Tuesday, February 8, 2011

St. Josephine Bakhita, Set Free by Love: How Not to Be a Prisoner of Our Past

This is the miracle of Saint Bakhita. There was no trace of bitterness in her. The cruel degradations and unspeakable moral outrages suffered as a slave, though never forgotten, had no hold on her. She to whom men had refused mercy persevered to the end in a ready mercy for others. She was not a prisoner of her past. We who are so often prisoners of the past, unable to let go, unable to forgive, unable to move beyond old hurts, do well today to seek her intercession.

Looking to the future does not mean forgetting the past; it means transfiguring it. It means re-reading it with eyes of mercy in the light of faith. We need not remain slaves of our own histories, chained to the evil things, the hurtful things, the unjust things that happened ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or seventy-five years ago. There is another way: the way of those set free by love.

Toward the end of her life, Mother Bakhita used to smile and say: "I travel slowly, one step at a time, because I am carrying two big suitcases. One of them contains my sins, and in the other, which is much heavier, are the infinite merits of Jesus. When I reach heaven I will open the suitcases and say to God: 'Eternal Father, now you can judge.' And to St. Peter: 'Close the door, because I'm staying.'"

Saint Josephine Bakhita, intercede for us that,
freed from the chains that bind us to the past,
we may go forward into freedom.
For each of us the path forward is the Communion procession to the altar.
The Most Holy Eucharist is the mystery of our liberation,
the healing of memories,
the Bread to children given,
the Chalice of undying love lifted daily to the lips of the Bride.

~ Fr. Mark Kirby;  excerpts from A Saint for Those Who Are Prisoners of Their Past ~

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thanks for posting this, it is inspiring and uplifting. This applies to me, as I am still carrying hurts and wounds from which I am trying to heal. It was Saint Therese of Lisieux who said on Suffering. The pain goes away but having suffered remains. God Bless you. Sr Josephine Pray for us!