Reflection for Friday, September 1, 2000: 21st week in Ordinary Time.
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Maxmillian Kolbe: died foolishly in a Nazi concentration camp in place of a prisoner with children.||Francis of Assisi: abandoned life as a rich merchant to preach on street corners and do tricks with animals.|Mother Katherine Drexel: squandered her inherited fortune founding schools serving African Americans and Native Americans.|It's quite a list of folly: the Litany of the Saints. Almost everyone on it did something hopelessly idealistic, impractical, or even fatal.|They all took literally the message from today's passage in Corinthians, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men."|Credit this insight to the book, "Saint Watching" by Phyllis McGinley, then go out and find it in paperback or at your local library. You'll meet delightful people who bring today's readings to life.|But even if you don't find "Saint Watching," think of the unofficial saints you've known who lived foolishly wonderful lives for the love of God and other people. As my parting gift to you today, I introduce you to one of them - St. Aunt Annie.|Like St. Francis, animals flocked to her - everything from stray farm cats to her ditzy succession of parakeets named "Dinky Bird." She even protected spiders - "Charlotte's Web" come to life.|She was as magical with children as Mary Poppins. Besides raising a foster daughter, she took care of kids whose parents were sick and turned her house into an unofficial preschool/day care center. She once received a letter addressed to "Aunt Annie, Nebraska City."|Like the great saints, she was wisely foolish. Discipline-minded adults frowned on her identification with children. They could never understand why she valued grubby hands more than polished furniture.|The Aunt Annies in our lives teach us that you don't have to die in a concentration camp to be "wisely foolish." Just remember that grubby hands are more important than polished furniture!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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