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Who's Your Neighbor? View Comments
By Robert I. Craig

MY WIFE HAS a favorite Gospel story. It’s the one about the woman who, in Matthew and Mark, throws herself down on the ground in front of Jesus and pleads for help, crying out, “My daughter is cruelly tormented by the devil!”

My wife and I have teenaged daughters. We can relate.

All of us can relate to Gospel characters. Their stories could be our own. One story in Luke strikes a chord in me. It’s the one in which a man goes out on a limb to help another man in trouble. The man helps without thought of receiving any thanks, but we’ve been thanking him ever since for his example of love. We know him as the Good Samaritan.

I think of the Good Samaritan often. I imagine his courage each time I cross paths with a man who, despite being the least likely person I’d have thought to have done so, came running one night out of the blue to help me. His appearance at my door gave me immeasurable comfort. It also answered the question posed in Luke 10:29 where a lawyer tries publicly to trip up the Lord. “And who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asks.

This question is as relevant today as it was two millennia ago when asked originally. Yes, our neighbor is on the side of the road, bleeding, as Jesus goes on to describe the victim in his parable. But in our case today, in the current millennium, he’s also the guy right next door.

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Robert I. Craig was a stay-at-home dad for 20 years. He and his wife, Ellen, have been married for 27 years. Their two daughters attend Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

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Rose of Lima: The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification. 
<p>She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena (April 29) as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends. </p><p>The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns. </p><p>When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude. </p><p>During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace. </p><p>What might have been a merely eccentric life was transfigured from the inside. If we remember some unusual penances, we should also remember the greatest thing about Rose: a love of God so ardent that it withstood ridicule from without, violent temptation and lengthy periods of sickness. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, open our minds and our hearts so we can be more understanding of the obstacles faced by so many hurting people. Help us to be more like Jesus in accepting people for who are they are and not for what we think they should be. We ask for this grace through Jesus, your Son and our model. Amen.

 
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