What is the big deal about Saints? Aren't they all nuns or priests that lived a super long time ago, when it was easy to be Holy because Facebook didn't exist to keep us from doing good, or back when the world didn't seem to be on an immorality joy ride? Happily NO, that is not how saints are "born" - not even close.
Saints are ordinary people, like you and I, choosing to follow Christ and His way - no matter how impossible or difficult that may seem. We are all called to be saints, maybe that phrase is overused in Catholic circles, but I think it bears repeating! YOU and I ... ordinary, everyday people of the 21st Century - are called to be saints, and for some of us, that will mean enduring persecution. Additionally, while we suffer or watch others endure these trials, we may long for justice over our persecutors - be it family, friend or foe - but it is written:
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD. ~ Romans 12:19
Perhaps those are difficult words if you are in the midst of the situation or have a heart to see things settled from an earthly/human perspective - but this is where that whole saint thing comes in!! God never asks us to do the impossible - if He says, we are to leave it to Him, and trust it will not go unnoticed or unpunished according to HIS will and way, we are to believe it. So, where does that leave us??
It leads us to look at the lives of those who have successfully accomplished the task of allowing God's grace to strengthen them for the cross they were called to bear. In Melanie Rigney's new book, Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from our Sisters in Faith, she shares so many incredibly, heroically virtuous women with us - models of steadfast hope and faith. Those featured in Chapter Eight (the one if you hadn't guessed yet I am honored to discuss during this fabulous blog tour), beautifully epitomize Jesus' words recorded by St. Matthew, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..."
Sara Salkahazi, began the morning of December 27, 1944, giving a meditation on martyrdom and ended the day by being one. Trust me Melanie tells the story way better than I, so I will leave the details to her - but what struck me first and foremost about St. Sara's story was that she lived not LONG before I was born, a contemporary with my great grandparents - she was not a long ago saint but one of a more modern time. This reminded me - AGAIN - that I too, in this time, am still called to be a saint.
Melanie Rigney next features the life of Mary of the Cross MacKillop. St. Mary's story illustrates, as Melanie writes that "persecution sometimes enters our lives indirectly. We may not be the actual target, but it's convenient to punish or disparage us to get to the real target." So sure, she was a nun but... her life and struggle does still resonate with us who are not! Who of us can not relate to a "friendship that [has] not ended well." In addition, Melanie shares stories of a mother making desperate decisions to provide for her children and the consequences of that choice adversely effects one of the very children she was trying to protect! The Blessing comes in God's promise made in Romans 8:28 - to bring good in all situation for those who love Him and led to the world now having, St. Laura Vicuna, but of course at the time little Laura may not have felt that way - but she held onto faith and hope, and saw her situation as an opportunity to bring good. And boy did she!! Or maybe you will connect with Lucy of Narni (yeah I THOUGHT of Narnia too - quite honestly the minute I first read the name - and was happy Melanie did too!!
HOPE I have your interest piqued to want to pick up your own copy of Melanie Rigney's new amazing book ~ Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith ... because these Saintly Sisters in Christ I have shared with you today are just the TIP of the iceberg of who you will discover in these pages!!
The Beatitudes come literally to life (and then death but... that is also a part of the whole Saint making process) - and if the stories Melanie details don't give you enough to ponder, her closing Reflections for You at the end of each chapter- surely will!!
Purchase Your Copy Today: http://bit.ly/MelanieRigney
Follow the blog tour!! Here are the bloggers and dates that they are writing about Melanie's book:
Blessed Are You; Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith Blog Tour:
Melanie Rigney - Author of Blessed Are You
Melanie Rigney is the author of Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration, and a contributor to Living Faith, a 650,000-circulation Catholic devotional. She writes weekly for Your Daily Tripod, A Catholic blog, and has a monthly newsletter. "Sisters and Friends: Refresh Your Soul with Melanie Rigney." Melanie has spoken at the National Catholic Women's Conference, as well as several of their regional gatherings: numerous parishes, bookstores, and diocesan events; and several Theology on Tap sessions. Basically-- she rocks!