As in the case of Agnes, another virgin-martyr of the early Church, almost nothing is historically certain about this saint except that she was martyred in Sicily during the persecution of Emperor Decius in 251. She is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.
As in the case of Agnes, another virgin-martyr of the early Church, almost nothing is historically certain about this saint except that she was martyred in Sicily during the persecution of Emperor Decius in 251.
She is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.
The scientific modern mind winces at the thought of a volcano's might being contained by God because of the prayers of a Sicilian girl. Still less welcome, probably, is the notion of that saint being the patroness of such varied professions as those of foundry workers, nurses, miners and Alpine guides. Yet, in our historical precision, have we lost an essential human quality of wonder and poetry, and even our belief that we come to God by helping each other, both in action and prayer?
When Agatha was arrested, the legend says, she prayed: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil." And in prison: "Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my spirit."
Patron Saint of:
Breast disease, against
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
The more we call on God
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Heb 12:18-19, 21-24
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm Ps 48:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 9, 10-11
R. (see 10) O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Alleluia Mk 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
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Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Meditation: Mark 6:7-13
Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:13)
This verse makes it sound as if the apostles had nothing but success in their ministry, that every person they prayed with was healed. But we know that isn't the case. All we have to do is remember how they couldn't cast out a demon from a young man while Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:14-29).
Isn't that great news? They're just like us, limited human beings whose prayers aren't always answered and who don't always get it right. We may think that we will never be able to do what they did, but even they didn't do it all the time! And it's not just about performing miracles. Peter denied even knowing Jesus, and Thomas doubted that he had risen from the dead. That's so very encouraging for us.
The apostles' successes and mistakes show that they are no different from us. Sometimes they prayed for someone to be healed, and nothing happened. Like them, we can pray for someone for healing and not detect any change at all—not even over a period of time. Sometimes, they got into selfish arguments with each other. And like them, we may be having a hard time forgiving someone who has hurt us. That's okay, because even Jesus' hand-selected apostles had the same struggles.
Still, God wants us to keep praying for healings and trying to forgive. Remember how Paul asked Jesus three times to remove a spiritual thorn, but Jesus told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Whatever our situation, Jesus will give us the grace to keep following him. And often without our knowing how, we'll find his grace at work in other areas of our lives, comforting and empowering us.
So keep up the good work! Try, persist, and learn from your mistakes. Believe that you have been "chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things" (Ephesians 1:11). You will face trials and temptations, but if you just focus on what comes next, one step at a time, you'll see progress. This is what Peter, John, and all the rest did—and look what happened to them!
"Jesus, thank you for the apostles' example of faith. Give me your grace, that I may live for you!"
Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24