St Scholastica

Virgin (entered heaven in 547)

Dear Sally,

Hmm…  So you’re having trouble motivating your fellow COMPASS members, eh?  That’s a tough one.  Especially in February.  You see so many opportunities for building up the Chapter and being a more positive influence on campus, and they seem satisfied with keeping things the way they are.  Well, don’t panic.  I think God is giving you a chance to go one step higher on the holiness ladder.  If your reasons and your personality and your authority won’t move the others to do more for Christ, you’ll simply have to intensify your love.  Take a cue from today’s saint.

She was St Benedict’s sister (St Benedict was the father of western monasticism, remember?), born and raised in the vicinity of Rome, just as her brother was.  And when he built the great monastery of Monte Cassino (still around today, by the way, in spite of misdirected American bombs during World War II), she and a group of nuns soon formed a community for women not too far away.

He had the tradition of visiting her once a year.  At the end of his last visit to her (she was to die just a little while afterwards), she begged him to stay with her that night and continue their conversation.  He refused, since staying out past sunset would be a breach in his rule.  She buried her face in her hands and began to cry.  Right then, a violent storm broke out, so violent that Benedict and his companions couldn’t even step out the door.  Then occurred a famous little dialogue persevered for history by St Gregory the Great.  Benedict scolded her, “God almighty forgive you, sister; what is this that you have done?”  She looked at him mischievously, “I prayed you to stay, and you would not hear me; I prayed to almighty God, and he heard me!”  St Gregory goes on to explain that “No wonder if at that time she were more powerful than he… For according to St John, ‘God is love,’ so with good reason she was more powerful who loved more.”

So instead of looking at the others as if they were the problem, look first into your own heart.  Take the temperature of your love for Christ.  Is it fresh?  Is it vibrant, deep, ardent, real, personal?  Then do all you can to stoke it up – starting with redoubling the “heartfeltness” of your prayer, as the COMPASS commitment puts it.  Spending more time with the Gospels, with the Eucharist; examining your conscience to see if any attachments are draining away your love.

Then look at your love for your fellow COMPASS members.  Are you really concerned in the first place with what’s best for them, with their needs and problems and possibilities?  Or have you fallen into the common pitfall of seeing them only in terms of how they can help you fulfill your plans?  Be honest, be humble, and talk to Our Lord and Our Lady about these things.  I am sure they will show you what steps to take, and you will once again find that interior peace that comes from knowing you are doing what God wants you to do, which is exactly how St Scholastica made it to heaven.

Your devoted uncle,


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