Saturday, November 20, 2010

St. Moses the Black (330 to 405)

   Each November, I check out a local Salvation Army store to find interesting things like old Christmas bulbs, holiday cards in different languages, and items that I remember seeing in stores when I was a child. And just recently when I was there, I was happy to see that many families are able to buy enough clothing to get their children through the winter. It most certainly is not a place to be shunned. There are lots of nice things to be found there.
  Furthermore, this weekend, I watched a documentary called "T-Shirt Travels" that showed how second-hand clothing in New Jersey finds its way to Zambia, Africa. Sometimes the Salvation Army doesn't even unpack it but sells it directly to companies.
  It was funny in that it showed the exportation of America culture. Children who have no idea who Kurt Cobain or ACDC or the Detroit Pistons are can be seen playing outdoors and wearing t-shirts with such images. To me, they didn't look any different than African American kids running around on basketball courts or in playgrounds in New York City.
  I think most people who donate items to the Salvation Army would be surprised to see where they might end up.
  St. Moses the Black, the patron saint of Africa, had just as interesting a story. He was born in Egypt in 330. He was a gang leader and a slave to a government official who dismissed him from theft and a possible murder.
  St. Moses the Black was described as being a tall, powerful man who terrorized people in the Nile Valley. One day, after committing a crime, he hid out with some monks. After being there for several days, he was so touched by their peaceful and calm ways that he converted to Christianity. Although at first St. Moses the Black found it hard to live a life of serenity, being a former wild man, he soon accepted it fully and became a priest.
  Whenever St. Moses the Black was about to be attacked by robbers, he'd bring them back to the monastery and convert them. However, it finally caught up with him when he placed so much trust in a group of bandits and they ended up martyring St. Moses the Black and several other monks in 405.
  His feast day is Aug. 28.

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