This season brings many challenges: to continue the hard work of protecting all from the coronavirus, to work for healing of broken persons and unjust structures, to hold the common good as central. We pray for students, teachers and parents, for those who are ill and those suffering economic hardship and climate-related disasters.
From centuries ago, the words of our saints and models still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac invite us to recommit ourselves to see, act and love in Jesus’ name.
CHARITY WISDOM FROM OUR SAINTS
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
At all events, happen now what will I rest with God … so now I can pass the Valley of Death itself.
May God’s dear, sheltering wing be over you thro’ all the storms.
Who can bind the soul which God sets free?
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL (feast day: September 27)
As for me, notwithstanding my age and infirmities, I do not hold myself excused from the obligation of laboring in the service of the poor. What can prevent me? If I am unable to preach every day, I will preach twice a week; and if my voice is too weak to be heard in great cathedrals and palaces of kings, I will speak in a little church; and if I have not even enough voice for that, what will prevent me from gathering a few poor people around my chair and speaking to them of God’s love?
Trust fearlessly in God who has called you and you will see that all will go well.
ST. LOUISE DE MARILLAC
Go then courageously, advancing moment by moment on the path on which God has placed you in order to reach Him.
BLESSED FREDERIC OZANAM (feast: September 9)
It is the violent collision of opulence and poverty which makes the earth tremble.
The question which divides the people of today is no longer one about political structures, but a social one. It is to find out which will win, the spirit of egoism or the spirit of sacrifice. Is society to be just a huge exploitation for the profit of the strongest, or a dedication of each person to the benefit of all, and especially to the protection of the weak?
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CHARITY WISDOM FROM OUR FRIENDS
The magnitude of evil and the needs to be met can be overwhelming unless we remember that it is not our work – it is God’s. We are called to share in some small way in God’s work of building up a kingdom of justice and peace, of love and compassion. – Sr. Margaret Dowling, SC, 1999
[Those] that cannot forgive others break the bridge over which [they themselves] must pass if [they] would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven. – George Herbert (adapted)
The foremost lesson of Christian discipleship is that Jesus is the way, and the way Jesus is is the way of the cross. – Dr. M. Shawn Copeland, Knowing Christ Crucified: The Witness of African American Religious Experience
The way of the cross is a giving over of oneself to the radical love and solidarity that Jesus lived, extending ourselves as kin to all who are marginalized, excluded, disinherited. It is standing at the foot of the cross where unbearable suffering is lifted by grace. What great depths of transformative love could we carve into evolution if we had some understanding of what the enslaved people knew about God and the way of Jesus? – Sr. Elise Garcia, OP, LCWR Presidential Address, 2021