Homily for the Memorial of St. Scholastica
Within Scripture, we are told on countless occasions to always make our petitions and our prayers known to the Lord, that we should bring our requests before Him and to have the faith that He will answer and respond to those requests. Today we have two beautiful examples of women who didn’t let anything stop them from bringing their petitions to the Lord.
Our first example comes from our Gospel reading for this morning. In it, we have this Gentile woman who comes into this house where Jesus is, falls at His feet, and begs Him to deliver her daughter from the oppression of a demon. At first glance, the dialogue between Jesus and this woman is striking, if not upsetting.
This parable isn’t so much to show that the Jews were better than the Gentiles, but it does portray a specific aspect of the mission of Jesus. Jesus had come to proclaim salvation first to the Jews, the Chosen People his Father had prepared, and then to the Gentiles – that would be a task He would give to the Apostles. This woman then took the parable and turned it back to Jesus: even while the children eat at the table, the dogs are fed, too, by the crumbs. She was not turned away by an answer from Jesus that she didn’t understand; she embraced it in faith and responded as best she could. Jesus saw that faith and blessed her.
Our second example of Jesus answering a prayer request comes from our saint of today, St. Scholastica. One day, Scholastica was enjoying a visit from her twin brother, the future St. Benedict. The twins would visit each other once a year at a farmhouse because they couldn’t have visitors at their respective monasteries. The story goes that Scholastica, who felt she was getting close to death, didn’t want her brother to return home and so she asked the Lord to prevent him from leaving. As a result of that prayer, the Lord sent a severe thunderstorm that prevented Benedict from leaving. Benedict is said to have chastised his sister, saying, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.” The twins then parted the next morning. Three days later, Scholastica died.
The Lord wants us to bring our requests to Him, even if they seem a bit out of the ordinary or even childish. He wants us to have the humility to bring to Him all our desires and wants. Sometimes, those intentions can be quite serious and it might appear as though the Lord isn’t answering them. Pray anyway. Bring those intentions to Him anyway. Never stop. The Father always hears our prayers and answers them in the way that is in line with His will. Do we have the faith of these two women? Do we have the courage to bring the Lord our deepest desires? Do we trust that He will answer us? Let’s ask for those graces today and may we never stop sharing our hearts with the Lord.