Woes. Such an intense word. Surrounding us are sorrows, destruction, and bitterness. Sometimes life might seem hopeless, but like today’s Gospel reminds us, we’ve been given the ultimate trump card. Though miracles and awe-inspiring Sacraments are to be found, our sinful ways can feel comfortable and just not worth working through. Why trust past what we already know to be fairly easy and safe? Sometimes, as hard as it is to hear, we need that jolt to remind us of our humanity and the Truth we have been offered in Christ.
Today also happens to be the feast day of a pretty incredible saint, Saint Theodora Guerin. Not unlike many women today, she was strong, independent, and responsible for much. She held the roles of leader, educator, pharmacist, and traveller on top of her vocation of being a religious sister. Born in France in the late 1700s, Saint Theodora was left to care for her mother and sister at the young age of 15 when her father was murdered. Ten years later she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence, but she was taken ill and left with digestive issues that were with her until she died.
At the invitation of the Bishop of Vincennes, Sister Theodora Guérin and five other sisters set off on a journey first via ship and then by stagecoach to the unknown wilds of Indiana to the little town of St. Mary-of-the-Woods. Instructed to teach and care for the sick and poor, the Sisters carried out this mission while forming a new community.
The trials of life didn’t pass this faithful woman by. Threatened by spiritual and emotional trials as well as physical attacks from fires to crop failure, Mother Theodora didn’t back down.
The way of Truth and goodness is hard. It certainly can be weary. Like Mother Theodora, we can seek comfort in the Blessed Sacrament. As Christians, we’re called to accept God’s plan, to submit our strength and independence. I think, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here, that this is by no means an easy call.
St. Theodora submitted to Christ’s will for her life and those she led, encouraging her fellow Sisters with the words:
“Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters, be patient, be trustful.”
Her greatest strength was submitting her will to Christ. Be comforted by these words passed down to us from this godly woman, who is now interceding for us from Heaven.
I know I often feel like I am lacking. In patience. In compassion. In charity. Our Blessed Mother gave us the perfect example of simply stating our needs to Jesus when she said, “They have no wine.” (John 2:2). She knew He would act and bless her with what she truly needed.
Jesus gives us daily full access to His grace. One of the most beautiful things about our faith is we can ask and our needs will be met. God is moving regardless of our ability to see. We need not fear the woes and destruction but instead be open to the calling and vocation Christ has for us. Remember today the words of the Psalmist: “Thou art aquainted with all my ways” and find hope and reassurance in the knowledge that we are known by our Creator.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.