Fighting Evil? There’s a Summer Saint for That
By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 14, 2015 | In The Liturgical Year
I’ve been busy with summer traveling, pool fun, and a little minor foot surgery, but have not been immune to feeling a little disheartened by the headlines this summer. With news of Jenner transgenderism, Supreme Court redefinition of marriage, laws forcing people to go against their beliefs, the Confederate flag outlawed, white persons claiming to have the right to be considered black, and so forth, I just keep thinking it can’t get much worse.
Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year does not stress one particular part of the Redemption of Christ or his Paschal mysteries, which leaves room for various emphases on all aspects of the Faith. This liturgical season (or lack of one) is the perfect time for the emphasis of the Communion of Saints. Lately the Faith has been attacked on all sides, making us sometimes question whether we are living in an alternative universe where things are not what they truly seem to be.
In a way, Christians seeing the Light and Truth IS an alternative reality because it includes the spiritual and physical, and the big picture of eternity, not just earthly matters. Unjust manmade laws might be imposed and enforced, but it doesn’t change morality. Through this all the faithful need to continue to follow Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Although times may seem bleak, the Church holds up brothers and sisters, saints in Christ, who have fought similar battles. Just as in the commercial world for any need, “There’s an app for that” similarly “There’s a saint for every need,” and the Liturgical Year is particularly rich in the summer with saint companions who have traveled through similar trials.
Flustered by Revisionist History?
July 14 is the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint to be canonized. Here is an example of an Indian Maiden who found her Catholic Faith made her life complete. Criticism abounds on whether she stayed “true” to her Indian heritage, but she lived as a Native American until her death. She understood how there were holes and emptiness in aspects of her life until she embraced Baptism and was nourished by the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. Seeing her culture through the eyes of Faith made her a stronger Indian, no longer bound by certain superstitions and fear.
July 1 is the Optional Memorial of Blessed Junipero Serra, soon to be canonized a saint September 23 by Pope Francis. St. Junipero was a Spanish Franciscan missionary who established the Catholic faith in Mexico and California. Highlighting this saint dispels the Anglo-centric view of American history and emphasizes the helpful and protective role of the Spanish missionaries to the Indians, instead of viewing them as harmful and ruinous of their lives.
Upset by the Political Decisions of the Supreme Court?
June 22nd marks the feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, two saints who formed their conscience by Catholic teaching and followed their formed consciences, even though it meant death. Perhaps modern man fighting for God’s laws might have to sacrifice their life upholding Christian principles (as in the case of the Christians against ISIS). Thomas More and John Fisher can help wade through the political muck and intrigue to help us see and cling to the Truth.
Need Examples of Heroic Chastity and True Men and Women?
Last month the Church celebrated Charles Lwanga and companions who gave up their lives rather than be forced into homosexual acts.
July 6 is St. Maria Goretti, my confirmation saint, who also died in heroic virtue preserving God’s laws regarding chastity. James Likoudis shares several thoughts on why she was canonized. She is an example for us to see how teaching purity begins even for the very young. Mary Reed Newland shares some beautiful thoughts on how to begin at a young age to preserve chastity.
How to Combat the Attacks on True Marriage between One Man and One Woman and the Family?
We can ask for help and learn by example from these saintly spouses:
Saints Ann and Joachim are celebrated on July 26. They are the faithful parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents to Jesus. The Church provides us with Christ’s own family, showing the importance of the support and love of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The ordinary Consistory of June 27 announced that the parents of St. Therese Lisieux will be canonized on October 18 of this year. Blessed Louis Martin (1823-94) and Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin will be the first married couple to be canonized together as husband and wife saints. These are examples and intercessors for us as we live our vocation of marriage to help each spouse become a saint.
Is There a Way to Combat Evil In Our Daily Lives?
We can uphold Truth and fight these attacks not by any amazing feat, but simply by fulfilling our Ordinary Work in the most perfect way. By fulfilling our daily duty within our Domestic Churches we are building up the family culture. The family is being attacked, and the more we strengthen and provide examples of a true family, the more we present Truth against lies. And we can ask some of the summer saints for help in these areas:
June 26 is the Optional Memorial of St. Josemaria Escriva, who helped promote the universal call to holiness, in whatever vocation or avocation we live. That includes the usually hidden vocations of mothers and housewives!
And housewives have a patron saint to envy: July 29 is the feast of St. Martha, one of the saints of the Gospel, a close friend of Jesus. How wonderful to turn to Martha to work on daily chores, knowing that after Christ admonished her, she learned to put Him first in doing all her work. How many other saints can brag to have Jesus as a close personal friend, Who dropped by for personal visits and raised a brother from the dead?
Later in August, all cooks turn to another patron, St. Lawrence, the deacon and martyr, who died on a gridiron, joking as he was dying to flip him over because the first side was done. Restoring a Catholic Culture through the family can be done one meal at a time, invoking saints like Martha and Lawrence to help us serve the family with love, devotion, and a bit of variety and tastiness!
Saturday, July 11, was the feast of St. Benedict. St. Benedict formed his Rule in imitation of the family. His monasteries following the pattern of the family as Rome and the secular culture crumbled. Now as the actual family structures crumble, we can turn to St. Benedict to help us reinforce our domestic churches against these battles.
Above all, the summer shares Our Lady as our greatest intercessor and example through all these trials. She is honored as Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, and in August honored by the Solemnity of the Assumption, and her Queenship, but we also see her as the Mother of God, the homemaker of the Holy Family, the faithful mother who encourages us to “do whatever He tells you.” She is forefront in the Communion of Saints directing, fighting, nourishing, and advising those on earth.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all these attacks, but we are not left alone. We are surrounded by our cloud of witnesses and spiritual sisters and brothers to help us in our daily battle.
Got battles to combat? Yes, there’s a summer saint for that!
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