Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Feast Day of Saint Alphonsa
Hey everyone, just popping in to wish you all a blessed feast day!
On July 28th, we remember Saint Alphonsa and the holy life she lead as an example to us.
Last night my mom and I were watching Spice Goddess on the Cooking Channel and we were inspired to make an Indian dish. We always like to try new recipes and we have never made any Indian food before (I've never even had Indian food period). And as I was going online to print the recipe for dal, I simultaneously googled Indian Catholic Saints...just to see if there were any.
To my delight (and utter surprise) there were a couple! St Alphonsa was the first one I clicked and her story really spoke to me and my spiritual journey at the moment. She struggled through much of her short life of 35 years: first with the death of her mother followed by a series of illnesses that took a toll on her both mentally and physically. However these struggles drew her closer to Our Lord, as she had a great devotion to the Cross, and her pains & sufferings she shared with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. [Her suffering was shared with Christ, not apart from Him.] This shared bond deepened her faith and understanding of the Catholic life and how all Christians must suffer to truly appreciate the sacrifice of our Lord. So naturally, Alphonsa welcomed all suffering and was said to have had euphoric trances afterward. She was later quoted saying that she believed her life was to be an oblation to God. She wrote “Since only grief and suffering have fallen to the lot of my Spouse, I too lovingly embrace them, and my soul is at peace, though my body continues to be tormented. For the last seven years I have ceased to be my own, being given over entirely to my Divine Spouse. You know all that; and now let the Lord do as He will with me. It is not a cure I am anxious for, but only that His Holy Will be fulfilled in me.”
What a trust she displayed! I can only hope to someday attain such a complete devotion and trust in Christ. In the midst of utter darkness, all she saw was the goodness of God. How amazing! She's a great role model to keep in this area of the Christian life & struggle (& a great person to remember if you are sick! She went through a lot of that).
She believed in dying to one's self so that Jesus can fill us with His goodness instead, and that has been something I have been working on for weeks. Dying to one's self, becoming humble, and accepting suffering with joy has been the hardest part of this walk for me, but this summer, that has been exactly what I have been practicing and praying for. Praise God for sending me this encouragement!
Her prayer is as equally beautiful as her story:
"Lord Jesus, hide me in the wound of your sacred heart. Free me from my desire to be loved and esteemed. Guard me from my evil attempts to win fame and honor. Make me humble till I become a small spark in the flame of love in your Sacred Heart. Grant me the grace to forget myself and all worldly things. Jesus, sweet beyond words, convert all worldly consolations into bitterness for me. O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my intellect and mind with your sacred rays. Purify my heart, consume me with burning love for you, and make me one with you."
So as you can imagine, when I read her feast day date last night, I was floored! It was the next day, the 28th (today). And to top it off we planned to make dal for dinner today and I think it's a sweet coincidence and a nice way in which I can remember this remarkable woman!