Today in the Catholic Church we honor Saint Maria Goretti. You can read more about her here: https://mariagoretti.com/who-is-st-maria/
St. Maria Goretti forgave the man who stabbed her. She had been fighting him as he tried to rape her. How can one explain protecting virginity over choosing to stay alive? Her faithfulness to you Lord was indeed Saintly, she trusted you knew the gift she was giving, and placed this man above herself in forgiving him before she died; as well, she appeared to him with lilies of faith in which he accepted and changed his ways while in prison. Her faith was so great you would bless her, by raising up her actions of defending her purity as a model of trust and mercy. Some would say it was too hard, too cruel what happened to her. Of course brutality and violence is wrong. No question there. But what amazes me is how you took that act of violence Lord, with the offering of St. Maria, and gave this man the freedom to know you. And not just her, but thousands since her death in believing you can transform anything given to you in love and faithfulness. This is proof for us as St. Maria has repeatedly intervened with you Lord to produce countless miracles. I found it comforting in today’s Gospel to read of more faithful witnesses, and the message to always bring our needs before you.
While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. 20 Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26 And the report of this spread throughout that district.
As I sat in prayer with you this morning Lord and gazed upon the pictures of my family on the shelves nearby, I thought of how many times I disappointed them, yet their love for me continues. Times like when I wasn’t there for big events, perhaps distracted and not listening or was too busy with my own needs to see theirs. Sometimes we’ve had major differences in opinions and said things we shouldn’t have or regretted later. I can’t take those times back. I can’t undo the wrongs nor can I sit in sorrow over them.
In the Gospel, the synagogue leader whose daughter died did not cast blame or lament, but simply knelt before you Lord, and professed his faith in your power to raise his daughter from the dead. A woman suffering for twelve years believed that only touching the hem of your garment would be strong enough to cure her. You gave both of them new life – and many were amazed; word began to spread and more followed you.
As I look again at my pictures, I know you hear my prayers for these family members I love. You know my heart and accept the sorrow I’ve expressed for my words or actions that may have hurt them. You gave me the power to seek forgiveness; you also have the power to help them see me, weak, not perfect yet not unloving but faithful; trying always to do better, bringing their needs before you and asking you to bless them, keep them safe and draw them to your most Sacred Heart.