St. Rita is said to be the saint of desperate situations. That is because she is the saint who teaches us hope. As we near the beginning of Advent, preparing to relive the great dawn of new hope and the birth of the Savior of mankind at Christmas, we can discover how St. Rita is a sure help in times of need, and can teach us to have more hope and trust in God.
Just as the shepherds hoped for the messiah and were led to Him, so can Saint Rita teach us unwavering trust and hope in God.
Why is St. Rita the saint of hope? Throughout her life, she constantly showed hope in God and even joy in the face of uncertainty and pain. Born near Cascia, Italy, in 1381, Rita wanted to enter religious life from an early age, but was given in marriage by her parents to a very violent man, at just 12 years old. The marriage was a very unhappy one. Paolo Mancini, her husband, was ill-tempered, extremely violent, and unfaithful, making Rita’s life a misery.
Still she trusted in the Lord. As well, catastrophe struck repeatedly during her life: Her husband was murdered by an old enemy (though not before his change of heart!) Her sons died suddenly before they could commit grave sin and murder for revenge.
Now widowed, St. Rita turned to her former desire for religious life. But the convent she had always wanted to join refused her initially, and only let her in when the uncle had made peace with her late husband’s enemies.
In many ways, Rita’s life was awful but it was also deeply beautiful. Whenever things got really dark, she always turned to God, displayed immense hope, and was always aided in doing good.
Let St. Rita show you this light! “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” spoke the prophet Isaiah about the coming of Jesus (Isaiah 9:1). The people of Israel were living in dark times, as did St. Rita for many long years. Thus St. Rita, like the shepherds, can help us see the “great light” when things seem a little bleak or even dark. She helps us understand that our true hope lies in Jesus.
Why Christmas? Christmas is a time of joy, of festivity, of togetherness with family and friends. We take time off work, we go to church, and we remember that God made Himself man in order to save us. St. Rita, by her sense of complete hope and trust, can help us remember that God has already come to save us! She can help us appreciate all the more, just why Christmas is important: It is the light that shines in the darkness.
So when you decorate your house and your Christmas tree, hang bright tinsel, light candles, and put up lights, remember why: The lights in our homes reflect the lights in our hearts; and St. Rita is there to help us kindle those lights.
Do you too want a Christmas full of light? Join a novena by clicking here, and learn during nine days how to cultivate hope with St. Rita, in preparation for Christmas. Let the great saint teach you how to cultivate the hope that kept her always faithful to Christ, and discover the joy of a truly joyful, hopeful Advent and Christmas. Saint Rita, pray for us!
This article is sponsored by Hozana.org.