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Monday, January 12, 1998

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St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (Canada)

1 Samuel 1:1-8
Psalm 116
Mark 1:14-20

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loving the barren

"But Hannah was childless." —1 Samuel 1:2

As we begin this new year, we want to lead as many people as possible to Jesus (1 Cor 9:19). If we love both the Lord and people, we will give others the greatest gift of all — life in Christ Jesus.

However, we find that many Christians have not led or even tried to lead others to Jesus. They are spiritually barren. Many people ignore this situation, but this is foolhardy, considering that the Lord has commanded us and will hold us accountable to be fruitful and multiply (Gn 1:28) and to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). On the other hand, a few people blame barren Christians for not trying to share their faith in Jesus (see 1 Sm 1:6-7). This attitude of blaming and shaming is counter-productive.

Possibly we can learn from Elkanah, the husband of the physically barren Hannah. When Elkanah offered sacrifice, he gave "a double portion to Hannah because he loved her" (1 Sm 1:5). Those who are spiritually unfruitful need a double portion of God's word, prayer, and Christian community. They need to be loved into accepting and then giving God's love. "We, for our part, love because He first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). The love of Christ will impel us (2 Cor 5:14) to share the love of Jesus with all whom we meet. Love makes us spiritually fruitful.

Prayer:  Father, I will speak out of the abundance of love in my heart (Lk 6:45).

Promise:  "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel!" —Mk 1:15

Praise:  Marguerite's service to the Lord was so fruitful that she gained the title "Co-foundress of the Church of Canada."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997