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Lessons From Rosa View Comments
By Colleen Shaddox

Colleen Shaddox and her trusted companion, Rosa.
“I love because I love,” wrote St. Bernard of Clairvaux. “I love in order that I may love.” How appropriate that the mystic shares a name with a dog breed.

As a Christian, I know that love is a gift to be given with no thought of reward. But I confess I’ve tended to love those who love me back and are kind to me—an inferior variety of love that Jesus relegated to “tax collectors.” I’ve always admired dogs because they love with abandon, not expectation.

That is, until I met Rosa. We arrived at the shelter, amazed that this cute puppy wasn’t adopted at its last event. Yet here she was: four white paws and a natural dark-chocolate eyeliner that made her look inexpressibly soulful.

“Why did her sister get adopted and not her?” I asked. The woman who runs the place speculated that it was because this pup did not scamper up to people with a plea to “love me” on her face.

Indeed, she ignored us. She preferred to munch on the phone books in the shelter office. I sat on the floor and waited. Eventually, she crawled into my lap and began chewing on the buttons of my coat. I was besotted.

Rosa quickly proved herself the smartest dog I’ve ever had. For example, a dog confronted with two tennis balls will usually puzzle over which one to choose and switch back and forth. Rosa takes one in her mouth and uses it as a tool to push the second along. If she had language and opposable thumbs, she’d be holding my leash.

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Colleen Shaddox is a writer, a wife, and a mother of an 18- year-old. She lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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