And today is the feast day of one of our very favorite saints, St. Therese the Little Flower. I was amazed to read today that she was only made a Doctor of the Church in 1997. It seems so long ago, I thought it had to have been 1954 or so.Time stops while it flies, one of life's ironies.
We love St. Therese, who I think of as the patron saint for people who are annoyed by the annoying habits of others. Therese knew the value of offering up suffering for the Poor Souls in Purgatory and there was plenty of suffering for Therese in a cloistered convent with all those women doing nothing but menial tasks and praying. She didn't want to miss any suffering so she wrote down every annoyance that she bore so it could count for something. On her deathbed she mentioned that she'd like to spend her Heaven doing good on Earth, so you might consider her a friend when you'd like someone to pray for you.
And speaking of saints' days, here a a question from a reader regarding good old St. Christopher.
I would love for you to explain to me in lay terms why Pope Paul VI removed his saint day from the calendar. Also, I am happy to learn that he is also the patron saint of athletes as well as travelers. I will never leave on a trip without my medal around my neck.
I've explained it before, but people really hate hearing it. It was because the story of St. Christopher, when told fully, is rather obviously a myth. It is precisely because of stories like that of St. Christopher that the Church began a more thorough vetting of candidates for sainthood. At one point a dog almost got in.
Then comes the part where Christopher is carrying a small boy who grows ever heavier on the way across. Christopher can hardly get to the other side and when he does he asks the boy, "How come you're so heavy?" And the boy replies, "I am the Christ Child and I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders."
I think it's kind of a silly story. The whole beginning has a "Three Pigs", "Three Billy Goats" feel to it. The only part I like is the part where the hermit tells Christopher the best way to follow Christ. You can take that to the bank.
A bunch of saints were quietly taken off the calendar. The fourteen Holy Helpers went, too, for much the same reasons. But no one minds if you wear your St. Christopher medal. I'm sure there was a holy man out there somewhere, very possibly doing nothing but helping people across a river, serving Chris,t like St. Therese, in the most humble way. And he certainly carried the Christ Child across that river because as He would have told you, "Whatever you do to the least of My brothers, that you also do unto Me."