A Consecrated Life
Alexandrina da Costa was born on March 30, 1904 in Balasar, Portugal. When she was about 14 years of, three men wanted to abuse her sexually. To preserve her purity, she jumped from the window falling 13 feet to the ground. After this incident she suffered an irreversible paralysis. At 19, she was bedridden and completely paralyzed.
At first, she asked Jesus and Mary for a cure. She even made several promises if God would grant her request – she would be a missionary, give everything, dress in mourning all her life or cut off her hair – but no miracle came.
Slowly, God helped her to see that suffering was her vocation; that she had a special call to be the Lord’s victim. She was to suffer for the conversion of sinners. This was her mission for the salvation of the world. And having realized this, she began to long for a life of union with Jesus. This union could only be realized by bearing her pain and illness for love of Him!
She offered her life of paralysis as a “victim soul.” Worst, her pain intensified. It became almost unendurable. Every night she would be in fever; she couldn’t sleep. Even prayer was a struggle. Every slightest movement caused her pain.
Despite the pain, she would clasp her rosary and repeat in prayer: “this is for you.. for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” The more painful her situation, the more prayerful she became; the more courageous to be a victim.
For three and a half years, she would experience each Friday the pains of Christ on the cross for three hours of agonizing pain. For the last 13 years, she was imbued with the mystical phenomenon of being nourished only with the Eucharist. On October 13, 1955 at 51 years old, she breath her last. Her final words were: “I’m happy because I’m going to heaven.” Alexandrina dedicated her life to God.
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Luke Chapter 2 narrates the events showing Joseph and Mary as pious and responsible Jewish couple following their Traditions. Forty days after Jesus’ Birth, he was taken to the Temple to be consecrated to the service of God. This was required for every Firstborn male because God “owns” it in remembrance of the Passover. His parents had to pay “5 shekels of silver” (Numb 18:16) to ransom him back. Luke, however, omits any mention of the ransom payment because he wants to signify that the whole life of Jesus was consecrated to God.
His parents also had to offer two young pigeons as thanksgiving offering for the gift of a child. Finally, the character of Simeon was presented as one who recognized Jesus as the Savior of the world. This man spent his time studying scripture and praying.
We can learn 3 lessons from this feast:
1. As Christians, we have been consecrated to God
To the Parents: your task is to consecrate your homes and your children to God. See to it that your homes are blest and your children are baptized. By having your home blest, it signifies that you are consecrating your family to God. Your family truly “belongs” to God. It means that you are welcoming God to reign in your home.
Though baptism is a common ritual in many homes, let it not just be a cultural experience. Make it a spiritual and God-filled event. By having your children baptized, you are giving them a legacy of faith. When they grow-up, tell them what it means. Make them conscious of the day of their baptism for it was the time when they have become a “child of God.”
I checked my baptismal records and learned that I was baptized 22 days after my birth on June 21, 1968! Remind your children, too, of the date of their baptism and allow them to own their promises and personalize their consecration. In this way, God will truly reign in their lives.
2. Let us be sensitive to God’s coming to our lives
Jesus comes to us in many ways, most of it in ordinary circumstances. Let’s learn to recognize Him. Simeon recognized Jesus as a child. Alexandrina recognized Jesus in her sufferings. For us, in the Eucharist. Let us be sensitive to God presence so that our every heartbeat will be for God.
3. Like Jesus, we are to give glory to God and be a light for others.
The purpose of Jesus’ life was to give glory to God. This is the challenge for us in each Eucharist we participate: we unite ourselves to Jesus to give glory to God. Furthermore, one symbol used during our baptism is the candle. The candle gives light. Like the candle, our vocation is to shine and brighten people’s lives.
Let us ask from Jesus the grace of personalizing our consecration; be more sensitive to God’s coming to us and strive to always give glory to God and shine for Him!