The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Tuesday, Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin & Martyr, 09 August 2022 Ezekiel 2:8-3:4 ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
I just find it so amusing, dear God our loving Father, how we have always been fascinated since the earliest times in knowing who is the greatest?
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:1-3
How sad, O God, that in our constant search for who is the greatest, it had led us to more animosities, more destruction, and worst, more deaths like when Hitler caused the death of millions of people during the Second World War following his obsession in being the greatest. But, in a kind of poetic justice, it was during those dark years of Hitler's Holocaust when we had our great modern saints, St. Teresa Benedicta dela Cruz whose memorial we celebrate today and later next week St. Maximilian Kolbe who both died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
True greatness is in being like a little child who is open to listening and learning new things in you, O God; very malleable and teachable ready to become like what you would want us to become; like St. Benedicta who was born and raised as a Jew who later became an atheist in the process of her intellectual pursuits while a young woman but eventually converted as a Catholic by saying that "Those who seek truth seek God, whether they realize it or not."
True greatness is in being like a child who is docile and trusting in you, O God, very open and willing to "eat" your words that are "sweet like honey" as the Prophet Ezekiel tasted in the first reading. Let me proclaim your Word, O Lord, even if it hurts those closest to me like St. Benedicta: her mother was deeply saddened with her conversion to Catholicism while she also wrote a strongly worded letter to Pope Pius XI asking him to denounce Hitler's Nazi regime.
True greatness, O God, is to be small and weak, powerless like Jesus Christ on the Cross, suffering and dying with your people like St. Benedicta who chose to join her people at the gas chambers lovingly described later by a survivor who said, "Every time I think of her sitting in the barracks, the same picture comes to mind: a Pieta without the Christ."
Loving Father, there is no need for us ask who is the greatest among us because that is YOU alone; yet, in your majesty and power, you have chosen us to be the greatest in your eyes, in your heart that you sent Jesus to die for us on the Cross. May we always keep that in mind so we may be like him and your saints. We pray also, God our Father, for the victims of violence and exploitation these days especially in war-torn countries and impoverished sectors of our society that their plight be finally stopped, never to happen again in whatever form in the future. Amen.
St. Teresa Beneidcta dela Cruz (née Edith Stein), Pray for us!