Thought for the Day – 5 February – Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 5:21–43 and
Agatha, is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mount Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, people continue to ask her prayers for protection, against fire.
St Agatha gave herself without reserve to Jesus Christ, she followed Him in virginal purity and then looked to Him for protection. And down to this day, Christ has shown His tender regard for her mortal remains – again and again, during the eruptions of Mount Etna, the people of Catania have exposed her relics for public veneration and thus experienced safety. In modern times, on opening her tomb in which her body lies waiting for the resurrection, her skin has been found to be intact, a sweet fragrance emanating from this temple of the Holy Spirit.
The scientific modern mind winces at the thought of a volcano’s might being contained by God because of the prayers of a Sicilian girl. Still less welcome, probably, is the notion of that saint being the patroness of such varied professions as those of foundry workers, nurses, miners and Alpine guides. Yet, in our historical precision, have we lost an essential human quality of wonder and poetry and even our belief that we come to God by helping each other, both in action and prayer? And, far more than this, from where did it all come from in the first place and, you and I, in and by what power are we upheld?
Jesus Christ, Lord of all things!
You see my heart, You know my desires.
Possess all that I am – You alone.
I am Your sheep.
Make me worthy to overcome the devil.
(Prayer of St Agatha)