05 February 2010

A Witness of Inexhaustible Eloquence

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Agatha who at a very young age devoted herself to God and resisted any temptations to have relationships with men. If fact, one high ranking official had her arrested because she resisted him. His hopes were that Agatha, a professed Christian in a time when Christianity was highly persecuted, would give in for fear of torture and death. But she held firmly to her faith and prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, You see my heart, You know my desires. Possess alone all that I am. I am Your sheep, make me worthy to overcome the devil.” After being tortured the first time, she received from God a vision of Saint Peter who healed all her wounds. While enduring her final agonizing torture, before she died, she prayed: “Lord, my Creator, You have ever protected me from the cradle; You have taken me from the love of the world, and given me patience to suffer: receive now my soul.” Saint Agatha is often depicted in art as holding her breasts on a platter because it is said that one of the tortures administered to her was having her breasts cut off. At Matins, the Carthusians listened to a brief lesson about Saint Agatha written by Saint Methodius of Sicily. Here is what they heard.

The annual commemoration of Saint Agatha has brought us together; she is a martyr of ancient times who achieved renown in the early Church for her noble victory; she is also well known in modern times, for she continues to triumph through her divine miracles, with which she is daily crowned and beautifully adorned.

Agatha, who invites us to this religious feast is the bride of Christ, the virgin who wore the glow of a pure conscience and the crimson of the Lamb's Blood for her cosmetics. Again and again she meditated on the death of her Divine Lover.

Her robe is the mark of her faithful witness to Christ. It bears the indelible marks of His crimson Blood and also that of her virginity. Saint Agatha thus becomes a witness of inexhaustible eloquence for all generations.

Saint Agatha is truly good, coming forth from her Spouse in Whose goodness she shares, bearing the meaning of her name, Agatha, that is, “good,” given to us as a gift by God Himself, the source of all goodness.

What can be more beneficial than the Highest Good? And who could find something more worthy than a celebration with hymns of praise than Agatha? Agatha means “good” whose goodness fits both her name and her reality. Agatha, whose magnificent achievements delivers a glorious name while at the same time shows us the glorious deeds she accomplished. Agatha, who even by her name draws us, in order that everyone comes eagerly to meet her, and by her example teaches everyone to strive with her, without delay, towards the true “Good” Who is God alone.