Monday, June 25, 2012
What a Headache
P.S. A third, half-facetious, half-serious question: 3. Will praying to the proper saint help us pay for our treatments? Insurance won't pay his $100,000 bill because the surgery is too experimental, and my own insurance has told me it won't pay for prescription refills in a timely manner.
Oh, you poor thing. What a terrible hardship.
At the risk of giving you a headache, there is a third patron saint for headaches, St. Stephen, the first martyr. He was killed by having rocks thrown at his head, so I think he's a very good choice.
There are several saints for specific problems in many cases. St. Francis of Assisi, because he preached to birds and squirrels and "Brother Wolf" is the patron saint of animals and animal lovers, but so is St. Martin de Porres, because he was an amateur veterinarian. St. Rock is the patron saint of dogs and dog lovers and St. Gertrude is the patron saint of cats and cat lovers.
St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, but so is St. Joseph.
So let's back this truck up a second an take a look at what the deal is with patron saints in the first place. The idea of having a patron saint for something is that in some way the saint had to deal with the same problems that you have. St. Martha had that unfortunate incident where the disciples descended on her house and her sister wouldn't help her get dinner on the table for them all. That's why shes is the patron saint of cooks and waitresses. Sometimes the patronage is rather a leap. A really big leap. Like St. Blaise. He is the patron saint of sore throats because he once blessed the throat of a young lad who was choking on a fishbone. So that makes perfect sense. But he is also the patron saint of knitters, because he was tortured with wool combers. He never knitted a thing. That's a bit of a....an extrapolation.
I can't figure out why St. Teresa of Avila would be the patron saint of headaches. I do not believe that she was a headache sufferer. Perhaps one of our dear readers would know. I suspect that she is the patron saint of headaches because she was one. St. Teresa was put into the convent by her very strict father because she was a rebellious teenager. At that time, the nuns in the convent were often other rich girls who wore their veils as a fashion accessory and brought their jewelry, not for the convent to use to buy food, but to wear.
Teresa didn't take to nunness right away. And even when she did begin to embrace the religious life, she was still a bit of a "how do you solve a problem like Maria" type. She didn't care much for praying, for one thing. Ironic, since what made her a Doctor of the Church eventually was what she had to say about prayer, among other things.
Even after all of her sighing and eye rolling about prayer, Teresa began having mystical experiences including visions and ecstasies and levitation. She changed her mind about prayer. And the convent. She didn't leave, she called for reform and founded the Discalced Carmelites. She was not popular and faced the prospect of the Spanish Inquisition twice. That would be headache inducing, I suppose.
Meanwhile, St. Gemma spent most of her life really sick in bed. She did have debilitating headaches, but then, she had debilitating everything. She had a really miserable time of it.
Your dilemma is simply to pick the saint to which you feel the most connected, for whatever reason. So no, it doesn't even matter if the saint has that patronage assigned to them. Why do we pray for intercession at all? We are asking the saints to pray for us, just the way we ask each other for prayers. The saints, however are right there in Heaven. They have got to be just the best at praying. It absolutely astounds me that there are people who think that asking for saintly intercession is some kind of time waster. I hope they don't go around asking other people to pray for them either, but that kind of logical consistency seems to escape them.
St. Joseph of Arimathea seems like a very good choice to help with the financial end of things! He did after all, swoop in and take care of business when everyone else was too stunned and impoverished to figure out what to do with Jesus' body. The Infant of Prague is also a good choice.
Oh wait! there's here's another idea for the headache patron! You could go with St. Joseph! He has his own aspirin.