Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22
Saint Pius X, Pope (Memorial)
Wherever you go, I will go. (Ruth 1:16)
One of the truths about God that we learn in Scripture is that he is eager to protect the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. He favors those in distress. But how does he do this? He doesn’t just reach down from heaven and pluck them out of their problems. He uses people, often people who are struggling themselves or who have experienced past trials, to accomplish his will. For who better to help someone in need than someone who knows what it’s like to be alone or downtrodden?
We see this principle at work in the lives of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi is a childless widow, crushed in spirit. She even changes her name to “Mara,” which means “bitter” (Ruth 1:20). Her daughter-in-law Ruth has also been widowed and has no children of her own. But Ruth’s heart goes out to Naomi, and so rather than return to her father’s house, she opts to accompany Naomi when she decides to return to Israel. In the process of rescuing Naomi, Ruth ends up marrying Boaz, a wealthy and upright landowner. Not only is Naomi rescued, but so is Ruth—and she is brought closer to God!
The story of Ruth tells us that we don’t have to be perfect ourselves before we can minister God’s love. We simply have to be willing to offer ourselves as best we can. We may feel inadequate because we are facing our own challenges, but that may be just as God wants it. After all, the very word “compassion” means “to suffer with.”
When we give ourselves to help another person, something wonderful happens. By picking up that person’s cross, we meet Jesus in a powerful way—just as Simon of Cyrene did on the way to Calvary. Those who serve from the heart experience a reward in the service itself. Not only is Ruth a proof of that, but she foreshadows Jesus, whose whole life was one of service. Just as he was raised up to the Father’s right hand because he emptied himself, we can be too.
“Lord, you ask us to bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill your law of love. Fill me with your Spirit, so that I can bring that love to the people you’ve called me to serve!”~WAU