Psalm 96: 10, 11-12, 13 “…The LORD is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity…”
Mark 11: 11-26 “… Peter remembered and said to him,“Rabbi look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.’…”
St. Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes, (1614-1645) Born in Quito Ecuador, the youngest of eight, both her parents were aristocrats, but they died when she was young and so she grew up under the care of her oldest sister and her husband, where she later lived as a hermit. Many websites speak of a phenomenon displayed in the sky at her birth which signaled the type of Faith life she would lead. She became a Third Order Franciscan after being refused entrance into a religious order. She was able to work many miracles, with the sign of the cross or by sprinkling holy water. She was tremendously at the service of our Lord, in constant prayer and living on the daily Eucharist she received. She publicly offered her life to spare Quito from a large plague that had hit the city, and died shortly after. She is the patron saint of Ecuador, the Americas, people who aren’t accepted into religious orders, or who have lost their parents, as well as sick people.
It’s not that I don’t believe God’s Word, but lately the readings have pointed out to me how much I take my Faith for granted. From today’s reading in 1st Peter, I was surprised to see the parallel to today. He was talking to the people and telling them not to be surprised at the trial by fire they were experiencing. Earlier in the day, I had heard a guy on the radio saying that through suffering comes purification. And I thought about the sex abuse scandals, and how there is much suffering on both sides of that issue. And then Peter says we should rejoice when we suffer, because we can join with Christ in His sufferings. And the saying I’ve heard all my life began to make so much sense to me, the one about offering our suffering up. I’ve always thought, no I just want the suffering to end. But, really we suffer a little everyday, and sometimes we suffer a lot. It’s happening everyday. When we hear of someone who is ill, or is about to die, we suffer. Through the advancements in communication, we know what is happening to everyone of us anywhere in the world, and we’re all connected to each other. We can’t really escape suffering, and so the reading today really helped me understand the words said over and over throughout my life to unite our suffering with Christ, and if finally made sense. If you’re going to suffer, how much more powerful than to concede the feeling or pain and offer it up to the Lord to be used to bring about some good. It’s almost like it s not wasted, but can be converted for some good.
And, Mark’s Gospel had Jesus overturning the money changer’s tables and reminding them of an earlier prophecy, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.” And then he gives us some incite into the strength of our Faith when he tells the Apostles they can move a mountain into the sea, if when they pray, they believe it will happen. This really made me stop and think about how firmly I believe when I ask for something. When I really want something, I always say Thy will be done. But, Jesus said, first “forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions”. I’m pretty sure I haven’t considered that step in my prayer requests.
Lord I’m thankful for learning about the life of Mary Ann of Paredes; and for your wonderful teaching on Faith during these Ordinary Times….Amen
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