E-mails -- August 23Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin
I´m not one to deprecate beauty pageants, so I gladly
congratulate you on winning the Miss Atlanta contest. (I guess your piano lessons paid off.)
Nevertheless, now that you are heading off to college, it is my responsibility to remind you that
many dangers await you there, so you need to be prepared. I speak not only of the obvious
temptations (drinking, drugs, sex, etc.), but also of another sort. God has gifted you with an
attractive appearance, a magnetic personality, and numerous other talents. How will you deploy these
gifts during your college years? Of course, only you can decide, but you will at times (maybe often)
be tempted to use them for selfish and vain pursuits. You should always reflect on why God gave you
these many gifts, and what purpose they are meant to serve in his Kingdom. Up until now, Father Paul
and Sister Rita have been there to remind you of this perspective, and you have responded admirably.
It may not be so easy at the university.
You may want to stay spiritually close to
today´s saint as a way to keep on track. Rose of Lima (born of middle class parents in Peru) is the
first American (in the broad sense) to be canonized, and she has a lot to teach us. Admittedly, hers
was an extraordinary calling, but sound principles of holiness undergirded her abnormal austerities.
She was strikingly beautiful in all her features, and of a charming personality. Frequent
complements alerted her to this, and fearing that her beauty might be an occasion of sin for
someone, she used to rub her face with pepper to make blotches appear on her skin. Once she rubbed
her hands with lime for the same reason, and was so burned by the acid that she couldn´t dress
herself for a month.
She eventually made a vow of virginity to dissuade her parents
from marrying her off, and spent not a few of her 31 years living in seclusion in a little hut she
erected in the family garden. There she was granted many spiritual consolations, but was also beset
by temptations and mockery. She longed to share the sufferings of Christ, and whenever she spoke of
him to others, or whenever she received him in Holy Communion, her face visibly glowed. When her
family fell on hard times, she gardened all day and sewed all night to keep them from destitution,
but in the end her sacrifices weakened her, and she spent the last three years of her life enduring
a long, drawn-out illness, which answered her prayer for suffering.
We live in
different times and a different place, but Christ remains the same, and his love for you is no less
than his love for St Rose. May you put all your gifts and talents at his service with the same love
and purity that she did – and may you be fast friends forever in heaven.
Much love, Uncle
To read more about other Saints of the day, CLICK