Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When the Village Turns on You... Love Harder!

Praised Be Jesus!

I hope this post finds everyone well! As we traverse through the month of November, I thought that it would be a good idea to reflect on the lives of some Saints, and with Thanksgiving speedily approaching, we will be remembering that very, how should I say... colorful story (lie) of the first Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. But in the spirit of the holiday, I thought we should focus on one of the Church's newest Saints, Kateri Tekakwitha.

Kateri was born around 1656 to a Christian mother and a Mohawk chief. When Kateri was about five years old, both of her parents died, and she was left to the care of her uncle's family. Regardless of the fact that she was disfigured and suffered from loss of eyesight due to smallpox, she was a cheerful girl with a supernatural grace. By the age of 11, Kateri had encountered the Gospel of Christ through the influence of Jesuit missionaries and developed a deep love for Jesus, and she longed to receive the Sacrament of Baptism.

Kateri waited until she was 18 to express her desire to enter into the Christian faith and was baptized that same year. What happened to Kateri after being baptized could only be characterized as a Lifetime movie gone terribly awry. The village that had loved and nurtured her turned on her in the worst way, and she had to face particular torment from those around her, including her uncle's family. Even in the midst of great abuse, Kateri exercised great love and charity, continuing to pray and sacrifice for the salvation of her people.

This is the attitude that we need to have when dealing with the world. With the Internet and the dawn of social media, we are now in a new, global "village," but sadly, this new village has turned on us. This new village cheers us when our values match, but when we object to the way the village operates, or if the village has a problem with the faith we promulgate, we suffer abuse very similar to that of Kateri.

Kateri is our model in a world that would rather we not be Christian, a world that would rather we follow the tide, and will abuse us when we don't. How do we react? Do we react with the same vengeance as our attackers, or do we do as Kateri and offer prayers and sacrifices for those who persecute us? Or do we thank God for our persecutors because they bring us closer to holiness?

As another Saint, Monsignor Josemaría Escrivá, put it, "Don't say: 'That person gets on my nerves.' Think: 'That person sanctifies me.'"

Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

—Collect of the Mass in honor of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha from the Roman Missal

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