One of the joys of coming to daily Mass is the celebration of the feast days of the saints. This coming week is very special indeed, Saturday October 1st is the Feast of Saint Thérèse so much loved in Mount Merrion parish. Tuesday 4th is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, loved by all and Friday 7th marks the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, a magnificent prayer.
Ministering in these three parishes I have really come to appreciate the life of St Thérèse, her spirituality and the simplicity of her little way. A good exercise for any one of us would be to look up some of her sayings and reflect on them, why? Because her personal reflections of struggling to be kind, to accept herself and others, are full of simple, practical suggestions as to how we receive so much from God and that we try our best to do the little we can. Here is one example: “You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” Do we reflect on the fantastic love we each bring to our relationships with others?
St Francis of Assisi around the time of his feast is often an inspiration for people to bless their animals. You don’t have to bring them to church to be blessed, that is something you can do at home. Just look at the animals around you, feed the birds, stroke the cat, give the dog a bone, appreciate the song of one, the purr of another the familiar bark of man’s best friend. If we can love our animals so much then how much more can we love each other.
Our blessed mother has many titles, but Our Lady of the Rosary is very special because it leads us to reflect and pray the mysteries of Our Lord’s life, death and resurrection and the place of the Blessed Virgin in the Christian life. This prayer takes time, leads us into a deep reflection and sets us up for contemplation and praise. It can also be a moment to pray for the people in our lives who have asked us to remember them, for the needs of the world, and for those souls who have no one at all to pray for them. I can only imagine that anyone who says the rosary each day must be constantly growing in faith and lives out Christian charity in an exceptional way.
These three celebrations are not simply a way of looking back, they are a way of drawing strength from the witness of these exceptional people for our lives today and pointing us towards our ultimate resting place with God, in heaven, with the angels and the saints.