Posted by: fvbcdm | October 10, 2011

Feast of Saint Francis Borgia (10 Oct 2011)

In the year 1911, 100 years ago, an English nun by the name of Mother Janet Erskine Stuart was elected to be the Superior General of the Religious of the Sacred Heart. She was a wise and deeply spiritual person. She lived only three years after her election, but left an indelible mark upon her community and upon Catholic spirituality in general. In 1922, one of her Sisters, Mother Maud Monahan wrote her biography, generously quoting in it the words of Mother Stuart, both spoken and written in letters or compositions for the benefit of her community.
I would like to read to you today a paragraph taken from one of her letters. It sounds as though it was written to someone who was having difficulties and needed some encouragement.  Mother Stuart says this: I am more and more convinced that life is meant to be burdensome and toilsome and extraordinarily like traveling with an ox wagon in South Africa at the rate of about two miles a day; sometimes the wagon turns clean over, often it sticks fast in a drift (deep mud), sometimes they even have to take it apart in the mud of the drift and reconstruct it on the farther shore.  So I am more doubtful about things that go smoothly than when they are troublesome from morning to night.  Never mind; the arrival (in Heaven) will be worth it all, and it is not so far now—to see Our Lord’s overflowing gladness of welcome as each poor battered heart-sick child comes home for the everlasting homecoming, and to see all that He thought of the struggles and troubles and accidents of the way.  In moments when one can realize this, one understands that nothing else matters, except that we should keep our eyes on Him, and try to be submissive and patient for love of Him. It is all worthwhile: that is the thing to bear in mind.
These words of Mother Stuart’s remind us of the beginning of the New Testament letter of Saint James. He says there (and let us remember that this is Sacred Scripture and therefore the word of God): Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
In this connection, let us often meditate upon the thoughts that may have gone through Our Divine Lord’s mind as he staggered under the cross from Pilate’s palace to the top of the hill of Calvary where, he knew, he would be nailed to that cross. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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