The Saints in Our Lives
by AnnMarie Waters
Each of us, by virtue of our baptism, is called to holiness. The call is one to which we recommit ourselves daily: through prayers the sacraments, and participation in the life of the Church. As we meditate on Jesus’ call to follow Him, and to conform our will to His, we cannot help but notice what a daunting task this can be.
How can we, in a world that is increasingly secular, succeed in growing in holiness? How do we instill in our children a sense of the sacred, a sense that we are not alone in our quest to reach our Eternal Home? The answer has many parts, because our Catholic Faith is so rich. Let us consider our path to holiness in light of the saints.
If we are to be beacons of light in the secular murkiness of the world, we need to take seriously the notion of the family as the ‘domestic church’, and to strive to create and nurture Catholic culture in our homes. I am not suggesting that we transform our homes into monasteries. I am suggesting that we live our family life in harmony with the liturgical calendar of the Church, and that we invite the saints to be a part of our family.
In our family, we read accounts of the lives of the saints throughout the year. Whenever one of our Patrons’ feast days come up, we recognize it in some way. Sometimes it is a simple as discussing the life of that saint or as elaborate as making a cake and decorating it with a symbol of the saint (a bishop’s mitre for Saint Patrick, for example) so that we can have a little party.
I have always had a great kinship with the saints and feel a particular closeness to several of them. The loneliest times in my life have never been truly lonely, because I have always found great comfort and company in the saints. I have been favored with many prayers answered through their intercession.
While there are many fine examples of living role models for our children, there’s an abundance of heroes to be found in the ranks of the saints. What child hasn’t been fascinated by the story of St. George slaying the dragon, or Saint Joan of Arc leading an army to victory? Saints’ heroic virtue and steadfast love of God are sure to make a lifelong impression on our children in a way no Power Ranger or Super Hero can. While our children listen with bland enthusiasm for the umpteenth time to the slogan “just say no”, the powerful story of Matt Talbot’s victory over alcoholism may inspire and compel our children to temperance and fortitude in the face of worldly excess and temptation.
The secular world wants to downplay the sacred, the transcendent, even to the point of glamorizing evil. In union with the whole church, let us and our families honor those who have gone before us, marked with the sign of Faith! We can help our children to love and emulate the saints and to never forget that they are there for us as our advocates, our companions, and our example as we walk the narrow path of sanctity to our true home.