Living Parables

Saints, like Angela Merici, are for us living parables. They present alternative visions. They pay very close attention. They don’t see themselves as extraordinary. They make their way forward one step at a time, like a pilgrim. The pilgrim step in an ancient dance tradition is two steps forward and one step back. They don’t invite us to be like them, or to imitate them. They direct us, always, to the Divine, the Source of Life. Angela would say, to my Beloved, or rather to our Beloved. And so as we reflect on Angela’s life, and on the lives of other holy people, we do so with the intention of gleaning insights which may help us in our daily lives.

Saints call us to pay close attention to our world, our circumstances, to where we come from, to where we hope to go, to what happens each day and to what we have learned by heart. They challenge us to ask ourselves how often we skim along the surface of our lives, doing good deeds, treating people kindly, praying regularly and never getting too far below the surface because we are afraid to open our hearts too wide. In our world we are cautioned to calculate our risks, manage our assets, keep our cards close to the vest, look out for number one, use our heads and protect ourselves at all costs. How often are we sensible and reasonable in our approach to God when we are actually being called to be wild and foolish?

Angela, and those women and men we call saints today, learned how to open their hearts – to risk it all, to empty themselves so as to be filled with the Divine and then experience the adventure of their lives. That kind of trust is hard for us to grasp. Shouldn’t we really hedge our bets in case it doesn’t work out? Isn’t that the smart thing to do? Doesn’t it make good sense to protect ourselves in case God gets too carried away and everything goes off the rails?

Not according to Angela Merici who counsels us: act, bestir yourselves, have hope and confidence, make efforts, cry to God with all your heart. You will certainly see wonders…

"Live in harmony, united together in one heart and one will."