Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Franciscan Obscurity - St. Rose of Viterbo

 I truly love the fact that:

The list of Franciscan saints seems to have quite a few men and women who accomplished nothing very extraordinary. Rose is one of them. She did not influence popes and kings, did not multiply bread for the hungry and never established the religious order of her dreams. But she made a place in her life for Gods grace, and like St. Francis before her, saw death as the gateway to new life.

Rose's dying words to her parents were: "I die with joy, for I desire to be united to my God. Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious."

Saint of the Day

There is something so wholesome about obscurity in God - one of my favourite Scripture passages is Colossians 3.3, "...for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

The private side of our life with God in prayer is to be a secret one: "...whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6.6)

We should really never long to do great things for Christ - we should long only to obey him, to do only those things our hand finds to do. The results may be unheard, almost unremembered, like St Rose's; or they may change the world, like St Francis' - that is not up to us. Isn't that a relief?

Obscurity is refreshing, like clear water on a hot and bothered day; it is nourishing, like good brown bread. When we live in obscurity, we live in wholeness, and our hearts are free to love.