So we are finishing off our summer vacation on Florida’s Emerald Coast, and I am inside waiting for the maintenance man to come fix our electronic locks. No worries–I volunteered for the job so I could catch up on blogging! Today I’m joining up with Micaela for another edition of 3 Reasons I love Catholicism.
1. The saints. First, have you heard about this yet? You have to read this story first.UPDATE!: The man at the crash was not St. John Vianney but a very alive priest instead!
Catholics get excited about stories like that because we believe that one of the implications of Christ’s incarnation is that God absolutely loves to work through us fallen human beings. Whenever He can, He does. When Catholics honor the saints and pray to them (by which we mean, ask them to pray for us), we do that not because we think the saints are minor gods, but because we think it is so amazing what the Holy Spirit can do through a person who gives him or herself over so completely to God.
2. The church (or liturgical) calendar. Every year the church follows a schedule of feasts and fasts that recalls the entire salvation story. The great seasons are Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, and in between those seasons, Ordinary Time. Throughout the year, in various seasons, are hundreds of smaller feasts and celebrations of biblical events and church history. It seems to me like early August has one feast day after another, but it may just be because this time last year, well overdue with Baby Teddy, I painstakingly combed the liturgical calendar as I played mind games with myself to try to make the baby come. Okay, today’s the feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6)–we visited Mount Tabor when we were dating so surely he will be born today. Okay, not on the Transfiguration. Well, today’s the feast of St. Dominic (Aug 8)–I’ll bet he’ll be born today and we will use Dominic for his middle name. Okay, not Dominic. The Assumption (15th)–I’m even going to Mass this morning, he has to come today!!! (He was born the 16th). 🙂
But anyway, I appreciate that on a regular basis, I have a chance to stop and think about when Mary visited Elizabeth and Zechariah, when Paul was stopped on the road to Damascus, or when a Catholic priest was martyred in Auschwitz (Aug 14).
3. So long as we are talking about August feast days, today is the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal. She was a married woman and mother of four children, and is maybe most famous for having had another saint as her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales. Spiritual direction is a tradition in Catholicism that I love. Now that I write that I realize spiritual direction is probably a tradition in every major religion, but here is my experience with it as a Catholic. You prayerfully choose a person who is wiser than you and talk with them on a regular basis about any struggles you are having in your spiritual life, whether it is overcoming a specific sin or creating a habit of daily prayer. If your spiritual director is a priest, you also usually confess your sins formally during the session. It’s not necessary as a Catholic, but it’s a great help towards having a richer spiritual life. I have had several different directors at different times of my life but don’t currently have one (need to fix that). I’ll leave you with the advice one of them gave me for dealing with envy, which is a besetting sin of mine. Whenever you feel envious of a particular person, simply pray immediately for them, “Lord, bless _____, let me hear about it, and let me be glad.”
Okay, maintenance says I don’t have to stick around anymore, so I am on my way to the beach!!