Thursday, July 31, 2008
I just finished My life with the Saints. I know everyone read it last year...
It was a good book and I understand why it sold so many copies. There were few surprises in the individual lives of the saints he wrote about, St. Francis, St. Thomas, St. Ignatius, St. Joan of Arc, St. Bernadette Soubirous. I had heard their lives before. He also wrote about some people we all think are saints.... Dorothy Day, John XXIII, Blessed Theresa of Calcutta etc. It was good to be reminded of them of their lives and examples.
However what struck me the most was the last chapter.. the "so what" chapter. What do the lives of the Saints mean for us? What difference do they make?
Yes, they are intercessors.. does the fact that we think of them or are inspired by them mean that they are already praying for us as the author suggests... who really knows?
Yes, they are models of holiness, somehow they were able to take their personalities, their unique gifts, the circumstances in which they lived, and use all of these things to come closer to God and inspire others to do the same.
At first glance it seems very appropriate for us to pattern our lives after them, after the saints who inspire us. I am a Franciscan and I want to imitate St. Francis. However the author makes a very good point. I am not Francesco Bernadone, I am did not grow up in Assisi, I am not the son of a wealthy merchant. the United States of America now is very different from 13th Century Umbria, St. Francis can inspire me but I have to find my own way to God. I can use some of the same tools that he used but I cannot be a cookie cutter image of him.
God can and will use my strengths, my weaknesses, my hopes, my fears, my desires, my culture to call me to holiness and my road to God has involve all of these things. All of us, have to find our way home, and on the journey we can and will be inspired by the lives of those who came before us. We can count on their prayers and mediate on their lives however, each one of us has to find our own way to holiness. St. Robert who grew up in Cheektowaya and went to Bishop Turner High School, sounds pretty weird... There is so much to be done.
A couple of days ago I put up some clips of the author talking about humor in the lives of the Saints... He is quite the stand up comedian. Enjoyable
Posted by Fr. Bob at 7:16 AM