I’ve never been really into the saints. I’m not sure why. While my faith is strong, I’m generally distrustful of anything towards the charismatic end of things, or anything apparition-y (don’t get me started on Joan of Arc), as well as excessively public displays of faith or devotion.
I have no problem with the saints, obviously. I’ve been randomly inspired at times by random saints- I love that my middle name is Elizabeth, and enjoyed learning about St. Elizabeth, the Hungarian princess who helped the poor. I think that St. Thomas More is a fantastic example for people to follow, because of his incredible devotion (martyrdom) and humanist viewpoint, as well as his theories on religious education, particularly of his daughters. But where my sister has St. Therese, and my mom has St. Philomena, I’ve never really had my own saint.
I’ve always been more of a Blessed Mother girl. My mom would say the Hail Mary when she was pregnant with me. After I was born and didn’t have much hope for living or doing anything particularly stunning like, oh, sitting up, she prayed to Mary. And when I spent three years of high school at a Lutheran university, arguably one of the best things that I could have ever done for my Catholic faith (I know, right?), one of the biggest things I came away with was an appreciation of Mary and my devotion to her. They didn’t have rosaries or any real emphasis on Mary, and I found that depressing.
Today I read My Life with the Saints, by James Martin. I saw the author on a television show. (Okay. It was The Colbert Report. But I swear, I watch things other than Comedy Central occasionally. No. Really. I do.) I really liked him because of how he talked about his feelings about the pope changing over the past two years. I think it’s really inspiring to hear how an avowed liberal was moved and changed by the pastoral nature of the office of the papacy. Anyway, I read the book and it’s amazing.
I absolutely love the idea of treating the saints like friends, people we meet at different points in our lives who can help us with specific problems or at certain times. I think it’s a very simple, almost childlike way of looking at the saints- and one that everyone, even people who have never really connected with a saint before, could use.