A good example is a woman who is probably unknown to many: Venerable Margaret Sinclair. She was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1900 and died in West London in 1925. At a casual glance her life was totally unremarkable. Her family lived in a tenement and she worked in a factory. But she tried to go to Mass as often as possible. Once her sister Bella said they were not holy enough to go to Mass so often, to which Margaret replied, "We're not going because we are good, but because we want to be good." Although she was engaged to be married at one point, she realized she had a call to religious life. In 1923 she entered a community of Poor Clare nuns. She begged for alms and worked diligently to help the poor. She eventually contracted tuberculosis of the throat to which she succumbed on April 9, 1925.
Margaret was declared venerable because of her simplicity and the love with which she lived. What seems to attract people to her today is her ordinariness: she had the struggles of ordinary people and therefore she helps us to see that we do not have to be particularly gifted in some obvious way in order to grow in holiness. However, she was extraordinary in her love for those to whom she ministered and also in her love for God. She persisted in following the call which she received without a thought of being in any way different than anyone else. And that is why she is so attractive: she lived in obscurity, but she loved greatly. She may not be that well known to us, but she is very well known to God. *
This is why Holy Week is such a celebration and it is why the thought of His suffering is so unbearable for us, too. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the gifts Jesus gave us in the Eucharist and in the priesthood He initiated that night. With every Eucharist each one of us in known to Him, and like Margaret Sinclair, we go not because we are good but because we need it to become better, holier. The gift of the priests who are empowered to bring the real presence of Jesus to us is indescribable. Without them, we would not be able to immerse sacramentally in the One who carries us with Him at all times. (Therefore, we must pray for vocations and pray for those who are already ordained!)
On Holy Saturday we sit in stunned silence waiting for Him to burst forth from the tomb, with the tarnish wiped off our hearts. The silence is nearly deafening. All we can do is sit, ponder what we have experienced, and pray. We reflect upon what we just did during Lent so that it has impact which we can carry forth as the fruit of our spiritual labor. In the silence we listen to our own hearts, waiting to hear His voice again, a voice which says to us “I love you” over and over and over again. It is the voice which tells us that He brought us to the grave and that we are forever carved into His hands and feet and most especially His heart. He knows us, He loves knowing us, and He loves that we desire to be holy. He never forgets a one of us. There are no obscure people to God.
Therefore let us live in the hope of things to come, but not without truly experiencing every step of the way of the Cross with Jesus. Let us remember that to Jesus we are indeed well-known. Let us be reminded that He died for us, yes, but not just for our sins. He died because He loves us. He died to take away our guilt and to replace it with glory. In light of this, there is no way anyone could ever be obscure to God.
©Michele L. Catanese
*For more information on Venerable Margaret Sinclair you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sinclair_%28nun%29
The first two paintings are the work of Bl. Fra Angelico. The first is All Saints and the second is The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The next two works are those of Fr. William Hart McNichols. The first one is a drawing of Jesus in the garden being comforted by an angel as He undergoes the agony. It is a particular favorite of mine because of the tenderness of the angel. It also says to me that while we are never obscure to God, neither was Jesus ever out of the Father's sight. The second of Fr. Bill's works is the icon called Weep Not For Me Mother. It can be found at http://www.standreirublevicons.com/all-categories/product/291-weep-not-for-me-mother
Finally the photo is one of mine. It is a reminder that after the death of Jesus a stone was rolled in front of the tomb which held His body. It is meant to be a Holy Saturday image.