Constancy of grace

 

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I enjoy meeting people!

I enjoy discovering the important things about them…their past, their present and what they hope for in their future.

I even enjoy getting to know the people I’ve never really ‘met,’ but have instead gotten to know through reading about them.

This is especially true reading about the lives of the Saints!

They inspire me, guide me, and in many ways encourage me to do ‘better’ in my own manner of living.

Have you ever ‘met’ someone like that?  Who inspires, guides and shows you; through the example of how they live (or have lived) their own life, the way to live your own?

I call these people, in particular these Saints, my IRONMEN as taken from Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” 

Today the Church celebrates one such Ironman (or woMAN’s) Feast Day, St. Frances of Rome.  I was first exposed to the life of St. Frances of Rome 5 years ago, while helping to jqN5ZgsQjDTecHdAwKnlpRPvJTtzHfWSFG0u385qXm4,OX_RZBk-b2j8suCiUFUzSx9-JU_R_ypZeNFZIh-gbigprayerfully discern a Patron Saint for our local 1:38 Women Organization.

 

St. Frances was born in Rome in 1384.  As a girl, St. Frances thought she was called to be a nun. Instead, however, she lived forty happy years as a married woman. An exceptionally competent person, Frances conducted herself according to clear priorities. She expressed her commitment to Christ first in her affectionate care for her husband and children, then for her extended household, and finally for Rome’s sick poor. Though living at a calamitous time, she gave her goods to the poor and looked after the needs of the sick.  She was remarkable in this active work for the destitute and also in cultivating the virtues of humility and patience.

“Sometimes,” she said, “a wife must leave God at the altar to find him in her household management.”

2012-03-9 St. Frances of Rome

When at twelve, Frances married Lorenzo Ponziano, a nobleman who loved her tenderly,  she also drew close to Vannozza, her sister-­in-­law, who lived in the same house and shared her zeal. Together they tended the sick, seeking out Rome’s worst cases. In 1400, Frances gave birth to a son, the first of four children, all of whom she tended personally.

Frances made everyone feel like a best friend, and thus attracted many people, especially younger women who idealized her. In 1424, with Lorenzo’s full support, she organized a group of women as the Oblates of Mary. They lived at home under the Rule of St. Benedict without vows and shared Frances’s mission to the sick. But seven years later, Frances acquired an old building and called the women to live in community. A biographer reported her invitation, as follows:

“I am ready to do what the Lord wants. But without you, my sisters, what can I do? You are the foundations of the building, the first stones of the new spiritual house of Mary, his mother. You are the seed from which a plentiful harvest is to spring. Earthly cares, the temporal affairs of life, must no longer take up your time. He summons you to a retreat, where you will live in his presence, imitate his example and copy the virtues of Mary, where you will pray for Rome, and turn away his wrath from this degenerate and guilty city.”

Mary Magdalene Anguillaria, superior of the Oblates of the Tower of Specchi wrote of St. Frances: God not only tested the patience of Frances with respect to her material wealth, but, as I have said before he tested her in a variety of ways.  And yet no one ever observed in her a tendency toward impatience.  She never exhibited any displeasure when she complied with an order, no matter how foolish.  Through the premature deaths of her sons whom she loved dearly, Frances proved her constancy.  With peace of soul she always reconciled herself to the will of God and gave him thanks for all that happened.  With the same constancy she endured the slander of those who abused and reviled her and her way of life.  She did not show the least hint of aversion toward them, even though she knew that they judged her rashly and spoke falsely of her way of life.  Rather, returning good for evil, she habitually prayed to God for them.  God had not chosen her to be holy merely for her own advantage.  Rather, the gifts he conferred upon her were to be for the spiritual and physical advantage of her neighbor.  For this reason he made her so lovable that anyone with whom she spoke would immediately feel captivated by love for her and ready to help her.  No one left her without being consoled, although she openly rebuked them for their sins and fearlessly reproved them for what was evil and displeasing to God.  

1650.0309Santa Francesca RomanaAfter Lorenzo died in 1436, Frances joined the Oblates and became their superior. During the last half of her life she received frequent visions and ecstasies. It is said that for twenty-­three years her guardian angel was visible to her, aiding her in her service. She died in Rome in 1440.

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By submitting faithfully to God, she received even more than she had wanted—the blessings of both married and religious life.

 

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I am grateful for meeting St. Frances of Rome.  There are several important reasons why she has taken up residency in my heart, but I am most grateful for the lesson she has taught me regarding the constancy I need to strive for in my own life.

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Quote by Madeline Sheehan

 

St. Frances of Rome, help us to see the difference between what we want to do and what God wants us to do.  Help us to discern what comes from our will and what comes from God’s desire.  Amen.

hugs n’ blessings for the constant quality of God’s love for us, which is often shown through the people that we meet! 

8 thoughts on “Constancy of grace

  1. Since we know history tends to repeat itself (for better and for worse), where are the spiritual leaders guiding our world today? I am not referring to the leaders of the different religions throughout the world; I am referring to the leader within each of us bestowed upon us by a God willing to guide our decision making in search of higher moral and ethical plateaus?

    Each new generation (naturally, with exceptions) seems less capable of taking previous generations experiences and utilizing them for the greater good. Children appear raised without FOUNDATIONS. They follow a pre-existing path and are judged “good children” if they remain subservient to a system that “thinks” for them. There is no PURPOSE; there is only PATTERN. Good or bad, we follow those before us using familial patterns attempting to maintain a horizontal linear plane of existence. This supports the stagnant mind; one less capable of seeing life beyond one’s own limited experiences.

    I write and express my ideas through science and research. I am not so blind, however, to believe my PURPOSE in life has come about through my own creation. I have been guided by a force I call God and share HIS messages through my writings. What scientific evidence do I have to prove this? NONE. You see, science and research has limitations that God doesn’t have. It would be foolish to turn to science and research with KNOWN limitations to explain omnipotent perfection and beauty.

    My FOUNDATION has been built on my strong FAITH in GOD. This has given me the courage to follow my heart supporting the LIFE values I share with others. I am far from perfect and strive each and every day to improve myself as I am guided to see, understand and correct my own faults. Listening to God and exploring these faults has made it so much easier to discover quality SOLUTIONS. This approach to life removes ego, anger and resentment (although I must admit I still battle with frustration.) It is frustrating to see so much PAIN in this world that seems so unnecessary. I have learned, however, to accept it is not my decision to determine WHEN positive changes will occur. I will, however, continue to diligently work toward creating a greater understanding so the world can choose a better path for itself. Of course, with each ACTION I undertake, I look to the sky and say, “God, I think the world’s ready for some positive changes.” In return, my innate intelligence interprets the following response: a 🙂 followed by, “stay focused, keep working hard” …. “You leave it up to me to decide when the time is right.” (followed by another 🙂 ) And so, I follow my mission in life!

    Thank you for sharing your lesson of CONSTANCY. So many people would benefit from reading this message as it helps one reflect on one’s own behaviors and true needs. This, for many, could be the revelation needed to convert a life of EXISTENCE into a life of PURPOSE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully said, Doc! There is only one Savior – no matter how badly our hearts yearn to Save, it can only be through His grace. And the ‘opening’ for others to receive this grace must come from each one’s willingness to say “Yes” to receiving it. We, however, have the great blessing of continually extending this opportunity ‘to receive’ – all which He has to offer – to those we meet & are sent to serve. How lucky are we to have this role to play in Salvation History??!! And I know He is well pleased by the fruits of your labors! Huge hugs to you for continuing on the journey – extending an outreached hand of help to those in need of grace!

      Liked by 1 person

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