Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
January 4, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, the first American born saint.
Elizabeth Seton was born on August 28, 1774, of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family. She was baptized in the Episcopal faith and was a faithful adherent of the Episcopal Church until her conversion to Catholicism.
She established her first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808; in 1809, she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. After seeing the expansion of her small community of teaching sisters to New York and as far as St. Loius, she died on January 4, 1821, and was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. She is the first native born American to be canonized a saint.
In our Gospel, we find the first disciples encountering Jesus. They are curious about him because the Baptist has just described him as “the Lamb of God”.
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.John 1: 37-40
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
We can picture Andrew and his unnamed buddy trailing behind Jesus, watching him, listening to him. Finally they hazard a question, “Rabbi, where do you live?”
It’s kind of a loaded question. What it might really mean are things like these:
- Where did you come from all of sudden?
- How could you possibly be the Messiah if you’re walking around looking just like us?
- Do you go back to heaven at night or are you really one of us?
- Can we just hang out and find out more about you?
Their faith is tentative, hopeful and maybe just a little bit suspicious. Does your faith ever feel like that?
When we pray, are we convinced that God hears us? When we suffer, do we believe God abides with us? When we choose, act or respond, do we trust that God cares about our actions? Do we believe, in these and all circumstances, that the power of God is present in our lives?
To have that kind of faith, we have to “learn” Christ, to become as close and comfortable with him as with an intimate friend. In our Gospel, Jesus tells us how to do that: “Come and see.”
In other words:
Spend time with me.
Talk with me about ordinary things.
Watch sunsets and sunrises with me.
Tell me your secrets.
Let me tell you mine.
Laugh with me.
Be silent with me.
Trust that you are never separate from me.
If we do these things, even slowly and steadily as the first disciples, we will eventually say with Andrew, “l have found the Messiah” – and he is living right within my life!
Poetry: the calling of the disciples – Lucille Clifton
some Jesus has come on me i throw down my nets into the water he walks i loose the fish he feeds to cities and everyone calls me an old name as i follow out laughing like God’s fool behind this Jesus
Music: Come and See – Bob Bennett