During this terrible pandemic, we try to process a great deal of information as we listen to a wide variety of opinions. The result can be vexing. Scientists, technologists, politicians, economists, Hollywood celebrities, and others offer us a slew of ideas that are often inconsistent, confusing, and ambiguous, sometimes unhelpful, implausible, and gratuitous, and on occasion even ridiculous, preposterous, and dangerous. We wonder if there is a group of human beings who share the same voice, one that is clear, consistent, and comprehensive. Well, there is. It is the federation of saints. And we need to hear their voice.
In her delightful book, Saint-Watching, Phyllis McGinley states that “God may be dead insofar as theological concepts no longer direct political and economic affairs. But His heroes still interest the race.” Ms. McGinley makes an excellent point. These heroes remain influential, though not through our secular leaders. St. Thomas More is honored in the theater and in the cinema. The same can be said for St. Joan of Arc. St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Francis of Assisi are perennial favorites. St. Teresa of the Cross and St. Maximilian Kolbe are universally honored for their bravery. Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Teresa of Avila continue to be taken seriously by both professional scholars and ordinary lay people. So why does the Media and the various secular commentators fail to represent these canonized heroes?
Today, April 29, as I write this article, is the feast day of Catherine of Sienna. She was born on March 25, 1347 in Sienna, Tuscany, and passed from the world on April 29, 1380. She was canonized in 1461 and declared a doctor of the Church in 1970 and Patron Saint of Europe in 1999. She was the 25th child born to her mother and a twin, although her sister died in infancy. Her birth coincided with the outbreak of the plague in Sienna. Despite these extraordinary circumstances and hardships, she became an instrument of peace and an effective leader, resolving a contentious issue concerning the papacy.
Her words speak to us during this perilous time: “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” “He will provide the way and the means such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him; let go of yourself; lose yourself on the Cross and you will find yourself entirely.”
Saints speak with a common voice, one that we should hear and take to heart:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Anxiety doesn’t help at all. Our merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.” – St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio).
“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” – St. Thomas More.
“Therefore, you must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and, with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have to do for love of Him.” – St. Angela Merici.
“We must not wish anything other than what happens from moment to moment, all the while, however, exercising ourselves in goodness.” – St. Catherine of Genoa.
“Let’s stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him, ‘O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.’” – St. Boniface.
God is on control, not the secular world, no matter how capable its political and scientific figures claim to be. There is nothing to stop us from praying to the saints, who will lay our petitions before the feet of God. The saints do have a say and we should take advantage of that fact.