THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
February 5-11, 2017
Two excellent images emerge from this Sunday’s readings – salt and light. Jesus proclaims that we are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Matthew 5: 13-16 This is pretty astounding, since we usually think of Jesus as the Light of the World. Jesus turns the table on us and shares his light with us “that others may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Isaiah 58:7-10 tells us how to be “salt and light” to the world. “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked when you see them and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed.” Our country, if not the world, is in need of this proclamation now. We are the starting point.
We need not be afraid. St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5 that our “faith rests not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” We are called to gently but firmly remind our leaders of Jesus’ Words and example of life. Violence and anger breathes only further violence and anger. Just as God forgives our many mistakes, we are to forgive others and give them another chance to correct their mistakes and ignorance. As Isaiah says, “then light shall rise for you in the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”
In 1597 a young Japanese Jesuit seminarian, St. Paul Miki and twenty-five others were crucified in Nagasaki, Japan. Among these were men, women and children, Franciscans, Jesuits and laymen of many different walks of life. St. Paul Miki is probably the best known, because of his preaching from the cross.
St. Josephine Bakhita died in Italy in 1947. She was sold into slavery from her home in the Sudan by Arabs. Her real name is unknown, but the Arab slave traders called her “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate.” After much torture and humiliation she finally landed with a good family in Italy. She learned of Christianity from the Canossian Sisters and was baptized Josephine. She entered the order of the Canossians and served with charity and goodness all those she met. She is truly a saint for the modern times. Franciscan Media
Twins Sts. Benedict and Scholastica are responsible for founding the model for monastic life in the fifth century for men and women. “Work and pray – Ora et Labora” was their theme of life. We know them as Benedictines. At least once a year they met and shared their spiritual journey.
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, a 14 year old illiterate girl, in a grotto near Lourdes, France in 1858 and revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception. Mary appeared to this innocent teen some eighteen times. The reciting of the Rosary was central to these apparitions. Mary listened to Bernadette’s recitation, but only joined at the “Glory be…” (Ask yourself why she did not join in with the other prayers of the Rosary.) During one of the apparitions she told Bernadette to drink from a spring which spurted from the ground. Thousands of cures have been reported to the present day of miraculous cures. The water has been tested by experts, but nothing unusual is present in the water. Bernadette became a religious sister and said that her vocation was to “do penance, pray and suffer for sinners.” She suffered excruciating pain with patience. Her body is incorrupt – another miracle and testament to her holiness. Interestingly, the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been declared in 1854, because of ancient tradition and the common belief of the faithful throughout the world. The apparitions of Lourdes verified this belief. Catholic Encyclopedia
February 11 is also World Day of the Sick. Let us remember all who are sick in our prayers.
Let us go forth on our Christian journey as the “salt and light” of the world.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF, Director