Thought for the Day – 28 July 2018 – The First Memorial of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother (1935-1981) Martyr
“The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run”
In Guatemala, Blessed Stanley spent his life in the service of his flock and, over time, he became one of them. He helped his people cultivate farms for crops, advised them in all manner of life’s problems and even pulled teeth for them when necessary. But he was more than a social worker; he was their father — the one who preached to them the Word of God in their native tongue, catechised them and their children and distributed the sacraments through which they grew ever closer to God.
The backdrop to his work and ministry in Guatemala is the political turmoil that wreaked havoc on the country in the 1970s and ’80s. Eventually, Rother became a victim of the guerrilla fighting and was killed for defending the rights and dignity of his people. His death was no less noble than his life had been. Though he had been warned multiple times that he was a target and despite having been home months before his death, Rother willingly chose to return to Guatemala to defend and remain close to his people. He wrote to this effect just months before his death, saying, “the shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we might be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the Kingdom.” (excerpt OSV)
This loving shepherd brings to mind the words of Pope Francis way back on 28 March 2013, just 2 weeks after his election to the Papacy, that our priests must be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” And so, we too, must be extending ourselves to our neighbour!
Prayer for the Canonisation of
Blessed Stanley Rother
O God, fount of all holiness,
make us each walk worthily in our vocation,
through the intercession of Your saints,
on whom You bestowed
a great variety of graces on earth.
Having graced Your Church
with the life of
your priest and martyr,
Blessed Stanley Rother,
grant that by his intercession
this humble flock may reach
where the brave Shepherd has gone.
Grant that Your Church may proclaim
him a saint living in Your presence
and interceding for us all.
Through Christ our Lord.
Below is a plan and facade view of the huge Cathedral Shrine, planned to honour Blessed Stanley in Oklahoma. – http://stanleyrother.org/shrine/