Sermons

Summary: God is a jealous God. He only wants the best for us, and if we try to accept less than that, He makes certain we can’t have it. With God, it’s all or nothing!

Thursday of 20th Week in Course 2018

St. Rose of Lima

The Church is in a trying time, and it is not God who has put us in that trial. It hardly ever is, isn’t it? When we find ourselves assailed by the people or institutions around us, it has usually involved some failing of the people in the Church. Jesus came to us as a Bridegroom seeking a pure and sinless Bride, and He made us by his passion, death and Resurrection into that sinless Bride. He offers Himself to us in a nuptial union we call Holy Communion. And He doesn’t want us to be offering ourselves to Him half-heartedly. If we offer to Him anything less than our total dedication, He will by trials take our hearts of stone and crush them until He is able to make them into hearts of flesh, filled with His Holy Spirit. That’s what the Bible means when we read that God is a jealous God. He only wants the best for us, and if we try to accept less than that, He makes certain we can’t have it. With God, it’s all or nothing!

So we have these images in both Old and New Testaments, and the two scariest ones are in the Gospel. Making light of the marriage feast, or mistreating those who invite us, causes something like anger in this King. The Gospel says that he destroyed the murderers and burned their city down. That’s what our society is headed for if we continue to allow it to destroy the natural family through easy divorce, pretend marriages, artificial interference with natural conception and birth, and pretending there are sixty some genders.

So it’s helpful to us at all times to consider the witness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. And today we have a special witness, one from our own Americas, St. Rose of Lima. She was the first canonized saint to have been a South American native, patron saint of Peru who even appears on one of their banknotes.

Born Isabel Flores de Oliva, “her [cognomen] "Rose" comes from an incident in her infancy: a servant claimed to have seen her face transform into a rose. In 1597 Isabel was confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Toribio de Mogrovejo, who was also to be declared a saint. She formally took the name of Rose at that time.” She took as her patron St. Catherine of Siena, and took up the spirituality of St. Dominic, like Catherine. “When she was admired for her beauty, Rose cut off her hair and smeared pepper on her face, upset that men were beginning to take notice of her.” She dedicated herself to prayer and fasting, spending hours before the Blessed Sacrament and receiving daily Holy Communion, which almost nobody did even up until the twentieth century.

“She helped the sick and hungry around her community, bringing them to her room and taking care of them. Rose sold her fine needlework, and took flowers that she grew to market, to help her family. She made and sold lace and embroidery to care for the poor, and she prayed and did penance in a little grotto that she had built. Otherwise, she became a recluse, leaving her room only for her visits to church.” Forbidden by her father to enter religious life, she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic and practiced those devotions in her parents’ home.

Among her friends were St. Martin de Porres and St. John Macias. It is said that during life she had visions of Our Lord as a kind of consolation against the severe penances she imposed on herself, penances that no spiritual director today would permit. She died age 31 in 1617 on the Feast of St. Bartholomew. She was canonized less than a century later and is even venerated in the U.S. Episcopalian community. She is represented wearing a crown of roses rather than the crown of silver thorns she wore in life. St. Rose, pray for us and for the Americas.

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