Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Patron Saint of the Lazy
We have mocking birds. I can tell when they are raising some baby mocking birds, because they menace the cats in the neighborhood, including our little Chester. They sit on a chair right next to the cat and squawk endlessly unless I shoo them away. The menacing got especially intense the last couple of days and now we know why. Two babies are learning to fly. They have a higher pitched squawk, a squeak of a squawk, and they always sound as though they are in distress. Perhaps they are. But it hearing them is distressing.
I'm having a difficult time concentrating. I hate to say it, but I hope they grow up and fly away.
I would like to call upon your superior Saint matching skills to tell me if there is a patron saint of the lazy. It's not to pray for my kids (which I don't have), but myself. And maybe also a patron saint of thieves, if there is such a thing, as I'm typing this while (lazily) avoiding work, which is technically stealing time from my employer!
If I was lazy, I would tell you that the patron saint for thieves is the same as the patron saint of laziness, since thieves are lazy people who take what you've earned for yourself.
But that would entail all kinds of judgment. For one thing, who says you've really earned that for yourself? Why does some boob in a movie get paid millions while an astonishingly good third grade teacher or a guy that teaches your kid to drive a car without killing himself and/or other people gets paid in circus peanuts?
And who says being a thief isn't work? There is often a lot of planning involved, hours of house casing, maybe some sort of disguise, a tool kit (stolen from several garages), leg work, maps....Those people in "Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen" seem extremely busy, if one is to judge by the movie trailers.
And how do we know the thief doesn't need whatever you have more than you? Perhaps the thief has been driven to thievery by desperation.
No, I'm not willing to go there and declare that thieves are lazy.
The patron saint of thieves, by the way, is St. Dismas. We don't know his real name, but we absolutely know he is a saint, because Jesus announced it from the cross. St. Dismas was that thief on Calvary. His belief in Jesus prompted Jesus to say, "You will be with me this day in heaven." Everyone who is dead and in heaven is a saint.
Here's another thing about St. Dismas: his timing was excellent, because he died very soon after Jesus went to open the Limbo of the Fathers and let everyone into heaven. If he had died before that, he would have been stuck for a while. I'm not saying he planned it that way, but it was a stroke of good timing on his part.
It's not easy to find a saint for lazy people, because in order to become a saint in the first place you have to have had 'heroic virtue'. It's that 'heroic' part, virtue about and beyond the call of duty, that leads to no lazy saints.
So we have two choices. We could find a saint who sets a great example of being really busy and hardworking, or we could find a saint who had to be poked and prodded into sainthood in the first place.
In the first category, I'd go with St. Catherine of Sienna, who left no stone of sainthood unturned, sleeping only an hour or two a night and surviving only on the Host. She held the Church together with her prolific writing and her faithful tireless teaching and she became one of only three women who were bestowed the honor "Doctor of the Church". I get tired just thinking about her. And she managed to do it all before the age of 33, because after age 33, she was dead.
In the reluctant saint category, I'm going with St. Joseph of Cupertino. There is actually a movie made about his life with that title: The Reluctant Saint.
Although, it's not so much that he was really reluctant to be a saint. He was certainly reluctant to be called a saint.
He was as dumb as rocks. He could barely read. He was sickly. He could hardly put a sentence together,let alone keep up his end of a conversation, so eventually no one wanted to hang around with him, even to be kind to the poor stupid kid. He was a burden to everyone and couldn't hold down a job because he had the attention span of a gnat. His own mother finally couldn't stand to be around him. Boring, stupid, sick all the time, and useless. This is saint material?
His first monastery threw him out because he couldn't even handle a plate without breaking it. He couldn't remember the difference between white bread and brown bread. I told he was dumb as rocks.
He eventually found his way to another monastery and a series of miracles helped him actually become a priest, passing exams that he couldn't even read. From there he became a saint, levitating in ecstasy during prayer and the like. Did I say levitate? He actually flew all around.
So...there's hope for you, there at your desk.