Advent December 20th: Saint Ursicinus
Your embarrassments can lead to blessing
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
The Jewish teenage girl was pregnant. Told by an angel that she was bearing the Son of God. What would her family say? What would neighbors and the community say? Mary went into the hill country to stay with Elizabeth and Zacharias for a season. This story is one of the greatest stories ever. What was potentially great embarrassment became a great blessing. Know that this can be true for you as well. God can take misfortunes, and embarrassments and like a spiritual alchemist, can turn them into gold.
December 20th is Saint Ursicinus Day. Ursicinus, an Irish monk, traveled with Columbanus, and like many of Columbanus’ disciples remained behind to establish a mission in an area now named after him – Saint Ursanne in the valleys on the borders of Switzerland and France. It is said that he stayed high in inaccessible craggy mountains of the Doubs, and lived as a hermit. One day a group of shepherds found him living up in the hills. Being amazed by the wild hermit’s ways, they spread the news about him. His name Ursicinus was given to him, because the shepherds said that he must have lived in communion with bears. A rich man from the area invited Ursicinus to his house, under the pretense of wanting to hear him preach, and giving him wine, which the saint was unaccustomed to, the family began to mock him and call him a drunkard and glutton. Ursicinus cursed the traitor’s house and returned to the mountains. This turned to his favor rather than his discredit and the numbers of disciples increased. Eventually he built a monastery with a hospital for the poor on the banks of the river in a high mountain pass.
Prayer: I have failed, and I have stumbled. I have been betrayed, and I have been weak. Yet, in it all, O Lord, You have seen my struggles, You have been my strength, and You will take my failures, my stumbling, my weaknesses, and the handiwork of my betrayers and turn them all around to rewrite the story of my life. Like the young Mary, and like Saint Ursicinus who endured embarrassment to discover great blessing on the other side of their story, cause me to wait patiently for your redemption.