Feb 11, 2017

Saturday with the Saints: St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica (480-547)

Feast day: February 10

Patron Saint of nuns, convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain

My daily routine involves a long commute anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour each way. I have found this commute to be instrumental in sustaining my daily prayer life. Don’t get me wrong… I long for the days of my small prayer groups with faithful women studying scripture while the babies played on the floor, but I live in a reality that I must work now – inside and outside of the home. And keeping my prayer life well fed is a task with the ensuring craziness! The time on the road, my favorite Laudate app (aided by my Wi-Fi in the car), and my local Catholic Radio Station, all keep me in tune to my faith and our Lord at the beginning of my busy day. I am in the car to take the littlest one to Kindergarten by 7am, which has been the perfect opportunity to tune in and listen to the EWTN celebration of the Holy Mass. I listen to the readings and the homily and then switch to my daily reflections on Laudate. I intentionally drive almost 8 miles out of the “direct route” and instead choose the “scenic route”. This route takes me in the early hours of the morning past fields with dew, cattle feeding, and the huge Texas sky looming ahead waiting to welcome the sun. The sunrises have been nothing short of spectacular that, at times, I pull to the side and take a picture (knowing that it shamefully won’t look as good in digits as it does in person.) It fires me up. It ignites my spirit and a peace consumes me. I thank the Lord for this gift of time, scenery, silence and space every morning. I honestly attribute it to my emotional sanity! I can watch the sunrise and listen to the Lord’s Word. It is truly a wonderful blessing!

Yesterday, as I listened to the Mass on the radio, I was pulled in deeply. I reflected on what Father was saying about the life of St. Scholastica and I began to imagine her perfect love and fervor for the Lord that was so strong it trickled out to touch everyone with whom she was in contact. I have always felt a certain affinity to her, as we share a unique trait (we both have twin brothers). Her brother, St. Benedict, shared Scholastica’s joy in faith. Even he was amazed by the intimate relationship his sister had with the Lord. Father relayed a story of the two beloved siblings:

Once a year, the two would meet in a farmhouse outside of her monastery, since men were not permitted inside the monastery. They enjoyed each other’s company and would spend hours contemplating God’s plans, creations, and blessings. The night would come quickly and St. Scholastica did not want to say farewell. St. Benedict was preparing to leave and St. Scholastica begged him not to go. Her brother was firm in his resolve to follow his Rule and return to the abbey. She wanted to continue the spiritually rich conversation through the night and sensed her death was close. She began to pray fervently to the Lord, that He would “make” her brother stay for a while longer. At once, lightning and thunder began and a great storm approached. Tradition tells us that St. Benedict himself was shocked at the swiftness of her answered prayers and said, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused, I asked of God and he granted it.” She conceded that he and his companions couldn’t travel in that weather and that they should stay dry in the house. They stayed chatting until the morning light. It was the last time the two would meet on earth. Within three short days, St.  Scholastica passed away. St. Benedict was praying and had a vision of her soul rising to Heaven in the form of a white dove. He brought her body to his monastery and laid it in a tomb he prepared for himself.

St. Gregory the Great tells us that St. Scholastica was able to do more because she loved more.  I imagine that the Lord “heard” her prayers because she listened to Him. I imagine that the Lord “answered” her prayers because she had faith in Him. And I imagine that same love that St. Scholastica poured out to her brother was a direct extension of the love she always felt around her. Their faith in God made brought them closer, even if their chosen vocations forced a separation.
May we all find this love in our lives. A love that can bring a powerful storm and a love that can create a beautiful sunrise. The same love that lives in the Scripture we read and hear, the Eucharist we consume, and the family that surrounds us – both by blood and by friendship. Daily, the Lord provides us so much opportunity to see Him, feel Him, and know Him. Even when time seems tight, short, and chaotic, He stands ready to comfort, nurture, and guide.

May we all be like St. Scholastica, eager to pray with our “brothers” and faithful to trust our whole being, our plans, our loved ones, and most of all our time, to the One who is the Creator. May we long for holy conversation and share that with our earthly neighbors.

St. Scholastica, pray for us!

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