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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha

"'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!'" Is 6:8

The few writings we have from Kateri Tekawitha are remarkable. How a woman with so little formal catechesis developed such a sophisticated understanding of what it meant to live an heroic life in Christ is astounding.

Struck down by smallpox as a young girl that left her skin pockmarked, she was also partially blind, not a great candidate for marriage in the Native American world into which she was born. Kateri seemed not to care about this, even as a girl, after she discovered  Christ and began to learn about his life and promises. Having lost her parents in the same  smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured, she ran away from her uncle's home and attached herself to a village near Montreal where a group of Jesuits had established a church and small community of believers. There she grew in faith in more traditional ways. She committed herself to prayer, fasting and service of others.

Kateri's life reminds us that having everything we desire or think we need is not as important as knowing Christ intimately. Whether like Kateri we bear with physical limitations or carry the emotional scars of a difficult childhood matters little if we accept who we are in Christ and see ourselves in God's eyes. When Kateri discovered this great path to faith, she never wavered and remains a model for us in challenging times and circumstances. Life is not first of all about health, wealth and security in this world. It is about commitment, acceptance and joy in the knowledge of God's love and care for us.

Today, ask to accept yourself as you are and see where God takes you.

What do you think it takes to live an heroic life in Christ in our day?

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