Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

Rv 5:1-10; Ps 149:1-6, 9;

 Lk 19:41-44

Saint Rose was a humble yet strong woman religious from France.  She was lowly yet adorned with victory.  From great failures in France to reestablish her convent after the Revolution, she and the four sisters left joined a missionary community and came to the United States to work with Native Americans.  Again she experienced failure, and found herself setting up frontier schools for orphans and rough western frontier children.  Her community was finally given a mission among the Potawatomi in Kansas.  She was 72 and unable to learn the language; her sisters taught and she prayed.  This courageous and loving virgin for Christ once said: “We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self…. The truest crosses are those we do not choose ourselves…. He who has Jesus has everything.”  Saint Rose shared in the priesthood of Christ as a baptized Catholic and professed Religious, and her song of praise is still heard in the assembly of the faithful.  Saint Rose exults in glory and sings for joy.  Indeed, the high praises of God are in her throat.  Indeed, we are all called to share in this glory of all the angels and saints, before the throne of God and the Lamb.

Saint John the Divine shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or examine it.  Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne must have shed many tears in prayer during her failures and even more tears in her joy to share in the glory of the Cross of Christ.  With these two saints and all who gather around the Throne and the Lamb, we too listen to the elders say, “Do not weep.”  Indeed the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, is worthy to open the scroll with its seven seals.  This opening is the beginning of the end of the world, as we know it.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world has been slain and now stands in glory.  He has all the power, the seven horns; he has all the knowledge, the seven eyes.  Before the spotless Lamb every creature prostrates; around the standing Lamb every disciple in every age falls flat on his face.  We need to lay down with these first witnesses and surrender our own plans, purposes, and will to the LORD and to the Lamb.  It is by his blood that we have been purchased, released, reformed, and renewed.  Like Saint Rose and all the missionary religious, we too, invite those so purchased from every tribe, language, people and nation to join in the new hymn of praise to our God.  With all who have been cleansed and do not yet know it, we will bring them the good news and join with them in the thanksgiving that will never cease.

The Lord Jesus fulfills one of his beatitudes is today’s gospel.  The Lord Jesus shares with all who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  The Lord weeps over the holy city, Jerusalem.  He weeps because of the devastation upon all who have rejected him and the abundant life he has come to share with us.  Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne wept too when she encountered the sadness of so many Native Americans who did not know the joy of salvation in Christ.  The enemy still delights in making us weep—thinking, not aright, that our weeping means we will give up any efforts at spreading the good news.  Indeed, the evil one delights to smash us to the ground and dash our children upon the rocks, so that we will be discouraged and despair of God’s mercy.  Rather than give up on God, we delight to share our weeping with Christ.  Indeed, his compassion in our tears inspires missionaries in every generation of the church.  We too delight to share in the suffering and joy of the Cross, as we pray to recognize the time of our own visitation.