Sunday, January 16, 2011

Franziska Notes January 2011

As a New Year begins with the birthday of Mother Franziska on January 1, 1833, we look again at her life and gift to the world. Those acquainted or associated with the sisters of the Congregation she founded, the Daughters of Divine Charity ask themselves, “How is our world related to hers? What can her charism bring to our situation?”
We are confronted by change. She was facing great political and social changes and the simple religious faith of her childhood was challenged by the voices of the enlightenment and the consequences of the industrial revolution. What she experienced in these areas was almost nothing compared to the current bombardment of ideas, often conflicting and threatening, by the mass media and the internet. What would she counsel us today?
I believe she would raise her copy of the diocesan newspaper and the devotional pamphlet that were subscribed to by all her convents. “Listen to the Church”, she would say, “Read and pray about what your Bishop is writing for the Catholics in his care. Be familiar with the documents coming from the Holy Father”.
We must be very careful that we are not receiving the teaching of the Church filtered through the mass media or even exclusively one preacher. We must have the patience to really educate ourselves so as not to be persuaded totally by the political right or left. The moral compass of today cannot be a superficial one. Reality TV is very often anything but. The love of God is our reality and it is not a quick fix. As we prayerfully read the Gospels we see that God’s plan takes time and requires sacrifice. The people who are truly devoted to the loving will of God often, like Jesus, lose their friends and even their lives. It is only in communion with God that we learn His will for us, not for the masses, but for us. That is often painful and lonely, but it is right and leads to peace.