Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Of Saints and Souls and Earthly Woes: “Viva Cristo Rey!”

By Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

(These Stone Walls) ...Patron saints really are advocates in Heaven, but the story is bigger than that. To have patron saints means something deeper than just hoping to share in the graces for which they suffered. It means to be in a relationship with them as fellow travelers. They can advocate not only for us, but for the souls of those we entrust to their intercession. In the Presence of God, they are more like a lens for us, and not dispensers of grace in their own right. The Protestant critique that Catholics “pray to saints” has it all wrong.

To be in a relationship with patron saints means much more than just waiting for their help in times of need. I have learned a few humbling things this year about the dynamics of a relationship with Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Padre Pio. I have tried to consciously cope with painful things the way they did, and over time they opened my eyes about what it means to have their advocacy. It’s an advocacy I would not need if I were even remotely like them. It’s an advocacy I need very much, and can no longer live without.

I don’t think we choose the saints who will be our patrons and advocates in Heaven. I think they choose us. In ways both subtle and profound, they interject their presence in our lives. I came into this prison over 18 years ago knowing little to nothing of Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Padre Pio. But in multiple posts on These Stone Walls I’ve written of how they made their presence here known. And in that process, I’ve learned a lot about why they’re now in my life. It is not because they look upon me and see their own paths. It’s because they look upon me and see how much and how easily I stray from their paths.

One day earlier this month, I discovered something about the intervention of these saints that is at the same time humbling and deeply consoling. It’s consoling because it affirms for me that these modern saints have made themselves a part of what I must bear each day. It’s humbling because that fact requires shedding all my notions that their intercession means a rescue from the crosses I’d just as soon not carry... (continued)


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