Friday, August 27, 2010
Day Six - Rose of Fidelity
The early church was commissioned by Christ to preach the good news that anyone who would come to him “For if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Faith in the heart leads to justification, confession on the lips to salvation.” (Romans 10)
The word fides in Latin and translated from Greek can mean “faith” or “fidelity.” True faith is not just an intellectual activity. The church defines faith as a full submission of intellect and will to God through Jesus. (Catechism, 143) It means being faithful to God. “For faith without works is dead.” (James 2)
If a husband were to ask his wife, “Do you believe in me?” He isn’t asking, “Do you believe that I exist.” The proper response to his question would be, “Yes. I believe in you”, or “I put my faith in you,” or “I would lay down my life for you.”
For many, a confession of faith in Jesus is the first step toward a long journey with Jesus. However, the journey demands taking up our cross each day and following Jesus. Faith is both a singular conversion to Jesus and a life long embrace of his mission.
St. Rose had more than an intellectual faith that Jesus was her Savior. She submitted her will to her Lord each and every day. She bore her cross, she endured ridicule, she prayed without ceasing. She did this because she was faithful to the Lord who was faithful to her.
There were times when her faith was put to the test. For example, like many mystics and contemplatives, St. Rose had a “dark night of the soul.” Like, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Terese of Lesiux, she would not experience the presence of God for years. This caused her great pain; but, like the prophet Job, she remained faithful.
On another occasion, St. Rose was nearly martyred for her fidelity to the Lord. When she was just 20 years old, and after her profession as a Third Order Dominican she participated in a tremendous miracle. It so happened that Dutch pirates invaded Lima’s harbor and defeated the Peruvian fleet. Due to the Reformation, they intended not only to loot the city but also to desecrate churches. The women, children and religious of Lima took refuge in the churches. In the church of Santo Domingo, Rose stirred them all to prayer. It is said that as pirates burst into the church, they were confronted with the terrifying spectacle of a young girl ablaze with light, holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. They turned away and fled to their ships which sailed away.
Rose placed absolute faith in Jesus. On many occasions, when there wasn’t food or clothing to care for the poor, she would offer a prayer of faith to the Lord. She would not ask the Lord for favor. She simply thanked the Lord in prayer, knowing that her Savior would provide for their needs. Her prayer of thanksgiving came from a list of 149 names of God found in the Bible. Upon her request, her friend and priest, Father Juan de Lorenzana went through the entire Bible and found all of the names that referred to God. She prayed this prayer many times per day from memory.
St. Rose placed her trust in the Lord that her own family would have food enough to eat. There is the story of her brother who wanted honey for his dry bread and, after returning from the pantry, began to cry, “We have no honey, no more bread, no food.” The family was poor. Rose told her brother to look again, “There is food in the pantry”. He remarked, “The pantry is dry.” Rose went to the pantry, said a prayer, returned and said, “It’s full.” Indeed, it was and from that time on, the family was never wanting.
Rose was ridiculed by neighbors, disowned by her family, and nearly even condemned by members of the Church who assumed that her miracles were of the devil. Jesus was once accused of the same thing when he expelled demons and cured the sick. Nevertheless, St. Rose remained with her Lord and carried her cross as a faithful servant.
Rose of Fidelity,
Pray that I may not fear abandoning myself to the Lord.
If I am ridiculed for my faith in Jesus, or mocked because of my prayerful ways,
I will look to your life as an inspiration to grow deeper in Christ.
Help me to put my trust in the Lord at all times. Pray that I may never grow weary when
my cross seems too much to bear.
Lord Jesus, I love you with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my strength. Amen.