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A New Prescription for Our World Today

Sources I have read online tell me that St. Rita of Cascia, the saint remembered today (May 22) in our liturgy, is sometimes honored as the patron saint of the sick and bodily ills. She was a very prayerful and charitable woman who lived in Italy in the fourteenth century, A.D. Now, in the twenty-first century, many people are asking saints and saints-in-process for prayers as they have never asked before, especially because there are so many unknown aspects of the lethal virus threatening loved ones. The readings for the memorial of St. Rita give us what seem to be good prescriptions for combatting many problems humanity is experiencing.
Let’s look at Philippians 4:4-9. St. Paul was not a doctor, but he is prescribing wonderful ways to combat anxiety. He encourages us to rejoice and be grateful as we talk to God. He lists what we should think about: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, praiseworthy things. We have his promise of the presence of the God of peace. So many of us can overdose on anxiety after listening to a news report! Time to change the channel!
Looking next at Luke’s Gospel (6:27-38), we see Jesus’ detailed how-to list for treating the deficiencies of true love among his children. He tells us to be generous, non-judgmental and forgiving. St. Rita was a such a generous forgiver: She even forgave those who were responsible for her husband’s death and worked to reconcile the family feud that ultimately was the cause of his murder. She worked hard to encourage her sons to be forgiving too.
So, shall we patiently start anew in our spiritual realm, just as we try to reboot our personal home and social lives? Jesus tells us to rethink the usual ways we might respond to situations. Change the indications on our prescriptions for human interactions. Be sure there is a high dosage of mercy in those relationships with others. Pray for the wisdom to be more selfless—even generous—in our expectations of reciprocity. As Jesus says in verse 38: “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

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