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.