Holy Family

Holy Family

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Good morning. Reflecting on the Gospel passage this morning caused me to pause and consider further some thoughts I’ve been tossing about in my head of late. A number of things lately have given me cause to consider the direction of my life. The words from the Gospel this morning coincide with things I’ve been reflecting on of late. Jesus says to His disciples: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” In considering these words, I can’t help but think about a great lesson learned a number of years ago regarding looking back on things. 

Being raised for the most part in Toledo, Ohio I never had an opportunity to operate a tractor. A number of years ago I had the opportunity to be involved in a community garden program, and in the process learned to operate a tractor. A local farmer offered the use of his land and I offered to plow it up. This first experience operating a tractor taught me a valuable lesson not just about making good straight furrows but it likewise provided me a lesson for life as well. I learned that in order to make good straight furrows one must not look back, and so it is with life. 

Too often we find ourselves caught up in things that distract from those things which are truly important, those things which take our focus away from those things which ought to provide the direction for our lives. So it is with marriage sometimes. As married couples it is important to take the time to share with each other our dreams, to share with each other the thoughts which dance about in our heads, our thoughts concerning the direction for our lives. It is important for us to help one another keep focused on where we are going, to avoid getting caught up in those things which detract from sharing our dreams, our aspirations, our desires. It is likewise crucial to avoid getting caught-up in looking back; looking back, like steering a tractor, causes us to lose our direction and our furrows, our lives become all crooked. Dreaming together keeps us working together. Dreaming together provides us a mutual purpose and direction to doing everything we set-out to do, it keeps us focused on where we are going. Part of our dreams together, our vision for each other most importantly is the direction for our lives which Jesus refers to in today’s Gospel—that of the Kingdom.

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, whose life we commemorate today, offers us a strong example of what it means to have a dream and to follow it. She and her religious community, the Sisters of Providence, underwent considerable hardship in building a faith community in the Indiana wilderness of 1840. In addition to celebrating the life of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, we likewise reflect today upon the life of Saint Clare of Assisi. Although her feast is celebrated on August 11, the feast of her first translation, is celebrated by the Poor Clares on this day. Today we celebrate the life of Saint Clare of Assisi, whose life offers us a way to follow Christ simply toward knowing the joy of His presence in our lives and in all that we do. She encourages us to journey forward and to not lose heart. "Go forth without fear, Christian soul, for you have a good guide for your journey. Go forth without fear, for He that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother (Saint Clare, on her deathbed in 1253)." May Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, Saint Clare and all the Saints show us the way. Where are we going? Let us walk in Providence. Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

Loving God, In Mother Theodore Guerin 
You have given us an example of a religious woman who trusted deeply in Providence. Through her intercession, inspire us to dedicate our lives 
 to proclaiming the Gospel through works of love, mercy, and justice. 
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, 
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, 
One God, forever and ever. 
(Collect for the Feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin)

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