July 1, 2010
I discovered this month's woman warrior, Montserrat Grases, while at a womens' prayer reflection at an Opus Dei center in Chicago. A friend of mine mentioned that she really liked her, so I endeavored to learn more about her. She died young - only 17, from cancer. She was born in Spain on July 10, 1941, which makes her a fitting feature for the month. She did nothing extraordinary in the eyes of the world, but she suffered with heroic virtue and sought to live her life so that she did "everything for Love. In that way there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in the little things for Love is heroism." (from St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way . This reminded me immediately of Mother Theresa's famous quote of doing small things with great love. It also rang the bells of St. Therese's "Little Way" that I find so beautiful (and difficult!)
One of the things I really like about Montserrat is the description of her temperament as "strong and out-going" which caused her to be quick tempered and argue frequently. Who cannot relate to that? However, "little by little, through daily struggle, she developed a tranquil and serene character." She is described as being interiorly oriented to the Lord so much that she developed a "generous docility to whatever our Lord asked of her." I don't know about you, dear readers, but I have had a very difficult time being generous and docile to what the Lord has handed me. I think in my own way, I cope with it. But I still ask God why, and sometimes I spiritually sulk a little - like an angry adolescent. So, I really need this little lady's intercession!
However, her true courage developed when she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1958. When her parents told her, she simply accepted this fact with more peace and serenity than her family and friends. When she was told her reply was, "I just thought I had to be strong. I kissed my crucifix and said serviam.... I am not afraid of pain because I think that if I'm faithful to God each day in what He asks of me, He will help me when the hard part comes." Montserrat practiced humility, acts of faith, hope and love and constant prayer throughout her life and especially during her last days as the cancer took her life. She kept little notebooks with her spiritual thoughts, and during the last days of her life she wrote, "I've complained enough, but I've fought. Some disheartening moments; but in spite of everything--joy." Perhaps that needs to be my new motto. "In spite of everything--joy"!
Montserrat Grases died on Holy Thursday in 1959, with her last words uttered as she looked a picture of Our Lady, "How much I love you. When are you coming to take me?" Hers is a courage that was manifested that reminds us that "sanctity is not something removed from ordinary life, but that it is the serene, cheerful, simple, and at the same time heroic, correspondence to the will of God."
*All quotes taken from Mercedes Eguibar's booklet, Montserrat Grases: Christian Heroism in Everyday Life, published by Scepter Booklets, NY 1980.