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
…having won an eternal redemption for us…
At mass last Sunday, our assistant parish priest, Fr Nat, told us an interesting anecdote around the famous statue called ‘Christus’, by Dutch sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Some of you may have seen it standing in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, or admired the many replicas in a few churches in Europe and the USA.
The story is that when Thorvaldsen cast the clay and let it stand in order for it to harden, he had originally shaped the head of Jesus to look up to the heavens and his arms were raised high towards the sky. However, due to the weight of the clay, the head and the arms started to droop and finally settled into their current positions. Awestruck by this, he decided to carve the inscription ‘Kommer til mig’ (‘Come unto me’) in the concrete base it stood on.
Brothers and sisters, all of us struggle with our wounds, our fears, our shameful past, things we want to hide from others (even our family members). Jesus always reassures us by showing His wounds in full sight for all the world to see because in His suffering, He has redeemed us.
I myself have been going through a ‘bad patch’ of late and am struggling to come to terms with some of the realities of my situation at home..or rather, in the house I live in. Of late, I have been irritable and easily vexed by the smallest things – and sometimes, it starts even before dawn. Which is why I prefer to stay away and return to the house only after dinner, so that I it is quiet and peaceful, and I get to potter and do things (mostly tidying up the kitchen). I sometimes think my family may regard me as a little ‘bonkers’ because even before dinner ends, I am already busy washing up in the kitchen.
This past Sunday at dinner, I was asked to say grace by a guest because I sat at the head of the table. “Come unto me” couldn’t have rung out more plain and clear. Because unless we all go to Jesus, we can never bring him into our families.
Pray for me…
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Abba Father, you gave Jesus to us because you want us to come back to you each and every time we stray. We ask of you to continue to have faith in us – that we will find solace in your loving arms.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for our family which You bless us with. We thank you, heavenly Father, for all our extended family members too.