Thursday, August 26, 2010

Each of us should have a special saint


Pope Benedict encourages everyone to have devotion to a particular saint, maybe our namesake.

The Holy Father said that it is important "to have 'travel companions' on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints."

"Each one," he said, "should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth."
(See Zenit for further details.)

[Fr+John+web.jpg]Many people now do not have names that have any reference to saints. It used to be the case that Christians were given a saint's name or names at Baptism, and would take another saint at Confirmation. But names like 'Autumn', 'Bristol', 'Chelsea' while not being in any way anti-Christian and therefore not contrary to the provisions concerning batismal names contained in the Code of Canon Law, do not, I feel, help children to grow up with the idea of seeking the protection of a particular saint, or seeking to imitate the example of that saint.

I happen to know that I was named after St John the Evangelist and I therefore have particular devotion to the Beloved Disciple. My second baptismal name is Joseph, and therefore St Joseph is a particular friend of mine. I chose Francis of Assisi to be my confirmation patron. I have no doubt that these saints have helped me considerably throughout my life.

Maybe parents should be encouraged to always give a saint's name to their child immediately when they are born and these names be registered on the birth certificate. It's always a bit awkward suggesting a saint's name when the birth certificate has already been issued.


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I like that idea. I do not have an official saint. When I was confirmed, the priest was very ill with cancer, in and out of surgery, and I think it just slipped his mind to ask me, and, coming through RCIA under his off and on leadership, I did not know anything about Catholicism that he did not have time to teach me. (I was the only person confirmed in our parish that year, so there was no one else along with me who might have known.) I suppose I probably spent more time praying for him than I spent being taught by him. It's okay; his needs were greater at the time. Since my spiritual experiences have been reminiscent of those of St. Theresa of Avila, over time she has become my special saint. I have read everything she wrote that I can find and everything written about her that I know about. I like having a special saint even if I did not start out with one.

Rachel said...

Amen, it's good to have saints you feel close to. Mine are St. Francis de Sales, St. Faustina, and St. Anthony who always comes through for me even though I keep neglecting him whenever nothing's lost. And the Blessed Mother, but that goes without saying!

Just another mad Catholic said...

St. Philomena and St. Mary Magdalene