THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
November 6-12, 2016
Today the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is remembered. We only need to turn on the news to see Christians persecuted and martyred today. Syria is one of the earliest locations of Christianity. The readings this Sunday are full of stories of those who have suffered and died for their faith, whether Jew or Christian or Moslem. In 2 Maccabees 7: 1-2, 9-14 we see the story of seven brothers and their mother who remained strong in the face of death. The mother was both grieving and rejoicing at the same time. She saw each of her sons die excruciating deaths, yet she was proud that they remained true to God.
In Thessalonians 2: 16-3: 5 St. Paul tells us that “…Jesus Christ himself and God our Father loves us and gives us everlasting encouragement…he will strengthen us and guard us from the evil one…” We can trust that God is with us, if we are called to trial, as are our modern day martyrs. We suffer in a different way in our homeland, as we see our Christian values trampled underfoot. May God have mercy on us and give us the creativity to confront the evils of our day.
The honoring of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest of the four basilicas in Rome, recalls an early cradle of Christianity. It is called Lateran because it is the site of the Laterani family estate. This palace was turned over to the Church by Constantine in the fourth century. Though it has been destroyed and damaged many times through the centuries, it still stands tall and proud as the residence of the popes for around a thousand years. Some remnants of the original Roman basilica have been preserved and its dimension are still pretty true to the original. A wonderful bronze sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi and his followers stands in front of the Basilica, as a reminder of the place where the pope approved the Franciscan movement.
St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, met Attila the Hun at the gates of Rome in the fifth century and persuaded him not to ravage Italy. He also called the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon at which the dogma of the two natures of Christ, both human and divine, were declared.
In the fourth century St. Martin of Tours was a soldier in the Roman army. He is remembered for cutting his cloak into two parts with his military sword to share with a beggar. It is appropriate to recall his life on November 11, Veterans Day. Prayers and thanks for these brave men and women should always be on our lips.
As we enter a new era with a new President of the United States, let us pray for courage, respect and honesty in this person. A great burden will rest upon these shoulders to bring unity to the Country. May wisdom and a recognition of God’s values penetrate this administration, so that, justice and peace may reign here and abroad.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF