Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin

When we hear the gospel for the feast of St. Rose, where Jesus exhorts us to sell everything to get the “pearl of great price,” (Mt. 14:46) what do we think we should do? Jesus does not mean to simply give God the excess–to make do with less, but still hold onto certain things. When Jesus says “sells all” He really does mean “sells all.” Rose of Lima certainly did that. She knew that she was supposed to be the spouse of Jesus, and so she made herself unattractive to any would-be suitors. She invited the poorest into her very home. She endured the mockery of her neighbors. Bride and bridegroom hold nothing back from each other, and so Rose held nothing back from Jesus.

The example of St. Rose of Lima challenges us. Most of us would like to help the poor, but perhaps keep them at arm’s length. Most of us would like to dedicate ourselves to Jesus, but not in a way that others would notice. The thought of giving up control and letting Jesus so totally into our lives can be terrifying. But if Rose gave everything she had and everything she was to Jesus, He certainly responded in kind. She was able to feel very strongly the presence of Jesus as she prayed and tended to the poor. The more we let Jesus into our lives, the more we will experience His presence. But what are we prepared to do for the sake of the love of God? God is prepared to come to us, but we must let Him in fully.

August 23rd, 2017