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Monday, May 22, 2017

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St. Rita of Cascia

Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
John 15:26—16:4

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"The Lord opened [Lydia's] heart to accept what Paul was saying." —Acts 16:14

Lydia was a dealer in purple goods (Acts 16:14). In that day, purple cloth was an expensive item sought by the wealthy. Thus, Lydia was a woman of some means, as she owned a house, dealt with the wealthy, and knew how to operate in the circles of the elite.

Lydia was also extraordinarily persuasive. She must have been a great saleswoman, and she "managed to prevail upon" St. Paul. It was not easy to prevail upon St. Paul, as he stood firm against most entreaties. However, Lydia played the trump card, saying: "If you believe that my conversion is sincere, stay at my home" (see Acts 16:15). It would almost be an insult to Lydia's conversion for St. Paul to have refused her offer of hospitality.

Lydia was a worshiper of God, but now she embraced Jesus as her Lord. Her heart was open, and when she heard the gospel message, God opened it further as she cooperated with His grace (Acts 16:14).

It seems that the church at Philippi continued to use Lydia's home as a meeting place after St. Paul left town. Only the church at Philippi sent St. Paul monetary support (Phil 4:15). Could those donations to his ministry have come about through Lydia's encouragement and persuasion? (see Acts 16:40)

Be a Lydia. Open your heart and home to the Lord Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, all I have is Yours. Use me and use me up.

Promise:  "I have told you all this to keep your faith from being shaken." —Jn 16:1

Praise:  St. Rita prayed, "Please let me suffer like You, Divine Savior."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 2016

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