Thought for the Day – 11 October – The Memorial of St Maria Soledad Torres Acosta (1826-1887)
Day after day, Mother Soledad did everything possible to provide for her Daughters’ spiritual well-being, her entire person reflected the gratuitousness and goodness of God. Her meek and humble heart was empty of herself and open to all, there were no limits of any kind for she knew that she belonged exclusively to God and she gave her life as a free gift without receiving anything in return.
Open and willing to carry out the divine will, she had a deep sense of God’s presence within her. She constantly lived in the presence of God in everything she did – her work, various circumstances, unexpected events, the most ordinary tasks. She discovered God in everything because her heart was immersed in Him.
She solved everything with the logic of love based on humility, charity and gratitude. Because she lived poverty to the extreme and because she was profoundly humble, she acquired the liberty of spirit to be equable and magnanimous toward all, making herself the smallest and least of all.
Her secret was simple – seek the will of God always and in everything – in her many hours of prayer, in her personal encounter with God’s providence, in her friendship with Christ in the Holy Spirit whose growing presence she perceived in her soul as it became more transparent and penetrating every day, impelling her to work in her preferred and beloved field, the sick.
Her life revolved around the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. Her nourishment was the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, from whom she received the strength necessary to endure life’s hardships with patience and serenity and to guide the Congregation with faith and unlimited trust in God whom she recognised as the ultimate guiding hand of the Institute. From the Eucharist Mother Soledad received the grace to give herself without reserve to her work.
Mother Soledad showed us that the most wonderful gift from God is to be able to be fully identified with Christ who was obedient unto death on the cross. She experienced the emptiness, the loneliness and the abandonment of many, but never did she lack trust in Him who can do all things. She knew that the Cross of Christ is the source of strength and joy and that there are crosses, that renew the life of the Church. She would exclaim, “May I know how to suffer”. “Give me light and grace to be able to suffer and endure more for You” (Letter 75). For her Daughters she prayed for “the grace to follow Him unto Calvary and to die crucified for love of Him” (Letter 75).
Today we can say that Mother Soledad let herself be led by the Holy Spirit who emptied her of herself so as to fill her with God. Flooded with His love, she caught a glimpse of new horizons in the Church and impelled by this same Spirit from whom she received the precious gift of the new charism, she enriched and renewed the Church with the new Institute according to the Gospel: “Go and cure the sick”. She revealed to us by her life the new and unique language of God: love. “The sick are the image of the suffering Christ and it is Him that we serve.” Mother Soledad taught us how to discover Christ in the poorest of the poor and the sick. “You did it to me.”