was internally free long before he was legally free. Refusing to become bitter, he daily chose to cooperate with God’s grace, eventually becoming a compelling sign of God’s generous love. Pierre Toussaint was declared Venerable in 1996.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of All Saints, let us remember our God gathering all people who have shown love, joy and service, who have proclaimed the good news of Jesus, who have made God’s presence real, who have surrendered to God in faithfulness and love. Let us rejoice in the communion of saints. We are part of this communion! All creation is united and is in harmony in the spirit! We connect and commune with all people of every time and place in this one single moment that we have. We look forward to the day when all creation will be transformed and brought into communion, into holiness, into perfection. Our celebration today is part of this great process!
We remember all the saints today, known or unknown, honored or forgotten, during their lives on earth, they helped proclaim the presence and love of God. Remembering them arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company.
Full of life and energy or tired and weary, let us choose to be courageous, joyful, steadfast and unyielding on our journey of faith. Let us strive to be true to ourselves, to be authentic in all we say and do, to be men and women of integrity, to be steadfast in living our faith and in loving our God and giving ourselves generously to one another in love and service. Being and becoming saints, “godlike” persons, was the journey that all the saints. Let us learn to walk with them in faith and in prayer and in service to all people.
“Go to prayer in faith. Remain there in hope. God out only by Love”
(St. Francis De Sales)
Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs