St. Maria Bertilla Boscardin
If anyone knew rejection, ridicule and disappointment, it was today's saint. But such trials only brought Maria Bertilla Boscardin closer to God and more determined to serve him.
Born in Italy in 1888, the young girl lived in fear of her father, a violent man prone to jealousy and drunkenness. Her schooling was limited so that she could spend more time helping at home and working in the fields. She showed few talents and was often the butt of jokes.
In 1904 she joined the Sisters of St. Dorothy and was assigned to work in the kitchen, bakery and laundry. After some time Maria received nurses' training and began working in a hospital with children suffering from diphtheria. There the young nun seemed to find her true vocation: nursing very ill and disturbed children. Later, when the hospital was taken over by the military in World War I, Sister Maria Bertilla fearlessly cared for patients amidst the threat of constant air raids and bombings.
She died in 1922 after suffering for many years from a painful tumor. Some of the patients she had nursed many years before were present at her canonization in 1961.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
"Be still and know that I am God."
"I am free."
How do I find myself today? Where am I with God? With others? Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
7th Week in Ordinary Time
If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that. (James 4:15)
Using an expression that goes back to the primitive Church, many Arab Christians end their conversations with "if God wills." "I will see you next week, if God wills." "My daughter is set to get married in the spring, if God wills." We see Paul using this expression when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth: "I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing" (1 Corinthians 4:19). And in today's first reading, James reminds us that our future is in God's control. We can make the best of plans, but only God can guarantee the future.
If this is the case, wouldn't it make sense simply to sit on our front porches and wait for the Second Coming? Well, not exactly. Nothing would ever get done! God wants us to be out in the world, building his kingdom—but doing it in a way that keeps us free from anxiety or worry over the future. After all, if he provides so abundantly for the birds and the flowers, how much more can we, his own children, rely on his care and guidance?
The same principle applies to our personal lives as well. God wants us to work hard at our jobs, be involved in our family and neighborhood, and take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. But he doesn't want the demands of any of these responsibilities to overshadow our joy and confidence in him and his provision.
Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary. It robs us of our faith and saps us of our energy. God wants us to place our hope in him and in the future he has promised us. He wants us to be free to serve him. So don't let the cares of this world make you afraid. Don't let your worries convince you that you have to overcome every obstacle on your own. Instead, turn to the Lord, and surrender your future into his hands. Ask his Spirit to help you let go of worry so that you can live in the light of his promises.
"Lord, free me from needless worry and preoccupation. I want to abandon myself to your plan. May I live every day with trust and gratitude for your providential care."
Psalm 49:2-3, 6-11; Mark 9:38-40
For one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, is a sin. For whoever is not against us, is for us. These two lines are the last lines of our Holy Scriptures for today, of the Holy Mass readings across the world. And they could be rightly the summary for each reading, yet one can not limit the Word of God to our finite minds and our own thoughts and ideas. But we need to get an idea of what He is saying to us today. Perhaps He already spoke to you in something that was said, and rightly He will every day we are at His disposal. We prayed today "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs". Yet who are the "poor" in spirit? Stay with me because it has everything to do with the summaries. The poor in Newadvent.org says:
"The word poor seems to represent an Aramaic 'ányâ (Hebrew 'anî), bent down, afflicted, miserable, poor; while meek is rather a synonym from the same root, 'ánwan (Hebrew 'ánaw), bending oneself down, humble, meek, gentle. Some scholars would attach to the former word also the sense of humility; others think of "beggars before God" humbly acknowledging their need of Divine help.....The blessed ones are the poor "in spirit", who by their free will are ready to bear for God's sake this painful and humble condition, even though at present they be actually rich and happy; while on the other hand, the really poor man may fall short of this poverty "in spirit"......."
Now, that we understand the "poor" in spirit a little better, consider how rich and how poor we the people really are. Those who need nothing are rich, for they are well off, and off they go without lifting a finger...for our Lord or even needing our Lord. But the poor stand in stark contrast to the rich. The poor are needy, very needy folks. I find myself on well-fare, that is to fare well only with our Lord. I consider myself poor, not to boast, but the truth is, I am constantly depending on Him. And I wonder how grateful I am, for we may all think we depend on God, but how many are grateful? And so, we know the right thing to do is to be grateful, but we do not do it...therefore it is a sin. What I speak of is our incredulity and hardness of heart. We know exactly what we should be doing but don't! Why is that? What takes over? Perhaps it is a thought that says "I don't need the Lord to tell me what to do in this particular instance". I say this with the thought in mind of the many that walk up to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and the many that are missing at the confessions line. It's as if to say "give me what corresponds to me" instead of saying "I sincerely appreciate everything you've done for me, and so I have emptied my life of self to be filled with you" and this is to be predisposed to a life of grace. Because our Lord says "whoever is not against us" well, there are many not "against" God, but there are many that are not "FOR" Him either. When it is convenient, we stand up for Him and lead our house in prayer. When it is not convenient He is silenced, not needed...we are too rich. The saddest thing of it is that God gives you what you want, for better or for worse. I have been blessed to not have been given many things that I have wanted, and I can not thank God enough for that. What needs to transpire here then is a metanoia, and this will only happen to a soul ready for freedom in a service to Him. I read a quote from St. Augustine, "Seek what suffices, seek what is enough, and don't desire more. Whatever goes beyond that produces anxiety, not relief." What suffices is the grace and love of God. Our desire for anything else brings everything else except His peace and His freedom that comes forth from the center of His Kingdom
I Love You My Child
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