Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
November 10, 2018
Today is the last day of the “National Vocation Awareness Week”. November 4—10 was a special time for parishes in the United States of America to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, deaconate and/or consecrated life.
I know vocations for women to the consecrated life is included in the plan. However, we do not frequently stress the importance of vocations for women. Vocations for women often takes a back seat to the issue of the lack of vocations to the priesthood within our Church. The need for many more priests is evident, however women religious communities are also suffering from a lack of vocations.
The Gospel is a good example of showing how often women were a very important influence in the life of Jesus. The poor widow only put into the treasury “two small coins worth a few cents”. Yet that truly impressed our Lord because of her generosity. “She has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” There are so many other women we could mention. Of course there is his own mother “Mary”, Mary of Magdala, the Canaanite woman, Martha and her sister Mary, and the woman at the well from Samaria.
In my own life am grateful for the many women religious who have helped in my faith journey. There were and are several who impressed me during my studies in theology; there were others who helped in my discernment as a missionary in Argentina; and in both parish and shrine ministry. There is a great deal, I have learned from their example of religious women, in prayer and service to the Church.
Recently two La Salette sisters who made their perpetual vows to their congregation located in Annandale, Virginia. Let us remember in our encouragement to young people who we believe have a particular calling to serve the Church, to express our feelings to both the young women and in our daily lives in our relations with family and friends.
Fr. John P Sullivan, M.S.
(32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: 1 Kings 17:10-16;
Heb. 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44)
The life of a widow was hard. 1 Timothy 5 offers a series of precepts for the care of widows; Exodus 22:21 reads, “You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.”
The poor widow of today’s Gospel, like many people of her day, was probably paid daily for whatever work she could find. But, instead of putting aside what little she could, she chose on this occasion to put all she had, a pittance compared to what others gave, into the temple treasury.
If she had not done so, her contribution would never have been missed. And yet it is famous, because it was noticed, praised by Jesus himself. He did not draw a moral, and so we are free to draw our own. At the very least it means that whatever we do out of a generous faith has meaning for God.
In our second reading we read that Jesus, by his sacrifice, took away the sins of many. Had it not been for the resurrection, his sacrifice on the cross might have gone unnoticed by history. Unfortunately, over time, in many parts of the Christian world, its importance came to be taken for granted, if not forgotten.
In 1846, she who had stood at the foot of the cross came to a mountain in France. Two innocent children were given a message to remind their people—her people—how far they had strayed, how little they understood the worth of what was accomplished for them by her Son, who was “offered once to take away the sins of many, [and] will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.”
Recently read one of the great Christian classics, Paul Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. A pilgrim named Christiana, on learning of Jesus’ sacrifice and the forgiveness it brings, exclaims: “Methinks it makes my heart bleed to think that he should bleed for me. O thou loving One! O thou blessed One! Thou deservest to have me; Thou hast bought me. Thou deservest to have me all; Thou hast paid for me ten thousand times more than I am worth.”
Indeed, we can never truly repay the price paid for us. Our first response may be regret, but then comes gratitude, and then the desire to give what we can in return, no matter how great, no matter how small.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.