Monday, January 24, 2011

Paula Gambara-Costa

                Our world today is full of disposable items: plastic containers, diapers, and electronics just to name a few.  Many times it is cheaper and definitely easier to just throw things away than taking the time, and energy to fix them.  I cringe when an item breaks at my house because I know I will have to throw it away and buy new.  Unfortunately our relationships are also disposable.
                Marriages end in divorce, family member stop calling, friends quit spending time together because they are bored in the relationship or the other person is boring.  Loyalties are severed due to gossip and other hurtful activities of the “if it feels good I am going to do it mentality.”  How many times do we choose the easy way out of a situation instead of choosing the holy way?
                At the age of twelve, Paula Gambara was forced to marry Count Costa de Benasco in the year 1485.  She became a mother at fifteen.  The Count was of the Hedonism belief that if it felt good he was going to do it.  She supported him even though he treated her like a servant in their own home.  Later in their marriage, he even moved his mistress into their home giving the mistress control of the household.  Paula actually had to follow this woman’s orders.  I know how I would handle this situation and it wouldn’t be pleasant.  Paula however lived her Christian faith.  I would think she had bad days filled with hurt and anger, but she didn’t quit.
                The mistress came down with a deathly illness.  Paula tended to her every need.  When the woman was at death’s door, Paula called her priest to the woman’s bedside.  I am positive without the Holy Spirit’s intersession I would never be that good of a follower of Christ.  Paula’s work didn’t stop here.  Eventually her husband converted.  God rewarded her after this when her husband allowed her to wear the habit of the Franciscan third order.  (This is an order for all people, married, single, young, and old.  I looked it up on the internet and I could become one today.  Interesting thought especially since I have always liked St. Francis of Assisi.)
                Blessed Paula Gambara-Costa is an amazing example of making a successful journey to holiness.  She definitely gives me pause.  I have been proud of my twenty-two year marriage surviving difficulties, but she humbles me because my problems seem so minimal compared to hers.  Also, I know I have not faced the barriers in other relationships in a holy manner.  At times I have bought into the disposable relationship philosophy.
                Blessing to you all.

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