Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

2018 Devotions Daily Devotions November

Ti 2:1-8,11-14; Ps 37:3,4,18, 23,27,29
 Lk 17:7-10:  Saint Frances Cabrini and her sisters lived in faithful response to the word of the Lord.  By their exemplary lifestyle they proclaimed the glory of God, and even to our own day, their voice resounds and to the ends of the world, their message.  At her canonization on July 7, 1946, Pius XII made a statement that today some would consider sexist and politically incorrect, “Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”  Indeed, the witness of all the saints confronts the foolishness of those who seek beauty and power in this world without seeking The Source of all beauty and power.  True wisdom enables such a search to bear fruit, a fruit that will last through centuries of violence and foolishness.  However, will wisdom triumph in the lives of those who seek to preserve life?   They will lose their lives, but those who lose their lives in loving service will triumph over foolishness.  Indeed, the light of faith shines through the darkness of unbelief.  To gaze upon the loveliness of God’s face and to delight in the beauty of his Temple, this was the deepest desire of Saint Frances’s soul.  The LORD watched over the life of his saint.  Because of wholehearted desire to serve the LORD and him alone, The LORD, himself, became Frances’ everlasting inheritance.

The Pope summons us to rediscover the joy of salvation and share the Good News with enthusiasm.  Saint Paul has a similar message for Saint Titus.  Indeed, in this excerpt from the first letter to Saint Titus, we read that we are to be eager to do what is good.  Eagerness, Enthusiasm and Joy are not usually words used to describe those who claim to be Catholic.  Why not? Perhaps the preachers of our day do not preach what is consistent with sound doctrine.  Perhaps there is no challenge in contemporary homilies that summon us to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance.  Saint Paul has a pastoral challenge for every group in the congregation in which Saint Titus serves as bishop.  The older men, older women, young women, their husbands and children all receive a unique summons to holy living.  Becoming holy isn’t just for us it is also for those with whom we share life in this world, where we find ourselves “in” but not “of.”  Indeed, our only enemies, Satan and sin, are to be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.  Not only our enemies, but our friends must be inspired by our temperate, just and devout lives that reveal our waiting for the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus has given himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. Such enthusiasm, joy, and eagerness comes from the self-gift of God we call grace.  Indeed, everything is grace.  We are always and everywhere to give thanks and praise.

It is a sign of living in the transforming union, of truly becoming one with Christ, that a person seeks only the Master’s will and not his own will.  The true servant of the LORD does not seek affirmation, praise, or honors for doing what the LORD wants.  Saint Frances Cabrini and all the saints in glory delight in one thing only, to do the will of the LORD!  This detachment from our own needs and wants enables us to be attached to God alone. Once we have such an enlightened interior, we are delightful and surprised by whatever the LORD has in store for us.  It is not the LORD’s gratitude or his whispering; “thank you!” that motivates our service and our adoration.  Rather, it is our love, our desire to do what he wants us to do, the way he wants is to do it, for as long as he wants us to do it, because he wants us to do it. This is our prayer and the deepest desire of our hearts.  Until, it is we carry around some resentment and some degree of entitlement.  She knew that such a gospel imperative was completely foreign, even to her fellow believers, but she did not give up.  She did not feel like God owed her this grace. Saint Frances knew that grace is a severe gift.  God’s own self-gift is what this and every saint longs for; nothing else is worth more than rubbish.