Holy Family

Holy Family

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feast of Saint Apollonia of Alexandria

Like the woman in today’s Gospel story, who cries out for help most of us fit into a similar situation at some point or other in our lives. For most of us bad things happen, and continue to happen in our lives, and there are times when our cries to heaven seem to go unattended; our cries to God bring nothing but silence and we feel utterly abandoned. For most of us this would result in giving up or at the very least doing something different, perhaps run away; but for the woman in today’s story it meant facing the situation head on and with humility and respect she persisted on. For us the lesson is to persist in our prayer and to remain humble, but sometimes despite our prayers things remain the same. This Gospel story for most of us is I think a difficult one for we see a different side of Jesus than that which we are used to, and for many of us the idea of suffering is not an easy one.

We live in a culture that tends to run away from suffering. Unlike the woman in the story there are times when despite our persistence, and despite all the humility we might bring to the altar our suffering remains, and we are asked to bear our suffering for the sake of others. For many in our current day society suffering for the sake of others is a rather peculiar concept.  As married couples we are called to a special type of suffering, as Blessed John Paul II noted in Familiaris Consortio, “Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers.” The sacrifices we humbly endure as married couples serve as an offering for the ills of our present day culture, they serve as a reminder to a culture that shies away from suffering that God’s love conquers all. As married couples our witness of sacrifice and self-giving remind others that there is something far greater that awaits us, something far more fulfilling than the things of this world. As our Blessed Pontiff noted in his first visit to the United States in 1979, “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” Our Saint whose life we celebrate today offers us an example of sacrifice. Saint Apollonia gave the ultimate sacrifice for the faith. We live in a culture that struggles with the idea that there may not be any immediate reward or satisfaction for our self-sacrifice, that despite our suffering we persist in giving. I know as a husband and as a parent that the rewards are many. Let us persist in our prayers and in our giving. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Apollonia of Alexandria.

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