Saint Maria Goretti
Saint Maria Goretti is one of many modern saints whose testimony of life bears great significance for our times. One of the greatest praises said of her, and which perhaps sums up her true greatness, is that she dared to make 'love's bravest choice'.
Her choice was not simply to die to keep her virginity-as she had very little to choose about that. While many of the early martyrs would have anticipated giving their lives for Christ, the moment of trial came for her as a surprise.
But what made her choose to die rather than sin in the end was her fundamental choice to love Christ and to live the values of the Gospel no matter what it takes. Suddenly made to choose between living and sinning or dying to be faithful to her Beloved, her response was clear and simple, organic and spontaneous: "No, it's a sin! I will not do it!" It was a choice she has been making all this time and ultimately, she had but one choice to make: to give in to the irresistible demand of authentic love.
In today's first reading, the king asks the prophet Amos to stop prophesying in Israel but he would not-he could not because he has committed himself as a servant of Yahweh, always to do and say whatever God bids him to even if the people and the powers that be do not approve of it and stand against it. In the Gospel, the scribes are criticizing Jesus for forgiving a paralytic but Jesus simply had all the confidence because he had always been living in the Father's love.
In these times when the prevailing culture makes it very difficult for us to choose Christ, are we willing to commit to the values of the Kingdom? Are we brave enough to make the fundamental choice, the radical choice that transforms us in our very roots, to love Christ no matter what the cost? This fundamental choice will determine the small choices that we make daily. And when asked to make a choice, as urgent and sudden as the choice Maria Goretti was once asked to make, then we willl be able to make 'love's bravest choice' simply because of the love that has always been there.