Posted by: fvbcdm | February 5, 2014

Feast of Saint Agatha (5 February 2014)

On February 5th each year the Church celebrates Saint Agatha, one of the young women who gave up their lives in defense of their purity back in the days of the Roman persecutions.  She lived in Sicily, just south of the volcanic peak of Mount Etna near the city of Catania.  Because of her heroic courage as well as her esteem for virginal purity, the early Church enrolled her by name in the Mass, and thus for about 1700 years, the Latin rite of the Catholic Church has mentioned her at Mass as we may still do today if we use the first eucharistic prayer of the new rite.

It always makes me laugh to remember on February 5th my aunt’s story about her name.  It seems that back in those days, the mother-in-law often exercised the privilege of naming the grandchildren.  After having named several of the girls among my father’s ten siblings, my great-grandmother decreed that the newborn girl would be named for Saint Agatha. However, there was a problem: the family in the bayou country of Louisiana spoke French, and the French pronunciation of “Agatha” is “Agathe” (“Ah-got”) and my grandmother was determined that her baby daughter was NOT going to be called Agathe Brown.  So she told the old lady no, that the child’s name would be Louise, a far nicer sounder name than “Agathe.”

The name “Agatha” in Greek means “good.” So today we have the commemoration of the virgin-martyr who was called “good.” That brings to mind the occasion when someone approached Our Lord and asked him, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Our Lord’s answer might be a bit puzzling at first glance. “Why do you call me ‘good’?” Jesus asks. Only God is good. What Our Lord is saying here is not that he is not good, but that God has already given the commandments to the human race and no new or different ones would be given. Therefore, he is implying, search among the already given commandments for the recipe for sanctity and salvation.  Don’t expect a new set of them from me or a new system of holiness.  I am not good in any other sense than the goodness of God; the Father and I are “good” in the same way.  It is Christ’s beautiful way of saying: “I am good exactly as my Father is good because I obey my Father in all things.  That is how one inherits eternal life.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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