Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin
(Wisdom 1:1-7; Luke 17:1-6)
St. Frances Xavier “Mother” Cabrini died shortly before Christmas exactly one hundred years ago. She left behind a legacy of charitable work that stretches throughout the United States. With great zeal she established hospitals, orphanages, and schools from New York to Settle. More basic still, faith working through love moved her to accomplish so much. Like Mother Teresa of Kolkata in the latter part of the twentieth century, Mother Cabrini was known as a living saint in the first part. She may be considered an example of today’s gospel lesson.
Jesus’ disciples stand daunted by his command that they forgive a brother seven times a day. They ask him for an increase of faith to meet the challenge. Jesus responds saying that they have more than the requisite amount. He says that the tiniest bit of faith could uproot trees and move them into the sea. They only have to employ it. Mother Cabrini had to overcome great obstacles in her life from a weak physical constitution to difficulties with prelates. But unwavering faith enabled her to coordinate resources on both sides of the Atlantic to improve the lot of millions of poor people.
We are wise not to underestimate our own possibilities. When we put our minds to a task and ask God’s help, we too can achieve significant results. Jesus will be with us to enlighten our way and fortify our will. With him as the object of our faith we can assist many.