Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Drip, Drip, Drip
I have been inundated with patron saint requests over at our shop. As patron saint matching is just about my favorite past time, I've had a pleasant inundation. What a wonderful time of year! Easter Season, spring, patron saint matching and the NBA playoffs. In the end, I will have some suffering to offer up for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, as I am not a Laker fan, even though I live here, and they are sure to win the whole magilla this year. But yesterday was saw a breathtaking playoff game between Chicago and Boston. I'm rooting for Boston, but I spent a very long time in Chicago during the heyday of Mr. Michael Jordan. The series is tied 1-1, which is great for me, as I don't have to decide yet for whom I am rooting.
Thank goodness things have been so relaxing. Not so for most people, judging from the requests I've been getting. I have had no difficulty whatsoever finding saints for everyone. Some even more easy breezy lemon squeezy than others:
As a high school Junior, I am currently preparing myself the dreaded college admissions process. I know, I know, offer it up for the church suffering. But I was wondering if you could possibly match me and my applications up with some saintly aid for the long and arduous months ahead. (And having some holy help when the admissions officers are reading my applications wouldn't be too horrible, either.) Thanks in advance!
Two saints spring to mind. "Long and arduous, " did you say? You can't get more long and arduous than St. Isidore, the patron saint of the internets. Poor St. Isidore wasn't the brightest bulb. If that wasn't enough, all of his brothers and sisters were saints. Not the "Oh, that guy is such a good man! He's a saint" type saint. They are actually canonized saints. It gets worse: his brother was his teacher.
Saint though he was, St. Isidore's brother was a stern task master with little patience for Isidore's laziness and bumbling, even if St. Isidore was neither lazy nor bumbling. I have to go out on a limb here and say that St. Isidore's brother was pretty rotten to him, saintship notwithstanding.
It doesn't matter, though, because it all worked out. St. Isidore ran away from his brother's scholarly brutality. Hanging around in the meadows he observed water dripping on a rock and reflected on how, eventually, the water would leave its mark on the rock and how very, very long that would take.
I had a piano teacher who used to say to me, "Don't say it's hard. Say it will take longer to learn."
That's the very epiphany that St. Isidore had. He returned home and studied with renewed vigor. He became the most educated man in the entire world. And a saint to boot.
Here's a second saint for you, one who knew how to lock himself in a room and study: St. Jerome. He picked up a little Hebrew in his travels and decided he should take a crack at re-translating the Bible into Latin from the original language instead of from Hebrew to Greek to Latin. His translation is the one we use today, known as the "Vulgate". (Since we are still using his translation, I think he fills the bill for the admissions people who have to read your applications, too.)
At the end of his life, he locked himself in a room in Bethlehem and never left it. His pal, St. Paula, who had a lot of dough, brought him endless books to read and write about and translate.
Both of these saints understand the hard work of study. Or.... that it will take longer to learn some things than others.