Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michele Szekely

3/22/2011 (3 years ago)

Le blog de la Bergerie (www.leblogdelabergerie.com/index.htm)

Don't be deterred by problems, don't be discouraged by rejections, don't be distracted from the goal!

One of the first lessons of the saints is: "Don't be deterred by problems, don't be discouraged by rejections, don't be distracted from the goal!  See - and seek - the good in the world. Be part of the sanctification of the world. Know that something else is going on and that it starts with each one of us".

The communion of saints

The communion of saints

Highlights

By Michele Szekely

Le blog de la Bergerie (www.leblogdelabergerie.com/index.htm)

3/22/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: saints, communion of saints, intercession of the saints, Michele Szekley


Samoëns, France (Le blog de la Bergerie) - "Befriend the saints!" is the best advice that someone gave me when I first returned to the Catholic faith. "Read about them, see what they have done, turn to them in prayers, respectfully and lovingly, and you'll see how much they will help you." This was fairly new to me since my understanding of the communion of saints was very superficial in the beginning.

But I followed this advice, turning to Saint Francis de Sales first (because he wrote so beautifully and so simply about loving God and what practical steps we can take to come closer to him - and because he is a local saint, from the French Alps, from Annecy, which is where I went to school). I kept finding so much encouragement and wisdom in the writings of Saint Paul that I started praying directly to him too, asking him to pray for me. After all, that is what catholics mean when we speak of "praying to the saints". We are joined with them in a loving communion in the Lord and they are our friends. 

At about the same time, I read a little book about Saint Monica that just transformed my understanding of motherly tears and love when they are permeated with total trust in God, so I added her as well. Finally, since I now live in San Francisco, it was very fitting that I turned to this wonderful icon of charity and brotherhood, saint Francis of Assisi! Here was a true champion of respect and care for the creation (centuries before our own green awareness) and a tireless peace-maker. A strong advocate of simplicity and poverty (which I find especially attractive as an antidote against hoarding and greed) Francis is a terrific role model for letting go of fear: the fear of the wolf, the fear of the leper, the fear of the other.

And this is how I found myself with quite a solid and remarkable quartet of saints. 

But once I had entered this new country, this "land of saints", I became aware of the lesser-known ones and I found myself making new friends again and again. Right behind the front line of the mega saints, there is a huge cloud of witnesses. and they are all here to help us! Do you know the names of Philomena? Or Ponce de Faucigny or Ephraim the Syrian? Gianna Beretta Molla, Edith Stein or Christina the Astonishing? Talk about diversity! Each saint has a unique charism given by God to flourish at a specific moment. And it was given to them for us, to help us grow in the love of God and love of neighbor. Once in that wonderful territory of the communion of saints, I understood better the implication of its premise.

It extends to all believers in Christ.

"Now you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God". (Eph 2:19). Thanks to prayers and grace, in turn it lead me to better grasp the Trinity. Jesus challenges us to be true followers (that is what being a Christian means, we are "little Christs"). It is a life long process and we get to test it daily in our relationships with our neighbors. It is just amazing to realize the links between all of us, the living and the dead. I thought of my own grand-mother who gave me the foundations of the faith as a child. The communion of saints is based on faith, prayers and charity. It's all about love and it's all about relationships!

It took me a long time to really understand this simple truth. I asked the help of the great ones who came before us (which reinforced the sense of membership into one family and which allowed me to see beyond the limits of space and time). I used "prayers" to reach them (and the process of intercessory prayers underlines the invisible bonds between us all and it increases humility and hope and patience, since it has to be done whether you see immediate fruits or not). "In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 953).

It dawned on me recently that there is a parallel in our current global connectivity and the communion of saints! Our recent achievements in new technologies and social networks, our progress in travel, transport and communications, have brought us to a new level of awareness of each other and of the global common good. What are we going to do with this awareness is now the challenge.

What did the saints do?

When I look back, I can see that the saints worked tirelessly in schools and orphanages, hospitals and hospices and soup kitchens. They took care of whatever was needed around them, wherever they were, in whatever means they could manage, and they were the first to know that it was all thanks to the grace of God.  We have two roads to reach them: on the one hand, there are the stories of their lives offering a wide spectrum of models from humble nurses and door keepers to the most famous scholars and founders of orders but the common thread in all of them is the encouragement and inspiration, healing and peace that they spread around them.  On the other hand, there is the fact that we have access to them right now through faith and prayers and it is an amazing and on-going source of aid.

Therefore I see hope for all of us.

There is such a sense of so many things converging today that I wonder what will happen when our minds and souls (and mouths!) will finally work in sync and what will be achieved. No matter the great failings of today, no matter the fact that there are still wars and crimes, pollution, manipulation and lies (whether they be the result of personal sins or structural sins), one of the first lessons of the saints is: "Don't be deterred by problems, don't be discouraged by rejections, don't be distracted from the goal!  See - and seek - the good in the world. Be part of the sanctification of the world. Know that something else is going on and that it starts with each one of us".

---

Le blog de la Bergerie is a bi-lingual (French and English) weblog edited by Michele Szekely featuring original writings and other inspired content. The goal of the site: 'A Catholic and French-American blog dedicated to sharing the faith in English and in French and to strengthen the friendship between both countries in the process; a place to find articles and commentaries on the family, on the faith and the world, on the faith in the world, on Sacred Scriptures, on the new evangelization, on book reviews.'Used with permission.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Saint Teresa of Avila: Virgin and Doctor of Prayer Watch

Image of St. Teresa of Avila

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

St. Teresa's whole life is one of simple beauty and fervent purpose; it is a life contained in Christ. She shows us how to live the same way through Prayer.On reading from St. Teresa, a deep feeling of her love for His Majesty envelops us; we begin, in a very real, ... continue reading


Femine Genius, Holiness and St. Teresa of Avila Watch

Image of Teresa of Avila was a mystic as well as an active and effective disciple of Jesus Christ. She demonstrates that the two expressions of the one Christian Way of Life can and should work together in our own experience - no matter what out vocation or state in life. This insight lies at the heart of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council's on the Universal Call to Holiness.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his ... continue reading


From St Francis of Assisi to the Faithful: We Must be Simple Watch

Image of St. Francis of Assisi

By St. Francis of Assisi

We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all ... continue reading


St Therese of the Child Jesus: In the Heart of the Church I Will Be Love Watch

Image of Perhaps one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church,Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) had wisdom beyond any formal learning which came from the depth of her interior life

By St Therese of Lisieux

O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its ... continue reading


The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading


Pope Cornelius and Bishop Cyprian are Examples for this Age of Martyrs Watch

Image of The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever. Amen.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading


Feast of St Augustine of Hippo: Defender of Truth Watch

Image of St. Augustine:

By F. K. Bartels

If there is any message which can be drawn from St. Augustine's life, and there are many, it is the message of repentance and conversion. This is a message the world desperately needs to hear today. It is one of heartfelt dedication to Christ as Master, Teacher and ... continue reading


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself' Watch

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading


Saint Clare Shows Us How The Path of Simplicity Can Lead To A Greater Love for Christ

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

We learn from St. Clare both the importance of giving one's life to Christ as well as the sublime, eternal rewards of doing so. When we leave the fleeting, temporary created objects of the world behind, no longer placing our trust in them or seeing them as inordinately ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter