One of the incredible aspects about the faith of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was her ability to persevere when she saw no clear answer to her trials. Over and over again she tried to follow what she thought was God’s will for her life – traveling to Italy with her sick husband, converting to Catholicism, taking religious vows – only to have numerous setbacks each time.
She wrote: “May we never, never leave God’s sheltering wing but, dwelling now under the shadow of the Cross, we will cheerfully gather the thorns which will be turned hereafter into a joyful crown.” Beautiful words, but can we realize them in our own life? How do we continue to believe when the thorns are all we see?
Surely St. Elizabeth would tell us that is why we have the Church – the Body of Christ - as our haven and refuge. We are strengthened in the Sacraments and bolstered by the prayers of the faithful; together we can say “Yes” to God even in the midst of the most severe trials. A compassionate ear, a shoulder to lean on, a prayer offered up for us in times of need. “Be children of the Church,” she encourages us, even, and perhaps more so, when we don’t understand life's thorns.
Mother Seton, may we ask your intercession as we choose to continue to receive...and believe. Amen.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!