18 August 2006

Solemnity of Our Holy Mother

Today is a grand celebration in our house. First and foremost it is the Solemnity of Our Holy Mother, Saint Jane de Chantal, the feast day of our Sister Maureen de Chantal and birthday of our Mother Philomena. In terms which used to describe a major solemnity in our monastery, this triple-celebration might be considered a double and solemn feast to the third degree!

Compared to the voluminous writings of Saint Francis de Sales, there are far fewer writings that survive from Saint Jane de Chantal. Among her conferences and memoirs, however, are many gems worth sharing. One popular theme about which she wrote was what she called "the martyrdom of love." When asked about this mystical martyrdom, our practical and down-to-earth foundress had the following to say:

"God keeps his servants and handmaids in this present life so that they may labor for him. . . .Divine love takes its sword to the hidden recesses of our inmost soul and divides us from ourselves."

Perhaps even more telling is Saint Jane de Chantal's reply when asked how long this martyrdom would last: "From the moment when we commit ourselves unreservedly to God, until our last breath." This speaks to all of us, no matter what work, occupation, vocation or state in life we occupy. When we acquiesce to the Lord's will in our life and we do not hold any part our ourselves back from Him who created us, we, too, live this martyrdom of love. May Our Holy Mother intercede for all of us in yielding ourselves unhesitatingly to the Lord in the daily activities of our lives. May God be praised!

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