Tuesday, May 22, 2012

St. Rita of Cassia

St. Rita was born into a peasant family in Italy where she lived a very difficult and painful life. Yet through her sufferings she grew in union with God and became a saint. As a child she wanted to become a nun but her parents told her that she must marry and she submitted to their demands, feeling that in obeying them she was fulfilling God’s will. The man she married was violent, abusive, and unfaithful. For eighteen years she suffered and prayed for his conversion. He asked for her forgiveness shortly before he died from wounds he received in a brawl. Her two sons, however, dedicated themselves to exacting revenge for their father’s death, and so Rita once again dedicated herself to prayer for their conversions. Before they could carry out their plan they became sick and as they lay dying, forgave the men who killed their father. With no more family responsibilities, Rita tried to follow her original call to consecrated life. She applied three times to the Augustinian Sisters who rejected her because she had been married. In the end God rewarded her persistence and she received the religious habit in 1413. She lived a life of prayer, penance, and charity, and was blessed with numerous mystical graces. One of these was a wound that miraculously appeared on her forehead after she heard and reflected upon a sermon about the crown of thorns with which Jesus was mocked. Because of her sufferings and the miracles that followed upon her prayer and sacrifice, St. Rita has been given the title “The Saint of the Impossible” and “The Advocate of Desperate Cases.” As we renew our daily offering now, let us unite ourselves to the will of God as we pray that initiatives that defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted in society.

Dear St. Rita, during your entire life on earth you found your happiness by following the will of our heavenly Father. Help me to be as trusting of God in all His designs for me. Help me this day to give myself to Him as you did, without limit, without fear, without counting the cost. Help me to be generous in serving the needs of others, patient in all difficulties, forgiving toward all who injure me. Help me to learn more deeply the great mystery of the cross of Jesus, so that by embracing it as you did, I may come to experience its power to heal and to save. Amen.

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