Growing up, I devoured stories of the saints and martyrs. So much so, I had lofty goals and dreams of becoming a martyr, and giving my life for Christ someday.
However much I studied the saints, though, I missed out on the traditional Confirmation class as a Catholic youth.
This exchange between my mom and “teacher” took place the weekend prior to Confirmation:
So, the bishop is coming for Confirmation next weekend. When is Anni supposed to be Confirmed? Isn’t it time?
Deer in the headlightsTeacher:
Isn’t she already Confirmed? She’s been so active in the church, we just assumed she was confirmed!
Nope. So, how do we go about getting her confirmed?
Teacher (turning to me):
Meet me next Saturday for 20 minutes, and think of a saint’s name you want to take. Then, we’ll put you in the line to be confirmed when the bishop comes for Mass.
I was in junior high when that conversation took place. I didn’t think anything of the saint. I didn’t consider going back and looking through my saint books; I didn’t think to take the name of St. Ursula, whose name (not necessarily story) stuck with me throughout my childhood. I took my sister’s middle name, simply because I wanted to be like my sister. Needless to say, I also don’t recollect that 20 minute Confirmation preparation.
When I came back to the Church after college, the lack of preparation actually spurred me toward defining why I am Catholic – attending other faith services left something lacking, and I wanted to figure out what was lacking.
Both of my children have patron saints designated to them. Last night, I was thinking about how both children seem to display certain characteristics that I would imagine were part of their saints’ personalities, without the children understanding anything about their patron saints at this point in their lives.
As I was nursing the baby to sleep, I began thinking about my post on Sunday regarding Mother Teresa’s canonization and the saints. I then started recalling how, as a child, I adored reading about the saints. I imagine if the internet had been a bigger thing earlier in my life, I may have even done extensive research on some of my favorites.
I didn’t know about St. Augustine or St. Thomas More until I was in college, reading some assignments for my political science or history classes. I was actually introduced to St. Thomas More, as a saint, through a novel, and did rudimentary research on him, to figure out why he was considered a saint.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my early love for the saints. I have retained some of the eagerness of hearing the stories, but I have lost the passion for reading about the saints. When I have pulled out saints’ writings (i.e. St. Faustina, St. Theresa of Lisieux, and St. Augustine), I get easily intimidated by the writings. So much so, I have a pile of books waiting to be read.
I want to read the words of the saints.
I want to learn from their wisdom and guidance.
I want to have the love and passion for them I had when I was a small child.
But, it isn’t there. Not yet, anyway.
I am working on finding that passion and love for their stories again.
Not only do I want to learn from them, I want to be able to share their stories with my children in a manner that excites them to want to live a life for God.
As I look at my son loving his Transformers, Power Rangers, Paw Patrols, and other various action figures, I know there will be saint stories he will find inspirational, thrilling, and action-packed! And, the saints were real people, and many of them were boys once, too!
Therefore, I am trying to move through the intimidation of the “big words” and “big thoughts” that these radical thinkers had, to reach out and open the books they penned.
Who is your favorite saint to study? What about your favorite saint to read?