Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini


Love justice, you who judge the earth; think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in integrity of heart; Because he is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.


I once believed very foolishly that monks and nuns who spend their cloistered lives in prayer must be wise not only in the ways of God but also in the ways of foolish humanity. They have seen the dark side, I supposed, and are not alarmed or surprised by street talk or crude language. 
I fear that I never apologized for my stupidity but I have reason to believe the patient sisters forgave me. Unlike the clever of this world they do not nurture resentments. 
I often hear admiring stories in the VA hospital of the tough Louisville priests who drank and smoked and swore like sailors; but, fifty years later, these stories are not told by practicing Catholics. I fear they have never recovered from observing such low-grade scandalous behavior among the clergy 
Devout people who practice their faith daily -- it doesn't matter if they're Catholic or Protestant -- "love justice" and "think of the Lord's goodness...." They do not seek entertainment on the dark side; they live in the light and find more than enough amusement in beauty to satisfy their need for occasional recreation.
The Book of Wisdom, written not long before Jesus was born, urges the devout to live simple lives in a complex, confusing and often dangerous world. No one should expect to be a master of political and social intrigue and a saint also. God's flock will be, as Jesus said, like sheep among wolves, relying on the Lord for both protection and vindication. 
...because he is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was clothed in innocence as she "loved justice" among the Italian immigrants in Chicago. She didn't need to get down with the homeless, orphaned adolescents; rather, she maintained her dignity and let them draw close to her. In fact, they flocked to her. 
With a prayerful heart and confidence in the power of faith to uproot a mulberry tree and cast it into the sea, she persuaded tough Chicago businessmen to build orphanages and schools while she collected young women to work as matrons and teachers to staff them. 
As we witness American culture descending again into the violence typical of her time, we pray that God will inspire others to take up her way of social action and simple innocence. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

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