How great God is

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

 How great God is
Lent, day 36

Two days ago, we celebrated the feast of St. Maximilian who was told by the Army authority that he had to be a member of the army and do the things that soldiers do.  He refused on the grounds that he belonged to the army of God and did the things of God.   Today, in the first reading, we have  King Nebuchadnezzar saying to,  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that they have to worship his God.  They also refused and were joined in the furnace by an angel who cooled the fire and kept them safe until the King had to admit that they were serving the God of Gods. 

The Saint for today is St. Abraham the Hermit (d 360) who, on the evening of his marriage day, with the consent of his wife, became a hermit and spent all his hours in adoration, praise, doing austere penances, weeping and asking God’s mercy for the sins of humanity. His family came to entreat him to come home, but he convinced them to let him stay. They agreed and supplied him with food for the next 50 years. During this time, his parents died and left him their estate, but he commissioned a friend to distributed its worth in alms.  He lived in the diocese of Edessa and was a friend of St. Ephrem. At this time the people in the area were given to idolatry and the Christians who tried to evangelize them were treated with contempt and injury.  The Bishop of the area cast his eye on Abraham, ordained him a priest and sent him to preach the faith.  He did so by preaching to them and praying and weeping for them. His prayer was: 

“Most merciful God, look down on my weakness: assist me with thy grace, that thy name may be glorified. Despise not the works of thy own hands.”

At first they treated him as they did the other evangelizers but after 3 years, they were overcome by his prayers, his meekness and his patience and demanded to be baptized. He spent one more year teaching them and then left them in the hands of the local priests and ministers.  He then returned to his hermitage to live out the rest of his life in prayer and adoration. 

Reflecting on saints like this makes us realize anew
how great God is; how he calls us each by name
and gives us whatever graces we need
to proclaim the gospel in the time and place
we are most suited for.

Return to previous page