Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, January 27, 2012

Feast of Saint Angela Merici

Good morning. Thank God for fairy tales, fables, and the like. They are a wonderful thing. They offer us so much in the way of life’s meaning. They offer understanding in a way that straightforward instruction could never offer us. Fables get to our inner core, they stimulate our imagination and provide for us an experience of life’s lessons we could not learn but by way of experience. It is for this reason, as we read in today’s Gospel, that Jesus used parables to instruct, to allow His listeners to not just hear the words but to experience the words. “With many such parables He spoke the Word to them as they were able to understand it.” In many ways I’m but a kid at heart and I truly enjoy fairy tales, fables and such. One such tale comes to me as I consider this morning, and I must admit it is one of my favorites. The story of Beauty and the Beast offers a delightful story of love. On the surface it presents to be a story of romance, but its lesson goes far beyond romantic love; it offers the reader an understanding of what true love is. It tells of love being a decisive choice, of its focus being the other person as person and not some disordered objectified imagining of the other. It offers us a glimpse of a relationship between two people where romance and friendship blossom into a full realization of each other. It becomes a sense of oneness with the other. We witness their uncertainty and fears of intimacy grow into a dance together where their meaning for one another becomes more than the sum of attraction, friendship, and desire; and even after one or the other occasionally stumbles their dance continues. These two individuals learn to surrender themselves and together they become the dance that they dance. They continue dancing despite and even knowing they will from time to time stumble.

Yes, fables, fairy tales, Proverbs and other stories offer us much in the way of life lessons. Some of my favorites are the lives of the Saints. The life story of Angela Merici has much to tell us. She, like many of the saints, overcame many life tragedies to live a good life, and eventually she became the founder of the Ursuline Sisters. We live in an age where much of what we and our families are exposed to offer disordered understandings of love and relationships. Our Saint whose life we commemorate today, Saint Angela Merici noted that “Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family.” This is so true. Is it any wonder that marriages and families struggle as they do when the images of love, marriage, and family we are presented within the media are so distorted and confused? We can overcome this; instead of tuning in to Desperate Housewives or House, why not tune in to reading a book. Yes, that is why I love fairy tales, for their lessons are true, but we must bear in mind that such things do not just happen, we make them happen. May you decide to live happily ever after. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Angela Merici. “Angela, simple of heart, be with me! Angela, filled with confidence in your mission, be with me!” ~Author Unknown

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