Thursday, February 10, 2011

A subversive force for love


There are many examples of people, both ancient and contemporary, who have hungered for righteousness and proven themselves to be filled with the fire of God's love.

I think for example of Maria Skobstova, an aristocrat who became an intellectual, an intellectual who became a nun, a nun who became a subversive force for love.

She sought to make straight that which had been made crooked among the poor, in prisons, in insane asylums because she saw every human being as intrinsically valuable, as an "icon of God."

In 1942, when Jews were being rounded up in German-occupied Paris, Maria managed to organize the rescue of children who she smuggled out of the sports stadium in garbage bins with the help of garbage collectors.

She did not relent in her work on behalf of the oppressed even though she was aware she was under Nazi surveillance.

Finally, she was sent to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck, where, still burning with the holy passion and hunger for righteousness, a desire that had become a flame of love, she continued to assist and care for those who were suffering with her.

She nearly made it to the end, and even as Russian troops were advancing on the camp, she put herself in the place of another woman condemned to die, and died in her place.

Her hunger and thirst for righteousness was satisfied as she herself became righteous, and, like Christ, she become one who helped others in the cause for justice.

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