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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Murphy's Oil Soap for the Soul

Now that we have our spring cleaning out of the way and Jesus has risen, I'll spend a little time spring cleaning here and answer the questions that piled up during Holy Week. Murphy's Oil Soap for the pews and the blog, after which I will re-clean the deviled egg droppings off the keyboard. They call them 'deviled' eggs, because the devil makes you eatfour hundred of them so you will drop dead of a heart attack before you can make a good confession.

From Eddie:
Sister, I have a pair of questions I need to find an answer to; do you believe that people can be born with some kind of predetermined instinct to oppose evil in this world?

Here's the thing Eddie, it really doesn't matter.

I would have to say that, yes, some people are born with an instinct to oppose evil. We will not use the word "predetermined". We are not Calvinists. If you read the lives of the saints you will find that quite a few of them were very holy children.

St. Dominic Savio, for example, spent all his time endearing himself to his classmates by breaking up their schoolyard fights and taking away their smutty magazines. St. Aloysius made St. Dominc Savio look like a choir boy. Oh wait...Dominic was a choir boy. In fact, he is the patron saint of choir boys....at any rate, St. Aloysius, who also died in his teens, said a "Hail Mary" on each riser as he climbed any set of stairs. You wouldn't want to be behind him on the staircase. He should be the patron saint of those people who don't move when they get to the top of the escalator.

St. Catherine LaBourre, to whom Our Blessed Mother appeared, had visions her whole life.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was a young Mohawk girl who trekked 200 miles through the wilderness without the benefit of Lewis, Clark or Sacajawea to reach the only mission within 200 miles so she could live among Christians and make herself useful.

St. Maria Goretti was stabbed to death rather than compromise herself and St. Agnes was very young when she was martyred.

And just what was going on with St. Joan of Arc, do you think?

Certainly many people hear the call of God at a young age.

Good for them.

Meanwhile, there are a whole host of other people who ran around like crazy people and still managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become saints. St. Augustine, the original party animal, springs to mind. The city of Santa Monica is named after his mother because when the Spanish conquistodors arrived in what is now that California city the first thing they stumbled upon was a rock that was burbling water non-stop. It reminded them of St. Monica, crying non-stop for her rotten heathen son. I imagine you've heard of St. Augustine? Doctor of the Church?

One of my favorites in this category is St. John of God. St. John spent the first part of his life doing whatever crazy impulsive thing popped into his brain. He was like the guy in Frank Sinatra's song, "That's Life", except for being a king. He was a soldier, a bookseller, a criminal, nearly hanged as a horse thief, a shepherd. After a brief bout of insanity he sold religious books and holy cards but had no religious convictions of his own.

In his forties the Infant Jesus paid him a visit, told John what was expected of him and called him "John of God". The name stuck.

To make up for his wicked ways he opened a house for the sick. He begged for every single pillow and bedpan. When it caught fire one day, he rescued the patients and then went back in for the mattresses.

And St. Teresa of Avila was always embarrassed by her youthful love of perfume and make-up.

Is one type of saint better than the other? One soul more valuable?

It doesn't matter how you get there or even when you get there. It can be on your deathbed. It only matters that you get there.

The good thing about getting there earlier, rather than later, is that you can do a lot of good for a lot of people the sooner you arrive. But we'll love seeing you arrive no matter how late you show up. (anonymous calf wrestler....)

Eddie Part Two:

The other question I have is about the Holy Mother and if she watches over families, through generations, I mean; what do you think about this? Thank you and God bless

Unless I misunderstand the question, it seems to imply that Mary watches over some families more carefully than others. What would you call a mother who played favorites like that? I think we'd call her a not very good mother.

The answer is yes. Mary watches over all families all of the time, generation after generation, not just the handsome ones who get good grades.


Lois Grebowski said...

My stepdaughter's confirmation name was Kateri Tekakwitha! Stepdaughter, being part Choctaw and product of good Roman Catholic schooling (Benedictine) was so proud to find a saint "just lilke her!"

Sister Mary Martha said...

Yes, except for the smallpox.

chally said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,

In addition to you, I also am inspired by Rev. John Corapi, SOLT.
His WebSite is @ www.fathercorapi.com

Nicotheconqueror said...

I see a good moment to remind you my question, what do you think of meister eckhart, he´s not yet a saint....., thanks.

Cris said...

Sister, I am in need of help for my son. He is 9 and it seems that he has turned from a sweet little boy to an angry pre-adolescent in the blink of an eye! I am at my end for what to do and thought that maybe you knew of a Saint whom I could pray to for intercession for him. I homeschool so it is not like he is getting mixed up with a bad "crowd" at school, he is just going through some sort of boy thing that I know nothing about. If you can think of a good Saint for him I would appreciate it~
God Bless,

Sister Mary Martha said...

I can recommend for you, St. Monica, who is that patron saint of mothers of teens (and pre-teens).

I also recommend repeating to him, in your own words, the things he's saying to you when he's angry, rather than trying to talk him out of anything or tell him things will be better next time. Only what he said in your own words.

He had to find a patron saint that he identifies with, not a saint you identify with because of his anger.

Anonymous said...

Do you have an email for questions or do you just take them via the comments feature?

Sister Mary Martha said...

We just take questions here.

Anonymous said...

Okay Sister Mary, this is a big one and I will understand if it's too much of a topic to tackle....But I am so conflicted. One of my very best friends is in love with a priest, and he feels the same way about her. ( He is 27 and she's 24) They have kept thier relationship very hush hush, and only a few people know about it. The problem is..( besides the obvious!) ....he has no intention of leaving the priesthood, becasue she said she's not ready to get married as she's beginnning grad school. I want to be a good freind to her, but ahahahahahaha how can I possibly support them making the priesthood just a temporary job...and does anything he do as a priest even count??? I just do not know what to do and would love to hear your thoughts....God Blessyou!

Lillian said...

He's crossing boundaries and she needs to stop it. He should have never started it. I can see him leaving the priesthood, getting dispensation and then getting married, but if he really loves her as he says he does, he would have never have done this. She needs to get the advice of a therapist to heal from this.

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Anonymous, fortunately for the boyfriend priest's congregation, the charisms given to a priest depend only on the office of the priesthood and not his personal sanctity.