Each saint is a unique and marvelous image of Christ fulfilled. Therese Martin or Gemma Galgani or Maria Gorretti or Agnes or Lucy or Cecilia--little girls. Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assissi and Bonaventure and Bruno--scholars and monks and mendicants. Or Francis Xavier and Maximillian Kolbe and Ignatius Loyola and Isaac Joques--missionaries and martyrs and men of steel.
GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - I have met some saints. I mean real saints, not just, "Oh, Mildred Horton, she's a real saint." sort of saints. I met Mother Theresa and bumped into Pope John Paul II once in the Vatican, but I've met a couple of other people who I'm convinced were genuine, authentic the real thing saints too. Both of them have died, and I believe they are in heaven fighting battles on earth just like the saints are supposed to.
These were living people who I met who are now saints, but I've met some of the other kind too--the ones who went to heaven long ago, and who you can make friends with here below. I'm thinking of Therese and Benedict and John Bosco and Francis de Sales. I've felt in touch with them. Known their wisdom and their friendship and their encouragement and their help.
In getting to know the saints it seems to me that they are the perfect antidote to the celebrity culture (or should I say cult) that so many in our world fall prey to. See, we want not just role models, but we want individuals who are greater than we are. We want superheroes, if you like. We want people who can do great things. We want people who are perfect who can be our models and our mentors. Sad children that we are, so many of us invest in a pop star or a movie star or a politician or a priest. We want that person to epitomize all our hopes and dreams. We want to live vicariously through them. We want them to be a superhero to us and stand radiantly tall as the model for us all.
But celebrities are shallow and superheroes are not real. Meanwhile, within the economy of salvation the good God gives us exactly what we do need: ordinary people who really have become perfect. Ordinary people who really have assumed otherworldly powers. Ordinary people who have become extraordinary people. They have become super powers in the universe by God's grace. More than mere celebrities, the saints have unlocked heaven and opened the door for us. By becoming all that they were made to be, they show us all that we are made to be.
Each saint is a unique and marvelous image of Christ fulfilled. How different are all the saints. Therese Martin or Gemma Galgani or Maria Gorretti or Agnes or Lucy or Cecilia--little girls. Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assissi and Bonaventure and Bruno--scholars and monks and mendicants. Or Francis Xavier and Maximillian Kolbe and Ignatius Loyola and Isaac Joques--missionaries and martyrs and men of steel.
These are the ones who are on our side, and next to them what is a celebrity? A pale counterfeit, a fake, a leaf on the wind.
Fr Dwight Longenecker is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish and Chaplain to St Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. He is also the author of Listen My Son-St Benedict for Fathers. -- a book of daily readings applying St Benedict's rule to family life. Visit his website and blog at www.dwightlongenecker.com
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. A former Evangelical, he studied at Oxford and was ordained as an Anglican priest in England. He was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 1995 and ten years later, ordained a Roman Catholic Priest.He is a prolific writer, sought after speaker and dedicated blogger. Connect to his website and blog at dwightlongenecker.com
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have always been a "do it yourself" type of guy thanks to my father. My dad is always a steady presence during my home-improvement ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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