Sr.S.M.Stella FSAG, .......April 2020


 ( It's originally A message from  Rev.Sr. Mary Stella FSAG, a Provincial in the congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Aloysius Gonzaga, to her sisters in her Province, through her Monthly News Letter, for April, connecting the events and Saints of the month. )

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My Dear Sisters (& Brothers) in Christ Jesus, 

Greetings of Peace, Hope and Joy in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

Happy Easter! 

Our children throughout the nation and around the world are freed from their examinations and tests. But the whole humanity is going through a period of test, right now, because of COVID-19. During this period of fear, anxiety, worry and loss, we still need to remember that "We are Easter People; and ‘Hallelujah’ is our Song!” 

The word “Corona” is originally a Latin Word, meaning ‘Garland’ or ‘Crown’. The Crown now, brought by corona virus is not a crown of Majesty, but a crown of Misery; not a crown of Gold, but a crown of Thorns. During this Lenten season we recall the sufferings of Christ. Jesus being crowned with thorns is one of the sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The whole world feels one with Jesus who is crowned with thorns. 

The soldiers crowned Jesus with thorns and mocked him saying “Hail King of the Jews!” But Jesus, through his Death and Resurrection conquered sin and death and won the Crown of majesty. He is indeed the king of kings and the Creator and Lord of this Universe. Without thorn there is no throne; Without cross there is no crown; Jesus bore the crown of thorns only for a brief time. Not only is this present Pandemic, But any Crown of thorns that we bear in our life is only for a brief moment. In Psalm 23: 4 we pray, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me!” We just walk through the darkest valley. We don’t have to live in the darkest valley. The crown of thorns of the Good Friday serves as a bridge between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. It is only a bridge. We don’t live on the bridge. We don’t build our houses on the bridge. We go through the bridge to a new space, to a new land, into a new world. 

St. Mark the Evangelist (25th April), portraying Christ as the suffering servant of Yahweh in his Gospel, addressed the early Christians who were suffering persecution, and reminded them that their crown of thorns will soon be transformed into a crown of glory like that of Christ. 

Saint Catherine of Siena who’s feast we celebrate on the 29th, is a Saint from the 14th century, who received a sacred stigmata of the five wounds and the invisible crown of thorns, causing chronic acute pain, when she was only 28 years of age. In her vision, our Divine Savior appeared to her with a crown of Gold and a crown of thorns in his hands and said to her, “My dear daughter, you may either choose the crown of thorns in this transitory life, and have the other reserved for your everlasting glory, or take the crown of gold at present and hereafter that of thorns.” Saint Catherine chose to imitate the example of Christ, and she chose the crown of thorns in order to gain the crown of gold, for eternity. 

Jesus is always with us in our struggles and sufferings. Just as he went through all his sufferings and death, as his crown of thorns for our sake, he will help us go through ours. Let us keep up the faith, for Jesus will give us a new crown of life and hope. Crown of thorns is momentary. Crown of Glory is for eternity! 

Our life is like the Holy Week. It is full of Divine and Human experiences. We can choose to magnify either the ‘Suffering Christ’ or the ‘Glorified Christ’. By our every decision, activity and behavior, we bring a crown for our Lord, either a Crown with ‘piercing thorns’ or a crown with ‘precious stones’; a Crown of Misery, or a Crown of Majesty. What do you choose to bring? 

St. Louis De Montfort (28th April) had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and wrote a book, “The secret of the rosary”, describing the method of praying the Rosary. The Holy Rosary itself was known as, “Corona Del Rosario”, meaning the crown of Mary, a garland of Rosary. These days, as we are unable to receive the sacraments and Eucharist, Let us make best use of our personal traditional spiritual practices, spiritual Communion, rosary and the word of God. 

Let this time of social distancing and self-isolation, improve our spiritual and emotional closeness. We have learnt to be more “careful” during this season. Let this season make us also more "caring." Let us stay away from each other in order not to spread the "virus". But let us stay close to each other in our prayers and through other creative means, in order that we may spread the "virtues" of hope, love, peace, confidence, and joy! Just like the virus, our virtues are also highly contagious! 

The second Sunday of Easter, the Divine Mercy Sunday (19th April), will remind us of what Christ Jesus told St. Sister Faustina; “ Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to Divine Mercy.” During this difficult times in our history, Let us surrender ourselves into the divine mercy and as St. Pope John Paul II insisted, say always with firm hope, “Christ Jesus, I trust in you!” 

Yes! "We are Easter People; and ‘Hallelujah’ is our Song!” 

God Bless you All! 
Yours in Christ, 
Sr. S. M. Stella, FSAG