By Sister M. Sara Carlson
Our times are marked by great uncertainty and challenges we’ve never faced before. There are many different paths with signs pointing us in this or that direction. Have you ever experienced a fork in the road and didn’t know which path to take? Perhaps there are several paths that could be the “right one”, but we just don’t know which one this is. No matter one’s vocation in life, the path of the works of mercy is always the correct one to take, and Sister M. Emilie wants to lead us on this way.
Gripped by Love for God and Neighbor
Gripped by love for God and neighbor, Sister M. Emilie models for us the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. February 8th is her baptismal day, the day when she was inundated with the Spirit of Love who marked her soul with his gifts and graces. At one time Sister M. Emilie prayed:
“God the Holy Spirit, I beg you through our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt to increase faith in me, to strengthen hope in me, and kindle love in me. Bring to completion what you have given me in holy baptism.”A Life for God and People, pg. 58.
Throughout her life, these graces blossomed and matured through selfless service to others through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Whether helping a homeless child, comforting the sick and suffering when she herself was sick, or giving words of advice and wisdom to those in need, Sister M. Emilie showed us how to walk this path of mercy. Feeding the hungry and giving alms to the poor, she was a light to many in times of great darkness.
Sister M. Emilie Possessed a Warm Heart and Motherly Concern for Every Person
Sister M. Emilie possessed a warm heart and motherly concern for every person she encountered. At the same time, she could be strict and make demands on herself and others as a true educator who believed in the good of the other and knew how to cultivate striving for the heights of sanctity. Mercy doesn’t gloss over failings as if they didn’t exist. Rather, being merciful includes admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, and bearing wrongs patiently. A merciful heart never stops loving!
Being merciful requires great efforts, demanding an unconditional love that has a preference for the smallest and weakest in our community and surroundings. Sister M. Emilie would say, “The poorest, the warmest”, meaning that those who seem to deserve mercy the least should be treated with the greatest measure of love. She could be merciful because she herself received the mercy of the Father God to a high degree because of her own weakness and smallness.
Let us ask her today to intercede this grace for us, that the mercy of the Father may flow through our hearts to all those whom God wants to touch with his love. Let us live out of our baptismal covenant like Sister M. Emilie along this path of mercy!