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


SamoŽns, 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

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


Memorial of Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: We are all Called to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Chains of Love Watch

Image of Alphonsus Liguori, is the founder of the Redemptorist community. n the constitution of the community we read these words: Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. (Constitution #20)

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since God knew that man is enticed by favors, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: - I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.And all the gifts which he ... continue reading


In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ Watch

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading


Was St. Christopher a real saint? A new perspective

Image of Is St. Christopher real? Only you can decide for yourself.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Is Saint Christopher a real saint? This is a question debated by fans -and detractors of the historic figure of St. Christopher. Christopher was removed from the canon of Catholic Saints in 1969 since there was no evidence he existed that could satisfy Church ... continue reading


Does your marriage need help? St. Rita knows...

Image of St. Rita is the patron saint of difficult causes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is the feast day of St. Rita, who is the patroness of impossible causes, especially rough marriages and cases of domestic abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Rita had a hard life. As a child she asked her parents to enter a convent, but they arranged a ... continue reading


St. Eugene de Mazenod who cared for the poorest Watch

Image of St. Eugene organized the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to care for the world's poor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today's saint of the day is St. Eugene de Mazenod, who was born in France during the era of the French Revolution and lived through national upheaval but cared for the world's poorest, even when the Church was persecuted. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Eugene ... 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, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skšnninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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