Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Clay God Uses: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Peace and Good!
Today's Gospel from John mentions three times "which is translated as..."
The saints are those who learned how to translate the Gospel into living witness.
Elizabeth Ann Seton was called to do this in many ways.
One dramatic moment: after her conversion to Roman Catholicism, she was shunned by many of her family, who were angry that she joined the "shabby, shiftless, scrubby Catholics." They made her life very difficult, and tried to get her out of New York, her home. But one of them became ill, and asked for Elizabeth to visit her and help her as death neared. Elizabeth had to decide if she would go, despite the pain that her relatives had caused her. She decided she needed to 'translate' the Gospel message, to show love to those who made her suffer. She went to the bed of her relative, and helped her to die in prayer and peace.
This was one of the big reasons people were so drawn to St. Francis of Assisi: he 'translated' the Gospel into living witness. In an era when there was much debate over words and concepts, he made the Gospel message real by his example and life.
This is what Jesus calls us all to do.
Why do we think it's possible? Because first of all, that is what Jesus Himself does. The Incarnation is the 'translation' of God's love into terms we can understand. "God so loved the world that He sent His only Son."
Jesus Christ is this love made present, not only in the past, but each day, each moment. One of the things that caused St. Elizabeth Ann's conversion was here awe at the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It made real for her the Lord's promise to be with us (as it did with St. Francis). Through Jesus she also came to know Mary, His Mother, whom He gave to us as our Mother too.
Secondly, we have the example of the saints. Each in his or her own way translated the Gospel into a living message. And we are all called to do the same, each in a particular way.
May God bless and help us in this New Year 2007 to believe in Christ present among us, and, like Mary our Mother, ponder on that in our hearts and then live it in our daily lives.
God bless and keep you!

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