(Archbishop Liborius N Nashenda, OMI)

Do we really know that love to be the center of our existence? Our purpose is love. Our purpose is to love. Our
purpose is to be loved. It means that we can no longer go around in our daily activities doing things that do not
foster love, that do not bring about love for ourselves, for others, for our planet and for God. The more we love
God, the more we will love our neighbour. Lent should be a time to fall deeper in love with God who is Love (1 Jn
4:8). An assurance of none can separate me from love of Jesus Christ (Rom 8: 35), who achieved the purpose of
human existence, that is, love. Do we often compartmentalize too much of the spiritual life? Do we consider
Scholastica lived in a hermitage in a cluster of house at the base of Mount Cassino, Italy? Or did Scholastica think
that everything is interconnected in astonishing and mysterious ways known by God alone?
St. Scholastica and St. Benedict, who founded the Benedictine Order, were twins and were born to an affluent
family around 480 in Nursia, Italy. Scholastica was dedicated to God at an early age, perhaps she lived in her
father's house with other religious women until his death and then moved nearer to Benedict. Scholastica and
Benedict were only able to visit with each other once a year after they chose themselves to be religious brother and
sister. Because she was not allowed in his monastery, they met in a farmhouse where they visited and discussed
spiritual matters. As said by St. Gregory the Great the two saints spent their last day together in prayer and visiting.
When Benedict wanted to go back to his monastery Schoastica pleaded him to remain, but he refused. Thus
Scholastica prayed to God. Consequently, due to storm and rain Benedict could not precede thus Scholstica said:
“When I appealed to you, you would not listen to me. So I turned to my God and He heard my prayer.” These
twins are inseparable. However, in the case of Scholastica and Benedict, they sacrificed being together in order to
fulfill their vocations. The siblings may have travelled different paths, but it seems both led them to the same
destination: a life in Christ. In accomplishing one’s vocation, the role of the family should never be ignored. Sts
Scholastica and Benedict were witnesses to the power of God’s love at work in the family. As Pope Francis says,
“The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and
the light of the world; it is the leaven of society as a whole.” Benedictine tradition holds that Scholastica
established a hermitage about five miles from Monte Cassino and that this was the first convent of Benedictine
The spirit of motto of the Benedictine traditional Ora et labora = Contemplation in action captures the lesson that
St. Scholastica offers in the liturgical year – seasons with a listening heart to love Christ to share it with others in
action, that is, love in action. Intense prayer, fasting and the exercise of charity which are the three important
components of the liturgical seasons calls us to relate with God and our neighbour. It calls us to become sensitized
to the needs of those around us: our families, the poor in our communities, the lonely, and all marginalized. We
recognize the great invitation and opportunity to love God in and through those persons, honouring the divine
image in them. This spirituality grounds so much of the social teaching of the Catholic Church,— the preferential
option for the poor, solidarity, participation in the common good—and it realizes the complementary vision we
find in the symbolic relationship of Benedict and Scholastica. We must attend to both the direct contemplation of
God above all while realizing through action that love of God in presence and service to those we meet in need of a
“good word” each day. Just as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me (Mt 25: 40).
In the midst of responsibly fulfilling our many good obligations, we must remain attentive to and aware of the
ways in which Christ will approach us in the “least of his brothers and sisters.” The vocation we receive is good,
and our committed response to it is necessary to grow in communion with God. However, those vocations become
siren songs when we fixate on them alone and fail to discern God’s voice and presence in other encounters, when
we fail to “find God in all things.” Pope Francis says, “True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons,
something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual
support along life’s journey.” A woman of faith, St Scholastica preferred nothing to the love of Christ, also teaches
us the power of prayer. At times when we find ourselves helpless, let us be reminded that we can always run to
God who is our Father in Heaven. As the Scriptures tell us, “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).