Megan McKenna, the noted spiritual author and lecturer, tells a good story from her own spiritual director. He told her: "You need to live in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says: "Damn, she’s up and at it again!"
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, today’s saint, was such a person. Called forth from Italy by the Spirit and the encouragement of Pope Leo XIII, she worked tirelessly for the good of immigrants in the Americas, in the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Nicaragua. She was a dynamic person, who knew her one and only strength was the Lord and her relationship with him. She would not be hindered by hardships or discouraging results in any of her community’s ventures. She wrote to her sisters: "Hardships must never discourage the spouse of Christ; rather they should make her stronger and more determined. Go forward always, with the serenity and fortitude of angels, because you are the angels of the earth and so must continue on your way in the midst of so many contrary influences. Everyone can be serene when things run smoothly; it is in difficult situations that fidelity and constancy are proven."
Mother Cabrini can continue to teach us to uphold the rights of immigrants, who are so often not only subject to discrimination in many countries, but hatred and violence.
In today’s gospel, Jesus said: "For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you." May Jesus, once a stranger upon our earth, and Frances Xavier Cabrini, his friend, continue to impel us to reach out to the " stranger, the sick and the frustrated" (today’s opening prayer). Remembering our own immigrant ancestors and their love of our country, their hard work to build up families, parish communities and the reign of God, may our hearts be grateful.
Fr. Bob Bovenzi, C.P. is stationed in Chicago, Illinois.