THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
September 11- 17, 2016
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF Director
Today we recall with prayer all the first responders and those thereafter at the World Trade Center in New York City fifteen years ago. The many victims, the survivors and their families are held in our hearts. The people of New York, the United States and the world are in need of continued prayer so that revenge and hatred may not eat up their lives. We even pray for our enemies and their conversion. Jesus said from the Cross, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
In the reading from 1 Timothy 1:12-17 St. Paul acknowledges his sinfulness. “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated, because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.” Who are we, sinful as we are, to condemn and judge others for their failures and atrocities? We are to heap coals of love and prayer upon them, so that, they too, may experience the mercy of God.
In Luke’s Gospel 15: 1-10 we see the wonderful story of the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine and goes in search of the lost one. Jesus uses this analogy to show his rejoicing in the repentance of the one sinner over the ninety-nine righteous people. So, are there really any “righteous” people? I think not. We are the one sinner, the one lost sheep that God is always seeking. We are always in need of mercy, just as are our enemies.
This week is chucked full of reasons to celebrate. Monday is the Holy Name of Mary. In my religious congregation, the Felician Franciscan Sisters, we each bear some form of Mary’s name. We have a great love and devotion to Jesus’ Mother Mary, who is also our Mother.
St. John Chrysostom’s feast falls on Tuesday. He was born in Turkey in the 4th century. He was an Archbishop of Constantinople and most noted for his writing and preaching against the abuse of power both religious and secular. His name means – “golden mouth or tongue.”
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross commemorates the story of the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine in the 4th century. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built in Jerusalem on the sight of this discovery and a piece of this Cross, “the wood of our salvation,” was housed within it.
The Blessed Mother appears again on our calendar – Our Lady of Sorrows. She represents all those mothers who have lost children throughout the ages. Her tears of sorrow at the torture of her Son, Jesus, resonates in the souls of all Christians. We are part of the cause of this sorrow, because of our sinfulness. Through our repentance, let us call for mercy and forgiveness.
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, were great friends during the 3rd century. Cornelius was the twenty-first Pope, who was strongly confirmed by Cyprian, Bishop in Carthage. Cornelius believed in mercy and forgiveness for apostates who repented. Others strongly opposed this pronouncement, and said that he was too indulgent, but he held fast to this position. Both of these early Fathers of the Church were martyred.
And, finally, we have St. Robert Bellarmine, an Italian Jesuit of the 16th century, who is one of the most important figures of the Counter-Reformation and strongly supported the tenets of the Council of Trent.
This week of memories will, hopefully, bring us manty blessings of mercy from God.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF