Like all humanity, St. Josephine Bakhita lived a life which was full of questions she could not answer, some of them very painful. Why was she taken from her family and home at such a young age? Why was she beaten and abused? How was she supposed to come to an understanding of a loving God after such horrific treatment?
In "Evelyn Underhill: Essential Writings" we read: "If we consider the lives of the Saints, we see the strange paths along which they were driven by (God's) Will to the accomplishment of their destiny: how unexpected and uncongenial were the ways in which they were used to bring the Kingdom in and do the Will of God...Great courage and initiative, the hardy endurance of privation and fatigue, the calm acceptance of unpopularity, misunderstanding, and contempt, are at least as charateristic of them as any of the outward marks of piety. So too their inner life, which we are inclined to think of as a constant succession of spiritual delights, was often hard and painful. Willingly and perpetually they prayed from within the Cross, shared the agony, darkness, loneliness of the Cross; and because of this, they shared in its saving power."
This was so true of our Saint - she trod that strange and difficult path with only an innate sense of the one, true God who created her and the world she knew. It was only after being catechized by the Canossian Sisters and receiving the Sacrament of Baptism that she found peace in her life - that "peace which surpasses all understanding" (Phil. 4:7), because it is a peace which comes from the acceptance of the trials of life, knowing that God embraces us through it all. She shared in the Cross before having knowledge of Christ, yet even forgave those who abused her once she accepted Him as her Savior.
As we close this month's devotion, what did Bakhita teach us? Hopefully we learned that we, too, can find the peace which our faith in Christ promises, especially in those times when we have little understanding of the events of our lives. May we each come to believe, as St. Josephine Bakhita did, that God can use everything in our lives for good.
St. Josephine Bakhita, please continue to pray for us!