21 Jan – Memorial for St. Agnes, virgin and martyr
At the age of 12 or 13, St. Agnes was ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and lose her virginity by rape. She was taken to a Roman temple to Minerva (Athena), and when led to the altar, she made the Sign of the Cross. She was threatened, then tortured when she refused to turn against God. Several young men presented themselves, offering to marry her, whether from lust or pity is not known.
She said that to do so would be an insult to her heavenly Spouse, that she would keep her consecrated virginity intact, accept death, and see Christ. She was martyred for her faith.
St. Agnes is mentioned in the first Eucharistic prayer. On her feast day, two lambs are blessed at her church in Rome, and then their wool is woven into the palliums (bands of white wool) which the pope confers on archbishops as a symbol of their jurisdiction.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Sam 24:3-21
…and summoned those he wanted.
To be called to join ‘the team’ is one of the best feelings ever. How many times have you been in a situation where you KNEW your name would be one of the first to be called to be on the team or in the club, because you were one of the best skilled? Or perhaps a time you weren’t called in the first round, but you had no doubt you’d still make the team because you were part of the ‘friend group’ that was doing the choosing? Or perhaps a time you weren’t called in the first or second or even third round, but you knew you would still ‘make the cut’; you wouldn’t be the last one chosen, or the one turned away because you weren’t liked ‘enough’ or just barely good ‘enough’ or perhaps just not as ‘bad’ as the others standing…waiting to hear their name? And, of course, there also has to have been a time, a few times, maybe many times, when you knew your name wouldn’t be called, but you showed up anyway, hoping. Hoping to be called…desired.
Why do we sometimes (or often?), value ourselves based on other people’s ‘value’ of us? Why do we put so much value in being called, being desired, by a fellow human being? Why do we show up with hope and then leave feeling less, maybe even worthless?
He called you. Not just the Twelve. He desires you. Not just the Twelve.
And when we say YES to His call, our value is no longer in the hands of our fellow (fallen) human beings. Our value is in Him, whether we know it or not. And when we know this, Lucifer cringes. The enemy of light is left with nothing. Nothing. Our great enemy is left with a glimpse of the realisation that God wins; and yet he will fight that and continue to tempt us into believing the lie that we have no worth.
All we have to do is say YES to His call, and then LIVE in that yes.
The Twelve said yes — they literally dropped everything.
In an instant.
They walked away from their ‘whole life’ to follow this man, Jesus…
I am sure many of us have dropped everything in an instant because of a call from family or friend. We’ve dropped our plans for the moment, the morning, the evening, the whole day, the weekend, the week and maybe a few weeks. But to drop ALL of our life in an instant – FOREVER – because He calls our name. That life-changing reality hit me in a profound, REAL way as I pondered on Mark’s words today. The simple few verses naming the Twelve, something we all know. In fact, a paragraph that is easy to skip over, since ‘nothing’ is being revealed/taught.
And now, decades and decades after having first heard these verses, I am struck by the enormity of these words.
God may not be calling you and I to drop everything known to us in our life, but He is surely calling us to a deeper relationship with Him. A deeper understanding of ‘love your neighbour’. A deeper understanding of LOVE. And to say YES to this will mean that we have to make room for more GOD. Will we wait until we’re less busy, until we have ‘more time’ to give to Him because our current TO DO list is sooooo important? Will we stand waiting to be called to fully be His, and then become too preoccupied that we don’t even hear our name called? Or when called, will we be too busy with our ‘To Do’ list saying, “Wait, Lord, I’m not quite ready, I know You are the answer. But I have to finish this first, and then I want to go play here, and then…”.
Brothers and sisters, God is calling your name now — yes, in the first round.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)
Prayer: Lord, grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by you, always follow your plans, and perfectly accomplish your holy will. Grant that in all things great and small today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you require of me. Help me respond to the slightest prompting of your grace, so that I may be your trustworthy instrument for your honour. May your Will be done in time and in eternity — by me, in me, and through me. Amen. — St. Teresa of Avila
Thanksgiving: Lord God, Creator of all, thank you for calling me. For desiring me. For choosing me. For giving me faith. For sending your Son. Lord God of All, thank you for loving me, I beg you to help me love you more, and love all those you put and allow in my path.
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