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Life Promises

When we are baptized as babies, our godparents make promises for us. When we receive the sacrament of Confirmation, we renew those promises to renounce Satan, Satan’s works and Satan’s empty promises. We make those same promises during Holy Week Masses, and undoubtedly even in our own personal prayer time. We sometimes break those promises and have to seek forgiveness and make atonement. Did you ever notice, though, that when we make promises out loud, we can hear and feel anew our dedication

and zeal?

I got thinking about promises, pledges, and oaths, and the like. Brides and grooms promise to love, honor, and be faithful to each other. Doctors and nurses easily come to my mind in this time of pandemic. We have heard of the Hippocratic Oath for doctors, the Florence Nightingale Pledge for nurses, and similar promises medical personnel take to heart.
The saint whom we celebrate today, St. Camillus of Lellis of what is now Abruzzo, Italy, whether he had formally recited an oath, pledge, or promise, certainly followed a dedicated way of ministry, especially to the sick during the second half of his life. He did not find his true way until he was in his early thirties and was ordained to the priesthood in 1584. His early years had been punctuated with bad choices and self-defeating habits—notably gambling.
Camillus eventually founded an order whose ministry was devoted to plague-stricken and poor patients. Despite his own chronic foot infirmity—the result of a war injury—he was a guide and inspiration to others as he sacrificed his own comfort to be of assistance. He assumed the helm in hospitals. He also worked to send medical aid to wounded troops who had promised their service to their countries.
We can learn much from St. Camillus and from others who strive to fulfill promises they have made to God, to themselves, or to others. With so many distractions and temptations in our world today, commitment to any worthwhile cause requires focused strength. That strength is nurtured with prayer and humility. We have to be so careful to avoid those empty promises of Satan, those subtle, misinformed, persistent, little lies that try to sneak their way into our thinking.
We know that we serve a faithful God who helps us keep our living and loving promises.

Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you
nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that
he swore to them. (Deut 4:31)

And we have the assurance of the presence of Jesus at all times. He gave his word to his apostles at his ascension:

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20b)

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, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.
Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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