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
…proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand…
Would you agree that calling us by our name is very pleasant to our ears? When a person calls me by
my name, I feel something special. How much more if it were Jesus Christ who was calling us!
Our gospel for today is about the summoning of the twelve apostles for their mission. We can only
imagine how Jesus calls them one by one. That act itself was very special. They were specifically
picked by Christ himself. I would really feel honoured if I had been with them. Another thing which is
more honourable is that they were given privileges to have “authority over unclean spirits with
power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.” But if we think about it more,
with great power comes great responsibility. It may be a privilege for the apostles, but they also had
to bear the weight that it carried.
The task given to the apostles is a bit challenging because Jesus instructed them to “not turn their
steps to pagan territory, and to not enter any Samaritan town.” The pagan territory refers to the Gentiles,
meaning they are not Jews while the Samaritans are half Jews and half Gentiles. I feel that Christ is
telling the apostles to not go to a specific group of people. Rather, they must proclaim the good
news to everyone.
It can be similar to us. Preaching is not exclusive to those ordained and religious. As lay people, we
also shoulder the task to spread the gospel in our everyday life. Our statement that we are Catholics
is not enough. We must act on it. Though it will not be very easy, doing good is habit forming.
There will come a time that we are spreading the good news effortlessly. How can we do that? Do
we say ‘sorry’ when we accidently bump to a stranger? Do we offer our seat to someone who needs it
more? Do we open the door for someone? Do we say ‘please’ and use kind words in our household?
Do we easily forgive those who have wronged us? Those little acts of kindness go a long way. This
will keep people believing that there is still hope in mankind.
“We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another,
to walk humbly with God!” – David Haas
(Today’s OXYGEN by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give us the strength that we may only choose to do what You
desire. St. Benedict, pray for us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father God, for calling us to do Your will.