How well do you know the saints?

St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day the church celebrates this week (iStock).

This week we celebrate the feast days of some of the greatest saints in the church. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome and my favorite of all saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. So here is a question to think about: What part do the saints play in your life? For some of us, they have always been an important aspect of our spiritual lives. We see them as the church sees them: as our patrons and companions. In other words, we ask them for their prayers from their posts in heaven, and they provide us with models of the Christian life. As the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner once said, a saint teaches us to be a Christian in “this particular way.” But for some of us devotion to the saints may seem a bit weird, kind of antiquated or even strange. For people in that category I usually say: “Get to know them first as people.” 

Advertisement

After all, none of the saints, except the Blessed Virgin Mary, was perfect. They all sinned, they all made mistakes, they all struggled. Read a good biography of a saint whose story appeals to you. Understand them within the context of their times, of course, but try to find in them a model. Then you might find that you feel close to them and start to pray to them and ask for their prayers. And they’ll be ready for you. They’ve been waiting a long time to hear from you.

[Explore all of Father James Martin, SJ’s articles]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Todd Witherell
2 months ago

St. Therese, si'l vous plait

6:37 has passed
now it's 6:38
humility is honesty
the little way, not the Great

Todd Witherell
2 months ago

"If God would have abandoned me during my time of trial, I would have become a little demon."

- St. Therese of Lisieux

Todd Witherell
2 months ago

"Beware the quiet man, for when others speak - he listens. When others act - he plans. And when others rest - he strikes."

- Anonymous

"And when others show up to introduce Metallica on the Colbert Report - he watches."

- Todd Witherell

Advertisement

The latest from america

The story of Catholics and the AIDS epidemic in the United States is often told as one of “gays versus the church.” But the reality was much more complicated.
JesuiticalDecember 06, 2019
Join us as we offer daily scripture reflections for the entire Advent season.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 06, 2019
“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”
Thomas J. ReeseDecember 05, 2019
Jesuit Father Arturo Sosa Abascal (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
Father Sosa said the Society of Jesus will also seek to respond to “the concrete requests of Pope Francis” in support of his work for the renewal of the church and its structures.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 05, 2019