What saints can you name? Do you know their life stories? I discovered an app for my tablet called Laudate. Apparently lots of people know about it, and I go to it just about every day. One feature of the app is the Saint of the Day. There are more saints that I never heard of than those I have, and each one has a holy and fantastical story. Yes – fantastical. That’s my way of saying fantastic (believable yet amazing) and mystical/magical all in one.
I had the unique blessing to travel with my family to Rome this past Christmas. Our son David is studying there, and he arranged a very thoughtful schedule for us, based in part on his favorite saints who are buried nearby. So on Sunday, December 23rd we visited Assisi and attended Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis. Buried with St. Francis are four of his “friends.” I know that because the tombs simply said something like “Fr. Angelo, friend of St. Francis.” Friend. That word stopped me. St. Francis wasn’t a tourist stop, but an actual person that walked the streets I was walking that day. My imagination started working through an entire “friend” scenario: serving together, sharing, building. My attitude changed from passive tourist to fellow sojourner on the road in just a few moments. I felt close to them and hadn’t expected that.
I prayed at the tombs of many saints that week. Laurence. Claire. Philip. James. Peter. Paul. On December 26th we attended Mass where St. Stephen is buried – it was his feast day. I didn’t pray “to” them – never that. I asked them to pray with me and to approach the Lord for me with my thoughts and requests. In those moments these saints became my friends, too.
Standing within a few feet of them, I wondered how they had the courage to live as they did. Perhaps they did as we try to do – live life as it comes, growing in faith and love, allowing the Holy Spirit to change us, making decisions along the way that lead us to other decisions and responsibilities. Mother Teresa has given us so many beautiful thoughts, including this one.
“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” -Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
How do we answer our calls? Extraordinarily? Friends, pray with me for the insight and wisdom to answer our calls in extraordinary ways, and with more than ordinary love.
Photos by me! Or, someone in my family. Katelyn wants credit and I really don’t remember who had the camera. 🙂