Today marks the death anniversary of Saint Lutgardis, who was a nun who died on this date (June 16) in 1246. I admit that this lovely saint has little to do with the topic of loving one's enemies, but she is the saint I've chosen for the day, while the Gospel Reading of the day deals with loving one's enemies and praying for those who persecute us.
There is a whole long list of saints who are honored today. That's the way it is for most days of the calendar year. There are far more than 365 saints, so they all have to share. I picked St. Lutgardis (sometimes Lutgarda or Luthgard, depending on the language of the country in which you live.) I had not heard of her before, and I am making an effort to broaden my knowledge of the saints, so she was my choice. She was also a nun from the age of about 12. I love to learn about other nuns, as it inspires me to cling more fervently to my own unique vocation.
The holy people we remember today are:
Bl. Guy Vignotelli
St. Colman McRhoi
St. Felix & Maurus
St. Luthgard (Lutgardis, Lutgarda)
St. John Francis Regis
Bl. William Greenwood
St. Ferreolus & Ferrutio
St. Quiriacus and Julitta
If you have some curiosity about the other saints, Catholic.org has a wonderful website with extensive information and a great search feature that allows you to find the saints either by date or by name. The link for that page is HERE.
There was a time in history when ladies had only two choices in life. You either married or you joined a convent. Generally speaking, it was rather shameful to be a spinster living at home, but, as with all generalizations, this was not always true. Lutgardis's father had managed to squander her dowry in a bad investment scheme which meant she could not marry. At the age of 12, he sent her off to a convent, despite her having no monastic vocation to speak of. In fact, she came and went as she pleased and entertained all visitors she wanted, both male and female. Then something happened in the way of a vision which set her firmly on the path to heaven. She grew more and more devout, had visions, a type of stigmata, and levitated during prayer.
You will find her entire story HERE.
The thing I found most inspiring was that she began with no interest in God whatsoever, but ended up becoming a great mystic and saint, which speaks to the importance of teaching one's children the faith. Often times, a child will express disinterest in a topic, skill, or way of life, but they have no way of knowing if they are interested until and unless you introduce them to it. Exposure to a thing is necessary. I think it very odd when someone says that they are not going to teach their child about God but will "let them choose" when they're 18. Let them choose based on WHAT information, I want to know!
Saint Lutgardis gives me hope that, even if we start out as vain, superficial people, we can grow and improve and "become perfect" as our "father in heaven is perfect," which brings me to today's Gospel reading.
(43) You have heard how it was said, you will love your neighbour and hate your enemy,
(44) But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;
(45) so that that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.
(46) For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?
(47) And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?
(48) Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It occurred to me that I have, in the past, prayed for people who have done me grave harm in one way or the other, but it has been quite a while since I prayed for those people. I have forgiven them and I did pray for them for some time, at least until it was fixed in my brain that those people had been forgiven, but I wonder if Jesus intended that we continue to pray for our enemies, over and over again? How much is enough? I am unsure about this aspect of things. I am grateful that this reading came to me today so that I would have that little nudge that would inspire me to examine an important aspect of my prayer life. I'll have to ponder this one a bit.
The doctor called today. The latest tests reveal that my illness is still a mystery. He will call again tomorrow with information about the next steps to take.
Despite being in the middle of an intense pain episode, I made a big pot of vegetarian soup today, with organic tomatoes, kidney beans, red onion, garlic, olive oil, celery, new spring potatoes, and just enough cayenne to warm the mouth. I put a little brown sugar in there also, to put a damper on the tang of the tomatoes. I fed a couple neighbors in an impromptu, casual supper: me with my legs propped up on a big box with a pillow on top (my recliner is broken), one neighbor on my couch with a tray and another at the tiny white table in the middle of the living room. I've lost the ability to socialize in a group, for the most part. Having spent the last 11 years as a solitary, with very little company, silence has become my friend. I do enjoy a conversation of substance, but those are sometimes very hard to find or generate.
Now that there is a dog in the house again, I am forced into a walking schedule, which I am assuming is good for anything that ails me. I have yet to hear of an illness in which they tell you NOT to walk, even if walking makes you feel like someone is sticking hot pokers up your spine and in your kneecaps. Anyway, it is time to walk the cutest dog in the world. I'll pray for you while we stroll.
God bless us all.
Silver "Rose" Parnell