6 July, Tuesday — Wrestling With God And Ourselves

Jul 6 – Memorial for St. Maria Goretti, Virgin & Martyr

Maria Goretti (1890-1902) was a beautiful and pious farm girl, one of six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. In 1896 the family moved to Ferriere di Conca. Soon after, Maria’s father died of malaria, and the family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive.

In 1902, at the age of 12, Maria was attacked by 19-year-old farm hand Alessandro Serenelli. He tried to rape the girl who fought, yelled that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her 14 times. She survived in hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God’s forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady. She is counted as a martyr.

While in prison for his crime, Alessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden where a young girl, dressed in white, gathered lilies. She smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of lilies. As he took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared. This vision of Maria led to Alessandro’s conversion, and he latter testified at her cause for beatification.

  • Patron Saint Index

Gen 32:23-33
Mt 9:32-37

“… because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.

No one ever goes on a journey expecting that all will be smooth sailing from beginning to end. Even the best laid plans go awry. For any trip to be a success, one must have a certain flexibility to be able to roll with the punches. The most successful journeys require us to park what we know, so that we can be open to new experiences. So that we can be open to the miracles of God.

We are only just emerging from a global pandemic. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost livelihoods. A lot of us have given up our old lives, because things will not likely go back to how they were before. Even if you had a ‘good pandemic’, you would still have gained new insight into what/who gives you joy, and what/who does not. You would have gained a new appreciation for your own mortality, for your own vulnerability, for your own finitude. You would look at your loved ones differently. Just as Jacob wrestled with the Angel, you too would have wrestled with your conscience, your priorities and your passions. Is my old life what I truly want, what God truly wants? Is this really the path that is meant for me? Or am I just wasting time spinning my wheels?

Though these are big questions without clear answers, I would urge you to be patient with yourself and stay with them. The thought of forging a new life, of doing things differently is both terrifying and exhilarating. What if we fail? What if this new direction is not for us? What is worse, failure or regret?  Like Jacob, we will never truly know all the answers to these big questions. And for a long while after this, we will likely still feel troubled, abandoned and insecure, like sheep without a home. When we get like this, let’s take comfort in God’s assurances that He is with us always, and find our contentment in His presence. Our world as we know it might change, but God never changes. He is always constant. As we do the work of reexamining our lives, let us find our security, our confidence and our strength in God.  

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for the wisdom to discern the path that God wants for us. We pray for the courage to reset our lives, if a reset is what God wants for us.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the insights and the truths that were revealed to us, as a consequence of the pandemic. We ask God to lead us to this journey’s conclusion.

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