Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin

The “hidden life” offers a very high level of sacrifice to God, for God Himself is hidden to our eyes, and those who would draw near to Him must also in some way become hidden from what this world sees as light. Even very “public” saints – Teresa of Calcutta, John Paul II – often had lives with depths of hidden suffering.  God Himself is shown as “hidden” in “dark cloud,” for His glory – which filled the temple at Jerusalem – appears dark and opaque to our earthly eyes.

Very little is known of today’s saint, Scholastica, but that which is known is brilliant. Her brother, Benedict, is the Father of Monks of the West: in some real sense, we could see him as father of the Christian West. Much more is written of him than of her. Of his sister, we only know that she loved him with a love that outshone his own, for on the occasion when we are told they met, he wanted to send her home and go to bed earlier, but she so loved him she wanted to talk all night. She prayed to God who sent a storm that kept her with him: her love was that strong! Her love won, and she died a few days later.

It used to be said that “behind every great man there is a woman.” That is surely the case with the greatness of Benedict, the public face of that hidden love of his great sister Scholastica, who is buried next to him at Monte Cassino.  And in that hidden love her heart opens onto the hidden cloud of God’s love, to whom her brother Benedict, the man, much more publicly first draws our attention.  God sees all –

February 10th, 2014