Almost nothing is known of this saint except that she was very young—12 or 13—when she was martyred in the last half of the third century. Various modes of death have been suggested—beheading, burning, strangling.
Legend has it that Agnes was a beautiful girl whom many young men wanted to marry. Among those she refused, one reported her to the authorities for being a Christian. She was arrested and confined to a house of prostitution. The legend continues that a man who looked upon her lustfully lost his sight and had it restored by her prayer. Agnes was condemned, executed and buried near Rome in a catacomb that eventually was named after her. The daughter of Constantine built a basilica in her honor.
Like that of modern Maria Goretti (July 6), the martyrdom of a virginal young girl made a deep impression on a society enslaved to a materialistic outlook. Like Agatha, who died in similar circumstances, Agnes is a symbol that holiness does not depend on length of years, experience or human effort. It is a gift God offers to all.
"This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married women with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, receives the name of Agnes [Greek: pure] not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be" (from Saint Ambrose's discourse on virginity).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
"I am free."
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Do not judge from his appearance. (1 Samuel 16:7)
You can't judge a book by its cover. We've probably all heard this timeworn adage from childhood. But when Samuel was sent to Jesse's household to anoint the next king of Israel, it was hard not to look at "the cover." Jesse's sons sure looked impressive! Eliab, for instance, was the oldest; he was tall and handsome—a likely candidate for king! Saul, after all, had been tall and handsome.
But God needed to remind Samuel that he looks at the heart, not the outward appearance. So when Jesse's youngest son, David, entered, another ruddy and handsome young man who made "a splendid appearance," Samuel wasn't too quick to get out his flask of oil. He waited for God to tell him this was the one. Samuel had learned to listen for the Lord's voice instead of relying on his human wit or instinct.
The Pharisees who opposed Jesus weren't so different from Samuel in his initial reaction. They judged by outward appearances as they watched the disciples picking grain on the Sabbath. They didn't think about the inner motivations. That's why Jesus told them he is Lord of the Sabbath: because the Sabbath rules were made for God's people, not the other way around. The external frameworks were meant to set boundaries and help form our hearts so that we would love and choose what is right without having to rely only on laws.
So when you deal with your kids or grandkids, or when you are put off by a new family down the street, slow down; try not to judge by appearances only. Instead, do what Samuel did. Turn and pray. Keep in mind that there is usually more going on than meets the eye. Be patient and generous with your assessments, as Samuel learned to be.
And when you find that you have made a rash judgment, don't let yourself get weighed down with guilt. We all make mistakes! Move on, ask the Lord to give you guidance, and try again. Let the Lord of the Sabbath use the situation to further form your heart.
"Lord, I want to see things as you do. Thank you for going beyond the surface and looking at my heart!"
Psalm 89:20-22, 27-28; Mark 2:23-28
A nickname for "Jesus" is Jesse. I say this thinking of my brother in Christ who went with me to my Cursillo and died a couple years ago. We were the only friendship group for a while, shared our faith, and now the descendants have followed. The descendant of David, King David, was another "Jesse" from Bethlehem which means "House of Bread" in some reported findings of biblical scholars. From the house of bread, came Jesus years later. He left Himself to His descendants in the form of bread, which He calls His body...the Holy Eucharist. Even this fools the eye nowadays, especially to the nonbelievers "oh, look at those Catholics idolizing the bread!". Looks are deceiving, very, and most often. The Spanish 5minutos ended today with:
"On an occasion there was an old man and a young boy were walking with a donkey towards town. The first day, the little boy walked and the old man was mounted on the donkey. Upon seeing them, the people would say: poor child, he is walking while the old man is all comfortable on the donkey! The next day, the child was riding the donkey and the old man walking. The people would say: "poor old man, the little boy with much strength and the poor old man walking!" The next day they were both mounted on the donkey, and the people would say: "poor donkey, what are they thinking? both are mounted on that poor donkey...!!" The next day, they were both walking, pulling the donkey with the rope and the people would say: "How dumb! Why don't they ride the donkey!?"
LOL, and it just goes to show there is no end to it. Someone asked me why did I say something about someone, and deep inside I found no answer either, because there is no end to the "talk of the town". As a matter of fact, I don't care what people say anymore, my PRIDE is not what it used to be. If I mentioned someone in faith sharing, it is all about the faith and not about who is who because here, it is all about Jesus. I don't mention names, and people take personal offense. My oh my, the Pharisees still exist! I didn't even know they read my 2 cents! LOL. I'm really laughing, especially because one time I imagined reading this Holy Gospel, as the disciples followed Jesus through the wheat field like lambs, the shepherd which Jesus was the new David, son of David, a shepherd that was "tending the sheep", and as they all walked and plucked the wheat heads, out pop the heads of these Pharisees from the grass out of nohwhere "ah ha! Ahhmm! your not supposed to do that!" What am I not supposed to do? Starve? The Sabbath was made for man, it is a day to make Holy! It is not about the Sabbath! It is about JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!!! Everything I do is for the Lord. So, when I hear gossip, I hear little kids, not mature in the faith. When I hear bickering and fighting, I see little kids quarreling, not mature Christians in the faith. Jesus is our Lord, He is the reason for every season, Advent, Christmas, Ordinary, Lent, Easter, and this is the Catholic liturgical Calendar, all centered on JESUS. If there is any true Jesus freak it is a true Catholic. If people meet you, they should see a light glowing, like my god-son, that supervisor I was mentioning yesterday, he is one I see glow with the light of God when He consumes the bread of Christ, the body of Christ. As a matter of fact, those I tend to in the faith, the sheep, the lost sheep, I rope, I heard back, I bring up the truth because I love their soul, because we are connected. One day I felt this unusual urge to call an uncle. So I did, and as I talked with an unusual joy I said "well, something told me to call you, is everything ok?" And I could almost hear a tear in his voice..."a little", something unusual for a strong man like him. I don't remember exactly what I said but they were words of encouragement and I mentioned it must've been our Lord that told me to call him. And he said "thank you". Last week, a brother in Christ, a co-worker that has been in our worker faith sharing group said he felt an unusual urge and was asking for prayer. I said "pray for strangers, sometimes they need prayer". He said later that night he walked into the field in the dark night under the moon and knelt down on the dirt road and did something he'd never done before, he "cried out to the Lord" and the tears rolled. Something strange happens to our hearts when we are focused on God. We get connected. There is much more to this world than we care to try and really see. Our Lord is out there and not far from under our nose...our heart. The Pharisees worry about what others are picking in the world, instead of they themselves picking Jesus above all...