To Live Above, with Saints We Love

"To Live Above, with Saints We Love...": A Saintly Journey of Inspiration and Guidance

Remember that old church smell? Incense mixed with dusty hymnals? Yeah, that's St. Helena's in Wilmington for me. It closed down a while back, which is sad, but the memories stuck. That's where I was first introduced to the saints. But lately, I've been thinking about them in a whole new way.

The other day, I saw this quote: “To live above, with saints we love, that will be glory. To live below, with saints we know, that’s quite a different story!” It cracked me up, but it also got me thinking. We might put saints on a pedestal, but they were regular people, just like us, trying to navigate life.

Catholic high school fueled that interest. The friendships, the shared values – it all laid the groundwork for my faith, even if it looks a little different now. And the saints – they never left. It became this thing for me, where I'd always find a way to weave them into my life.

My home isn't exactly a saint museum, but there's always a saint nearby. St. Anthony hangs out by the keys in our kitchen – gotta find those lost things! And in the car, it's St. Michael the Archangel for some spiritual protection on the road. Plus, I have a whole stash of saint cards – some big names, some random saints I discovered along the way. They're like little companions, each with their own story.

It's funny, you might even call it a leftover childhood thing, but the saints stick with me. They're like a guidebook. They show me that faith isn't about being perfect, it's about the everyday journey. They prove that anyone, with a little help, can do incredible things. Seems like that quote got it right – maybe the saints we admire are more relatable than we think!

There is such a rich tapestry of saints, men and women who lived lives of extraordinary faith and virtue. From our earliest days, we encounter these figures, their stories sparking a sense of wonder and, perhaps, a longing for a similar closeness to them. But how are we introduced to saints? How does the concept of a patron saint chosen during Confirmation shape our understanding? Most importantly, how can we, as adults, continue to find inspiration and guidance from the lives of these remarkable individuals?

Catholic childhoods are often sprinkled with saintly encounters. Picture books depict them in vibrant colors, performing miraculous feats. We learn about their feast days, some celebrated with special prayers and traditions. These early encounters plant a seed of curiosity – who are these fascinating figures, and what can their lives teach us?

Confirmation marks a pivotal moment in a young Catholic's life. It's a public declaration of faith, a stepping stone towards greater responsibility within the Church. A significant part of this rite involves choosing a patron saint. This selection, though seemingly simple, holds profound meaning.

Role Models of Faith: Choosing a patron saint allows us to identify with a figure whose life resonates with us. Maybe we admire a saint's unwavering commitment to justice, like St. Thomas More, or perhaps their dedication to the poor, like St. Teresa of Calcutta. By aligning ourselves with such individuals, we find role models who embody the Christian values we aspire to live by.

Intercessors and Companions: Saints are not simply historical figures; they are believed to be part of the Communion of Saints, a spiritual connection that transcends earthly boundaries. By choosing a patron saint, we gain an intercessor, someone who can advocate for us before God. Furthermore, saints become companions on our own faith journeys, offering inspiration and strength through their example.

As we transition into adulthood, our relationship with the saints can evolve from childhood fascination to a source of continuous learning and inspiration. Here are some ways to keep these holy figures woven into the fabric of our adult Catholic lives:

  • Deepen Your Knowledge: Move beyond the basic stories learned in childhood. Delve deeper into the lives of saints, exploring their struggles, triumphs, and the historical context in which they lived. Numerous resources are available – biographies, documentaries, even pilgrimages to sites associated with specific saints.

  • Find Inspiration in Their Daily Lives: Saints weren't superheroes (well, kinda); they were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives of faith. Many saints kept journals or letters that offer glimpses into their daily routines, prayer lives, and struggles. Reading these accounts can reveal how they integrated their faith into the minutiae of everyday life, offering inspiration for how we can do the same.

  • Pray to the Saints: Prayer is a form of conversation. Talking to the saints isn't about worshipping them, but rather recognizing their closeness to God and seeking their intercession. Pray for their guidance in specific situations, asking them to intercede on your behalf.

  • Live Out Their Virtues: Saints are not just inspirational stories; they are calls to action. Identify a virtue a particular saint embodied – perhaps St. Francis of Assisi's love for creation or St. Augustine's relentless pursuit of truth. Seek ways to cultivate that same virtue in your own life, making their legacy a living reality. I have volunteered at a local pet shelter in honor of St. Francis and his incredible love of animals, it's inspired me to take action in my life.

  • Become a Beacon Yourself: As we learn from the lives of saints, we can become sources of inspiration for others. Share your newfound knowledge and insights about saints with your family, friends, or parish community. By actively engaging with the stories of the saints, we contribute to keeping their legacy alive for future generations.

Our relationship with the saints is a journey, not a destination. From childhood wonder to adult inspiration, these holy figures continue to play a vital role in our Catholic lives. By delving deeper into their stories, learning from their struggles and triumphs, and actively weaving their virtues into our daily lives, we find not only guidance and comfort but also a powerful reminder of the extraordinary potential residing within each of us. The saints may have lived in different times and faced unique challenges, but their unwavering faith and commitment to God offer timeless lessons that continue to resonate and inspire us today.

“To live above, with saints we love, that will be glory. To live below, with saints we know, that’s quite a different story" - What if we, as the saints below, all worked harder to be like these incredible humans we admire, I believe we can find a path to God in our daily lives.

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