Sunday, October 16, 2011

Serving Others

Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that we should render to Caesar (or the government) what belongs to him, and to render to God what belongs to Him. Religion is that virtue by which we give to God what is due Him. We live in his presence; we pray to Him and adore Him; we keep his Commandments. We also have a responsibility to the state, meaning to our political leaders and our nation. Patriotism is a virtue. So, whenever we get involved in the political process, mainly by voting and letter writing, we must think of the good of everyone. Often we think how a politician can benefit us personally. That is selfishness. Those running for political office then pander to various groups, promising them more wealth and an easier life.

We and political office holders should realize that it's not about us; it's about the good of all, about the good of our country.

Today also happens to be the day we usually celebrate the feast if St. Hedwig. God gives us the Saints, not only as our intercessors, but also as those whom we can imitate. St. Hedwig (1174 - 1243) was born in Bavaria. She was given in marriage at an early age to Henry Duke of Silesia, Poland. Although she lived in a palace and had all the accouterments associated with royalty, she lived an austere life exemplified by great charity. She wore the clothing of someone who was poor unless a state visit required something befitting her office. When she traveled, she would serve her retinue at table on her knees before she herself would eat. She cared for the sick whenever time allowed by washing even diseased persons. Her finances were always depleted because of her charity to the poor and the destitute. After her husband died, Hedwig went to live with Cistercian nuns in the monastery at Trebnitz where her daughter Gertrude happened to be the abbess. As her garb, she took a tattered habit. She did not take the vow of poverty, however, so as to allow herself to continue to disperse to the poor whatever revenue came her way.

What an example St. Hedwig is to those who hold any kind of political office -- to all of us! I do not think that any of our leaders are going to live the type of life that she did. But, perhaps they could have some of that spirit: a genuine, non ideological concern for those whom they are supposed to serve. May each of us have that same spirit too.

Father Stanley

No comments:

Post a Comment