Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Today is the optional memorial of St. Rita of Casia. St. Rita is one of the unique Saints that was able to experience all the states of life, daughter, wife, mother, widow and consecrated religious. She made small choices on a daily basis to remain in Christ and His Word and all these small choices made a difference.
When I read this Scripture reading, and then I read about St. Rita, I could see how Saint Rita lived out the Word of God. She was known as the “Peacemaker Saint”. Her life of prayer and her desire to remain in Christ was evident in every state of life she went through. As a daughter, she wanted to become a nun, but her parents arranged for her to marry. She prayed for her husband so that he would turn his back on the violent ways of his family, and he did. Sixteen years after they were married, he was murdered, she prayed for the souls of those that murdered her husband. Her two sons wanted to avenge their father’s death and she prayed her sons would not hurt anyone, and they became ill and died of their illnesses.
After she became a religious she devoted her time to meditating on the Passion of Christ. She prayed that she could share in Christ’s suffering, and in 1442 her prayers were answered and she received a wound on her forehead from one of the thorns from Christ’s “Crown of Thorns”.
“Why is Rita a saint?” St. Pope John Paul II asked during a service in 2000. “Not just because of the wonders of her intercession. . . but for the incredible ‘normality’ of her daily existence. Saint Rita is an example of what the Lord accomplishes when he finds humble hearts open to his love.” (Apostolic Letter Address of the Holy Father, May 20, 2000.)
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
I pray that we can all have that courageous faith to make choices in our daily lives to remain in Christ; receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and always putting Him first in all that we do.
Saint Rita Pray for us!
May God bless us all!