God alone

Yesterday I posted a short reflection on our Province website, for today's feast of Philippine. At the end of a bicentenary year which has lasted longer than a year, and in which we have said and written so much about Philippine, I wondered what she would want to say to us. So, using a photo of the new sculpture of her in the garden of the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis, I invited people to sit down with her, and listen to what she has to say. What, I asked, can we learn from her, to enable us to live, love and serve with something of her spirit and her courage? And, as we end this bicentenary year, what gift would she like us to take with us?

When I sat down to consider these questions for myself, I realised I already knew the answer. One of my sisters had created a calendar for this year with Philippine's words for each month - which has also been reproduced on our website. One day last month I had been wondering, as I periodically do, how Philippine must be feeling about all the lovely things we've been saying about her. How does this woman, who saw her limitations all too keenly and through a magnifying glass, feel about our praise, our citing of her example and inspiration, our desire to learn from her? And then my eye caught the calendar, and gazing at her words, as if for the first time, I saw my answer: God alone and the desire of his glory - nothing else matters. 

That was - still is - everything to Philippine, and she is probably so caught up in the fullness of God and so desirous of his glory that she has barely heard our praise. Or rather, maybe she has heard it, but instead of tutting and hushing and shying away, she has simply, quietly, done her utmost to direct our gaze away from herself, and to the One who must always be the only One, however wide and spacious your heart - and to whom all praise and glory belong... The God for and in whom we must live, and whose glory must be allowed to shine through our fragility and limitations as much as our strengths. God alone - not prestige or praise or success or any of the other things we can all too easily crave.

God alone and the desire of his glory - nothing else matters: that's what Philippine has said to me; what she would want me to learn and take away from this bicentenary.

What is she saying to you...?


  1. Thank you, Silvana, for listening so carefully to Philippine that you heard the essential message of her long life. let's pray for one another to hear and heed this message.

  2. Prayers for you, unknown to me but not to God...


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