Conquering the "If only…" approach to holiness

Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia. The American Catholic Saint of the Day page for her shares that her life was far from what she had wished for, and far from ideal. Yet in every stage, she lived her Baptismal call to holiness.

You see, she married an abusive and promiscuous man because her father wanted her to do it. It was a difficult life for her, far from ideal, and it was a situation in which others would have lost hope. For this reason, she is the patron saint of parenthood and, along with St. Jude, hopeless causes.

Rita always wanted to share in the suffering of Christ, and so she offered everything up and suffered in union with him. She had a wound on her head (circular, as if she were wearing a crown of thorns), that lasted 15 years.

One tradition for this feast day is the blessing of roses. Story goes that when she was about to die, Rita asked a visitor to bring her a rose from the garden of her birthplace along with two figs. It was cold and no one expected that any flowers would have bloomed by this point. But the visitor went back and found a rosebush fully bloomed and two riper figs on a tree with no leaves.

Here is a prayer to St. Rita, which sums up her life in a beautiful way. We have so much to learn from people like her! Let’s seek her intersession that we might change our lives:

By your perfect union with the divine Will,
By your heroic suffering during your married life,
By the consolation you experienced at the conversion of your husband,
By the anguish that filled your heart at the murder of your husband,
By your sacrifice of your children rather than see them grievously offend God,
By your miraculous entrance into the convent,
By your severe penance and thrice daily bloody scourging,
By your suffering from the wound received from the thorn of your Crucified Savior,
By the divine love that consumed your heart,
By your remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament on which alone you subsisted for years,
By the happiness with which you parted from your trials to join your divine Spouse,
By the perfect example you gave to people of every state of life,
Pray for us St. Rita,
That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

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