In life we are often faced with situations that require us to “discern,” to decide which action to take in order to keep thriving and building a world filled with justice and peace. It isn’t always easy! The Gospel gives us tools or signposts to help guide us on our way. These signposts are the different aspects of Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan. She was kidnapped by slave traders and purchased by a diplomat who brought her to Italy, where she was entrusted to the Sisters of the Catechumenate in Venice. She decided to become a member of the Sisters of the Madeleine Institute of Canossa. She worked with the poor, who nicknamed her "Black Mother." She was beatified in 1992 and canonized in 2000. She is the patron saint of Sudan.
- How has compassion (the capacity to suffer with another) influenced your life?
For months, Martin has been living in a home for people with AIDS. He is only 32 years old and his life is nearly over. Many people have given up on him for a lot of "good" reasons, but not Charles. He continues to visit Martin, reading to him and keeping him informed of current events. He does errands for him, washes his clothes and makes sure Martin is comfortable in his chair. Often he just sits there quietly and lets Marin sleep. People tell Charles to take care of himself; that he can’t do any more for Martin; that he shouldn’t let himself get sick.
Andrew, from Phu Yen, became a martyr for his faith. Born to a poor mother in the province of Phu Yen, he went on to study with the Jesuits and was baptized when he was 17 years old. He became a catechist and evangelized with zeal, filled with the love of God and wanting salvation for everyone. In 1644, he was captured by soldiers in the name of the king, who wanted to rid the kingdom of Christianity. On July 26, 1644, he was decapitated as he cried out, "Jesus!" An inspiration to Vietnamese catechists, he was beatified in Rome by John Paul II on March 5, 2000.
Where am I called to serve others in my life?
Two young university students, Michelle and Martin, were working as research assistants on a study about respecting the rights of others. They received a small salary and were promised that their names would be published in the study. When the document appeared, only the professor’s name was there. They felt betrayed and angry. They felt as if their work had been stolen from them or discounted. Several months later, the two research assistants met with the professor, brought everything out into the open and were able to forgive the injustice.
Francisco Castello i Aleu (Spain): Two hundred and thirty-three martyrs - priests, religious, and lay people - died for their faith in the religious persecution surrounding the Spanish Civil War, from 1936 to 1939. They all forgave their executioners. One of these people was 22 year old Francisco Castello i Aleu, a chemist and a member of Catholic Action. In full awareness of the seriousness of the situation, he did not run and hide, but gave his youth as an offering of love for God and his brother and sisters. Pope John Paul II beatified these 233 martyrs on March 11, 2001.
People say that it is liberating to forgive. Where in your life do you need to give or receive forgiveness?