Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Memorial of Saint Agatha

The martyrdom of St. Agatha, who we honor at this Mass, is a sad and tragic story. During a third century persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor, she resisted being forced into prostitution, and as a result was brutally tortured in prison, where she died.

In view of her story, and various traditions surrounding her life, Agatha became the patron saint of several very different categories of people, including bakers, foundry workers, miners, nurses, and alpine mountain guides.

To put it another way, we might say that as a saint, Agatha has a special concern, and responsibility for, those in the food service, transportation, manufacturing, recreation, medical, and mining professions. Given the current state of the economy, only one category of those persons- the nurses- have stable employment prospects. Those in the others are experiencing or facing layoffs and deteriorating prospects of finding new gainful employment in those fields.

They and their families are suffering. Some of us are experiencing this suffering ourselves; probably all of know people who are undergoing this trial. Perhaps then, some inspiration and help can be found from St. Agatha. A victim of injustice, and subjected to horrible suffering, she found her strength and hope through Jesus her savior, whom she trusted when there seemed not much else that was trustworthy.

Her prayer in prison- a prayer for both protection and patience- can be a model for the prayers of all those hurting at this time. Agatha prayed, "Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer." St. Agatha, pray for those who suffer like you; St. Agatha, pray for us.

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press:https://www.avemariapress.com/product/1-59471-363-4/The-Living-Gospel-Daily-Devotions-for-Lent-2013/ It is available also at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Devotions-Lent-Living-Gospel/dp/1594713634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335995419&sr=8-1 )

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