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Saints give witness to God’s love

 

Faith formation for school-age children has begun at St. Ann’s for the new school year. The focus for this year is prayer, and the introduction of saints.

We know more about some saints, especially those of more modern eras, than others. Some we know only by reputation, but their lives are a testament to God’s love and their enduring faith.

Sept. 20 is the feast day of numerous saints, among them St. Eustace. According to tradition, he was a Roman officer, called Placida. While on a stag hunt near Tivoli, Italy, he had a vision of a crucifix lodged between the stag’s antlers; he was immediately converted to faith in Christ. He had himself and his family baptized and changed his name to Eustace.

His conversion was not without tests of his faith. Like Job, he lost his wealth, his servants died of plague, his wife was kidnapped while on a sea voyage, and his sons were taken from him by a wolf and lion while they crossed a river.

He was restored to his former prestige. But when he refused to make a pagan sacrifice, the emperor condemned Eustace and his family to be roasted inside a bronze statue of a bull.

Although little exists to confirm the stories, or even his existence, Eustace stands as an example of faith, even when facing the trials of life.

Maybe we’re not losing our fortunes to the empire because of our faith, but we may experience monetary difficulties due to economic challenges. Perhaps we face job loss, or shortened hours, or a change of employment.

Although we may not lose our spouses to physical kidnapping, we may lose them to work, to activities, to loneliness, illness. Sometimes, we lose them to lack of our attention.

And though our children may not be snatched from us by wolves, we lose them to their activities or interests, or they are snatched up by drugs or other negative behaviors.

We may not face being roasted for our faith, but we may find our faith challenged by others or by life’s trials.

Though we may lose all, our faith can sustain us. And the example of St. Eustace and others like him inspires us to hope. All is not lost, if we stand in faith, and persist in our relationship with our savior, Jesus Christ.

St. Eustace, help us to see that life’s challenges and trials do not define our lives. They are opportunities to turn to God for solace and help, to sustain us in our times of loss. But, like you, we have faith and we have hope in our savior, Jesus Christ, who has the power to save and restore us, too. Help us follow your example to stand strong in faith, to place our hope in God, and to trust in his plans for us.

Thank you, Abba, for the examples of so many holy men and women those who have gone before us and those with us still whose lives witness to your love and power to lift us from the depths to the heights of your grace.

Amen.

Religious education classes for school-age students are on Sundays. Masses at St. Ann Catholic Church are at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5:30 p.m. Visit www.stannslv.org for more information. Listen to a homily from one of the weekend Masses, now available on the parish website. Click on “News” on the home page.

 
 
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