Friday, March 7, 2014
Suffering the slings and arrows........
I have always been grateful that the Catholic Church has brought forth so many different kinds of holy saints. There is a saint for everyone to imitate, to admire, to pray with! No matter your personality or temperament, there is a saint for you!
My saints have become specifically of one type as I have grown older. They are the saints who have suffered the "slings and arrows" of others' uncharitableness...of people who should have known better.......of great injustice, calumny, envy, sarcasm, carelessness.......all heaped upon them. And they remained calm, kind, meek, and loving in return. To me this is HEROIC! Yes, I do love the martyrs - they shine like lights - they bore their physical sufferings with great heroic charity!
But those quiet saints who bear, and need to DAILY and WEEKLY and YEARLY bear the unjust actions of others.... that is a martyrdom that goes on and on like a marathon. It fills me with awe. To forgive almost daily and to return love for pettiness. Sigh! How I long to be like them.
Pope Paul VI - maligned as an out of touch old man who knew nothing about families and women and on and on. And from his heart and his pen came forth the beauty and kindness and fatherliness of HUMANAE VITAE....an encyclical that never fails to comfort me and fill me with confidence that the Church is Holy and leads me correctly. I loved his quiet, hidden ways when he was Pope. And now I admire with chills, the prophetic nature of that encyclical. He radiated the peace of much pruning and testing and "shone like sparks from stubble".
Another Saint I love is Jeanne Jugan, the founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor. She was the meekest person I have ever read about. She built her order of sisters up with great patience: enduring pain, suffering, and tremendous set backs and in the end a priest took away her order out of envy and called it his own invention! She did not fight back or get angry but remained at the mother house working at menial tasks until an old age. Again, I feel
Another living saint that I feel filled with peace whenever I see his picture is Pope Benedict XVI. Taking all the hatred, scoffing, lies, and sarcasm of others on his kind and loving shoulders. Being called a Nazi, a Rottweiler, a bully and on and on and on. This gentle, cultured, highly educated, sensitive, and intelligent man - whose mind is honest and appreciates honesty in other minds, who was willing to discuss, to understand. He was the butt of so many evil jokes and ridicule from such very small minds and yet he smiled at all, bore all with patience and continued on his way unfluttered by the world. How much dying to self did he have to do to get to that point? Again, AWE.
These are three people who make it easy for me to believe that my faith is real - that heaven is there - that Christ did not die in vain! These truly are otherworldly people. Their actions whisper to me that here there is no lasting city.......they are citizens of another Kingdom. Meekness is the way to it!