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Monday, March 26, 2018

Monday of Holy Week: St. Francis de Sales on Humility and Obedience

I continue to read St. Francis de Sales' Sermons on Lent. On Palm Sunday, the focus was on humility
and obedience. St. Francis is a master of the spiritual life and we can certainly benefit from meditating on his writing during this Holy Week:
Everything in the world has two faces, because everything has two principles. The first is God, the first cause of everything that exists. The second is the nothingness from which everything has been drawn. Now, since God is the first principle of every being, there is nothing that does not contain something beautiful and lovable in it. But since very created things is drawn out of nothingness, each contains some imperfection.
Last night, I reflected on this. Consider...even the worst person you can think of is made in God's image and likeness and contains "something beautiful and lovable." The abortionist and staff committing vile murder may have a "smoldering wick" within. What can we do through prayer and witness to prevent that wick from going completely cold and dead?

I think of Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade working in an abortion mill whose heart was touched by a little child. Nine-year-old Emily came with her mom to pray and volunteer at the Operation Rescue office next door to where Norma worked. She always spoke kindly and hugged "Miss Norma." McCorvey later telling her conversion story said, "While the Operation Rescue adults targeted my mind, Emily went straight for the heart. And over time, Emily began to personify the issue of abortion."

Emily's mother almost aborted her. After learning that and seeing the pro-life bumper sticker on the mom's car, Abortion Stops a Beating Heart with the bright red heart and heartbeat symbol, McCorvey wrote, "All of a sudden, I saw Emily's heart in that sticker and it just about destroyed me when I realized that 'my law' had almost snuffed out young Emily's life....I was forever changed by this experience. Abortion was no longer an 'abstract right.' It had a face now, in a little girl named Emily. Something beautiful in Norma was touched and she became a light for world.

Please pray for Norma McCorvey who died February 18, 2017. Like Mary Magdalen in the Gospel today who poured oil over Jesus feet and dried them with her hair, Norma was a repentant sinner whose life offers all sinners hope. She was lost and she was found.

St. Francis goes on to tell us that:
All creatures -- being a mixture, as it were, of perfection and imperfection -- have been used by Scripture to teach us about both good and evil. There is not one from which we cannot draw an analogy to teach us about the one or the other. All can be used to point out either good or evil....Even the rose is not so perfect as to be without some imperfection. Though it is very beautiful in the morning, in full bloom, with a delightful and pleasing fragrance, yet in the evening it is so faded and wilted that its condition can be used to symbolize the voluptuousness and delights of a worldly life.
Everything in heaven and on earth has a lesson for us. Our own flawed thoughts, words, and deeds invite us to recognize our shame and respond with humility. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I'm off to take a rosary walk and I intend to look about me with wide open eyes asking the Lord to teach me through everything I see.

This Holy Week will only come once in our lives. May we all use the time well to grow in love of Our Lord so we can fully rejoice and rise with Our Lord on Easter Sunday.

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