9 Mar – Memorial for St. Frances of Rome, religious
St. Frances (1384-1440) was an aristocrat by birth. She married at the age of 12, and her marriage lasted 40 years. She was a mother of three before becoming a widow. She joined the Benedictines, and was the foundress of the ‘Oblates of the Tor de’ Specchi’ (Collatines). She is said to have been guided by an archangel only she could see. She spent her life and fortune, both as a laywoman and a religious, in the service of the sick and the poor, including the founding of the first home in Rome for abandoned children. She dictated 97 ‘Visions’, in which she saw the many pains of Hell.
On her feast day, priests bless cars due to her patronage of cars and drivers. Frances certainly never drove, but legend says that when she went abroad at night, her guardian angel went before her lighting the road with a headlight-live lantern, keeping her safe in her travels.
Prayer to St. Frances
Dear Frances, you were an exemplary wife, ever faithful to your husband. After his death, you founded and governed the Congregation of Mount Olivet, revealing your great devotion to our Lord’s Passion. Your faith in Angels was rewarded by frequent visions of them. Please pray for Catholics in our day that they may be as dedicated to God as you were. Amen.
- Patron Saint Index
Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:
‘My Lord, our King, the only one,
come to my help, for I am alone
and have no helper but you
and am about to take my life in my hands.
‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family,
that you, Lord, chose
Israel out of all the nations
and our ancestors out of all the people of old times
to be your heritage for ever;
and that you have treated them as you promised.
‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself
in the time of our distress.
‘As for me, give me courage,
King of gods and master of all power.
Put persuasive words into my mouth
when I face the lion;
change his feeling into hatred for our enemy,
that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.
‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand,
and come to my help, for I am alone
and have no one but you, Lord.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’
Remember Lord; reveal yourself in the time of our distress.
I have been asked where God is in our lives during the moments where we are down, or going through a difficult patch in our lives. We face various challenges at work or at home and sometimes, all these come along together to make our lives seemingly unbearable. Yet the readings of today remind us that God always hears our prayers; though his response to us may not be in our desired manner.
Esther was facing a situation where the Jews were about to be eliminated because of the evil plot of Haman. She knew that it fell upon her to become the person to speak up for the entire Jewish race and she did indeed go about doing so, at risk to her personal life. It is her strong faith in God which allowed her to continue with what she needed to do. Having faith in God is important because it allows us to entrust to the good Lord all the issues which we are struggling with.
Jesus reminds us that the Heavenly Father wants the best of us. We may not be able to see it in our lives but when we look back, the various events which have occurred in our lives which have brought us to where we are, is a possible opportunity for us to trust God to make a decision which will be in line with His plans. Let us now take this opportunity to enter into a deep reflection and converse with God on what He wants for us, and grant us the strength to accept the plans He has for us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear God, we pray for strength to accept your will for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who show us what it means to give up everything for God.