Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest & Saint Josephine Bakhita, virgin
I love a good challenge. I love to be challenged to rise up and meet a difficult task. I often find that I create these challenges myself. I am currently working on an allegorical poem with an insane rhyming scheme. It usually takes me an hour or two to finish but eight lines but I love the challenge.
I must admit, however, that I have a melancholic temperament and sometimes challenges can overwhelm me. It's not that I can't overcome the challenge but rather that I often consider all the options in such detail that I become paralyzed, unable to begin. Instead of pushing forward and acting, I think too much and quickly become overwhelmed by the situation. It is at these times that I need to imitate the woman in today's Gospel.
It probably took a great deal of courage for this woman to approach Jesus, seeking an exorcism for her daughter. First, she had to seek Jesus out. He was basically looking for a break, a retreat of sorts. He was trying to hide for a little rest and relaxation. The homeowners where He was staying probably told the woman this but she persisted. Second, she was not only not a regular follower of Jesus, she wasn't even a Jew.
After overcoming the first two challenges she is given what appears to be a nasty insult from Our Lord, "For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." Here I would probably have walked away with my head down. I would probably have been disheartened and overwhelmed by my situation. But this woman simply brushes it off. In fact she uses His words against Him as she persists in her request. Our Lord's heart is won over by the faith and determination of this wonderful Gentile woman. His "insult" becomes a catalyst for her imploring Him all the more.
Lord Jesus, I know that nothing happens in my life without Your permission. I know that you love me and often that love comes in the form of difficulty and suffering. Give me the grace to accept the sufferings of my life. Help me to rise and meet the challenges You allow for my own good and for my growth. In short, Jesus, help me to carry my cross a little better each day without complaint.
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