THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK May 14-20, 2017

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan


IMG_2106Praise God and give thanks for the wonderful gift and creation of motherhood.  God so valued motherhood that he chose to create one for himself, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This mystery was the downfall of some of the angels, who refused to worship the child of this woman.  This child was to be both human and divine. These angels believed themselves greater than humans and would not accept this seeming humiliation.  From thence, Mary became the enemy of these angels.  We often see imagines of Mary standing on the head of the serpent, the devil. She is the Mother of Mothers and lives as an example of the compassionate, loving woman for whom we give thanks.  This day we also give thanks to the women who gave us life and cradled us in their wombs.  There are also many women along our life’s journey, who have nurtured us.  For them we give thanks, too.


The ordinary stone is used symbolically in Sunday’s readings from 1 Peter 2: 4-9.  It seems appropriate for Peter, who is the “rock upon which Jesus built his church,” Matthew 16:18 to preach about Jesus as the “living stone.”  “Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings, but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house…”  Jesus is the cornerstone that holds up the whole edifice of the church, just as he is the cornerstone in each of our spiritual houses. This cornerstone needs protection through prayer and good works, so that it is not dislodged by the evil one.


John 14: 1-12 gives us the wonderful image of Jesus as, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  It shows us the timelessness of Jesus – “I Am.”  The path is marked clearly.  No lies distort this journey. It is one of clarity and transparency.  The reward is life here and hereafter – the resurrection.


The Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer is one very beloved by the rural communities. He came on the scene in the 11th-12th centuries in Spain. Because his family was so poor, he was hired out to a farmer, whom he served for the rest of his life.  He was often late for work, because he was serving Mass, but his plowing was done by angels, according to legend, and yielded plentiful crops.  He was highly respected by the other employees and his master.  Miracles were attributed to him of the feeding of the hungry, even birds. His body is uncorrupt.


In 1400 during a terrible plague a young man, Bernardine, approached a hospital in Siena, Italy and offered to care for the sick and dying. He served there for four months and then collapsed from exhaustion. When he recovered, he cared for an aunt. Being of noble birth, he continued his studies after her death. Because he was unsatisfied with his life, he decided to enter the Franciscan Order.  He became a priest and was commissioned to preach, but his voice was too weak and raspy.  He became the head of the order and strove to bring back the original spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.  After this ministry he became healed of his weakness of voice and became a great preacher throughout Italy.  He was hailed as the “Apostle of Italy” and was sometimes compared to St. Paul.  He brought about reform in his own religious community, as well as, the church and the political and social communities of his day.


As we see the working of these “living stones,” Isadore and Bernardine, both peasant and nobleman, we can take heart and be “living stones” today.  Perhaps we are already well on the path of building the “spiritual house” of ourselves and others. May these endeavors be blessed with the “cornerstone – Jesus.”


Your sister on the journey,

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan


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