Patron Saints….

March 24, 2014

I spent the first couple decades of my life as a Catholic. That was the dogma that my parents chose for me. They, for the most part, were not “real” Catholics but for whatever reason they thought that we kids should be.  One of the things I thought was kind of neat about being a Catholic was that there seemed to be a patron saint for almost anything you could think of.

In some ways the Catholic church is kind of like their Jewish bretheran in that they have a strict list of rules for things like making saints as the Jews have for eating food. Here is some of Wikipedia says about that:

2014-03-16_11-17-46A patron saint or a patron hallow is a saint who in some Christian denominations is regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person. Patron saints, having already transcended to the metaphysical, are believed to be able to intercede effectively for the needs of their special charges.

The words give you an indication just how serious those folks are about their saints. Just having people say “isn’t he a saint” doesn’t hack it. They got rule after rule about the process. I guess that kind of makes sense as they got to have something for all those cardinals and such to do in Vatican City.

One of my personal favorite patron saints is Jude – The Apostle. He is the patron saint of lost causes.  If I am anything it is an advocate for many lost causes. Things like gun control and universal healthcare for the U.S. are among that list. Jude who is generally identified with the name Thaddeus in gospel accounts but he was also identified by a half-dozen other names and some even claimed he was a brother of Jesus.  Maybe just trying to figure out his real name was a lost cause? 🙂  Identifying just who is who seems to be a major problem with many of these folks when it come to things in the Bible. Too many fingers in the pot I suppose.

In my studies I never really understood how he came to be attached to lost causes but I did find out that he is also the patron saint for the Chicago Police Department and a Rio de Janeiro soccer team.  One of his namesakes is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families since its founding in 1962.

Like almost all patron saints he has his own feast day on October 28.  Since that is also my birthday maybe that is another reason he is my favorite. He has a long standard prayer that you are supposed to recite when you pray to him.  Catholics are very good at putting people between us and God but at least they give us standard prayers to pray to them with.  Lord knows we would probably have problems making up our own words. 🙂

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3 responses to Patron Saints….

  1. 

    Catholics do believe that at Baptism (any Baptism that invokes the belief in Trinity) we enter the communion of saints. We then spend the time on the Earth as either living our sainthood or choosing to leave (which is where free choice comes in). Some, mistakingly, think that Catholics believe that works get us to heaven. It is our works that show the power of the sainthood and communion with God (or not).
    Yes, RJ, Catholics believe that YOU are a saint 🙂 You can shed the initiation only by choice. You live or leave your sainthood (and you are living it). Catholics also believe that in order to avail yourself to a higher level of community of saints on the Earth you need Communion with Christ through the Eucharist, but that is a different story 🙂
    Pope Francis opens the teachings further by stating communion of saints is not limited to those who are not Baptized by water. I agree completely!

    There are some people whom the Catholic Church recognizes because of their outstanding value to the community as an “Saint”. They are examples and role models for the people of their time.Yes, there is a very high standard. It is believed that these souls do not do “the work for themselves”, but intercede on our behalf with the Lord. I believe all of our souls in heaven work to help us be better saints.
    Catholics are not required to talk (pray) through them- but some people are more comfortable doing so. The way it was best described to me was that – in my human mind- it is probably easier for my Congressman to get an urgent message to the President then me.
    Rote prayer is simply a way to open communication- get you comfortable. It starts the conversation, like the first few things you say to a stranger when you first meet them. I do not use rote prayer when talking to my chosen Saints. I am bad at saying the “polite things” to begin a conversation with my good friends as well 😉

    I, personally, need guides and role models to do the best I can with what I have been given. I often talk to Mary, my dad and St Gerard. I talk to dead people’s souls for community does not end at human death. Mother Teresa and Mother Elizabeth Seton are two I try to follow as examples.
    Yes, I do talk to Jesus, the Holy Sprit and the Father as well- but find that the women are a bit easier to emulate in my human frailty 🙂 My son chats with St Maximillian Kolbe and my daughter St Clare.

    Sorry, this was so Long. I am sure I will be chastised. Oh well, it is what it is 🙂

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    • 

      I think you did it again Janette. Your comment is probably longer than the post. But I will forgive you this time as you are passionate about this topic. We all need that passion. As I said I was a Catholic for the first twenty years so I am familiar with all you say. I was taught by Jesuit priests and nuns through grade school.

      Praying through the saints is something I shed from those years. That and rote prayers. When I say grace now it is my own words and not “Bless us O Lord for…. Generally I am aligned at least on some level with other Catholic practices. I don’t think I need an intercessor or even the right words to pray directly to God and I do “talk” with him daily if not hourly. As a matter of fact words are not even necessary, eloquent or otherwise, as he knows what I pray even without words.

      I don’t think this as a negative post about patron saints. At least I didn’t intend it to be so. I do appreciate many of the story about them and yes it is nice to have those examples on how to live my life here on God’s kingdom on earth…

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  2. 

    I did not see the post as negative. Just the teachings have changed quite a bit in the last 20 years and are far more clear then when I was a child. 🙂

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