Life is tough. But Nuns are tougher. If you need helpful advice just Ask Sister Mary Martha.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Bank On It
Sister, May you include the holy souls in your daily offering in the morning? Just add, "I offer all my sufferings today for the salvation of souls?"
I don't always remember to offer it up in the moment. I'd hate for my sufferings and sacrifices to be wasted.
Of course you can do that. I just seems to be a little, oh I don't know, "cheat-y".
I find that people often seem to have some sort of idea that a prayer or a sacrifice is like a coin in some Catholic piggy bank that is going to sit on the shelf filling up until you die and then you are going to take the piggy bank to Heaven and smash it open.
Prayers and sacrifices really should be an 'in the moment' kind of thing. That's the whole point.
Let's pretend for a moment that this stuff is money. Let's say you have a lot of money and you really love me.
Wouldn't that be wonderful!
But you don't really talk to me all that often or pay much attention to me. In fact, I really have no idea how you feel about me.
You, on the other hand, have scrupulously squirreled away money for me so I can have some of your fortune when you no longer need it. Every month you add a little dough, slowly amassing a lovely chunk of change for me.
Of course, I know nothing of this and I wonder why you don't care much for me. I'm wrong. But I don't know I'm wrong. I go through life thinking, "Oh well, Aunt Sally has bigger fish to fry, I suppose."
Then you drop dead and the lawyer tells me I'm rich.
Well, that's great. But I missed out on having a great relationship with you, understanding how you feel about things and enjoying your company. I spent all these years feeling neglected. I'm actually estranged from you, this person who really did care for me. Just not enough to give me the time of day on any given day.
God doesn't want you to bring him a piggy bank. He wants to hang out with you. "You can have all my suffering today, do with it what You will," doesn't really add up to much when you're sitting in traffic swearing at people, or losing your patience with the kids. It really adds up to quite a lot when you manage to offer up the smoke coming out of your ears as it curls over your head.
It means that right in that moment, you've turned to God. He's always with you. Now you are with Him.
It's okay that you can't remember all the time. Offering up all your suffering first thing in the morning is at least a step in the right direction, unless you are one of those people who can't remember what happened this morning by late afternoon. Then, if you remember once in a while, you'll remember more and more often.
Try some post it notes. "Got Suffering?"
Sister, I have a patron saint matching question. I am a stay at home mom of three wonderful kids. I was wondering if you could help me find a patron saint who doesn't get many prayers. Saint Anne, Saint Monica, the Blessed Mother are always so busy and I would like to spend some time with someone who is not as well known and might like some company. Thank you so much!
Are you simply looking for an obscure saint, or one that has something to do with your travails?
I don't think saints care about being too busy. I don't think saints care about being 'neglected'. They are in heaven, for pity's sake.
If you are just looking for obscure, I suggest you go here. You'll find that almost every day there is some obscure saint that not even the Catholic Church seems to know much about.
Click on any date and have a look. You'll see a lot of people you've never heard about, ever. Then, pick a saint.
Although....there are saints who seem obscure and are not, really. St. Swithin, for example, is very obscure here in the states and not at all obscure in Great Britain. He is a big favorite of mine.
There also those "Marlene Dietrich" saints. They vant to be alone. St. Charbel springs to mind.
Then there is St. Rosalia, who actually asked not to be obscure anymore and still is a little obscure. Do you know her story? I thought not. St. Rosalia ran away to live in a cave. She was so obscure in real life that no one ever knew that the cave caved in on her.
Anyhow, that calendar of saints will be a big help to you. You can find a new obscure saint every single day.
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Today's memorial: Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus -- definitely obscure to me! Read about them: http://methodandmadnessblog.blogspot.com
Sister, thank you for this compassionate, humorous and common-sense blog. That my suffering has value and may be offered was a new concept to me (raised Mormon!) and I really appreciate your explanations.
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!
Sister, I've got a peculiar question: who declares that a particular saint is the patron saint of such-and-such? I ask because I'm a software engineer, and there is (in the lists I've seen) no patron saint of software engineers. (The closest is St. Isadore of Seville, but he's the patron saint of the Internet, which isn't the same thing.)
In my humble opinion, St. Thomas Aquinas would make a dandy patron saint for software engineers; he spent his days dealing with fine and subtle abstractions, and so do software engineers. So who should I ask, to get him added to the list?
St John Bosco was amazingly studious and hard-working and still fun - I was much inspired to get my act together by him a few months ago (that is, I was inspired to do so, not that I did, sadly).
Hippolytus was patron saint of the diocese I lived in Austria :-) (he was an antipope - everyone was so holy in the old days that even the antipopes were saints ...)
I have a patron saint question for you: I've read of several female saints who wanted to remain single for Christ, but ended up getting married anyway (usually in obedience to their parents.) Are there any saints who had the opposite problem, i.e. they wanted to marry and teach their children to love God, but God never brought them a husband so they had to learn to accept this as His will for them? Thanks!
St. Rosalia is my Confirmation patron. Saint name picked for Confirmation? I thought she was obscure until now.
Thank you for the clarification of the "suffering for sinners". A recent convert, I am also one of those who would start the day offering the Lord all the cans and bottles of my life for recycling for the sake of souls.
If I knew the day was going to be especially frought with hazard, I would offer it as I drove to work.
However, the way you put it, it makes more sense and no doubt will go a long way helping me to get and stay close to the Lord in the times to come.
I second nerdycellist's request for a patron saint of the lazy--perhaps a patron saint to help foster self-discipline? I am sorely lacking in this area, as can well be seen by the dust in my apartment, my lack of muscle tone (too lazy to work out) and all my last-minute term papers!
I would like to suggest St. Helen (Constantine's Mother and finder of the Cross) she is obscure; in that we don't hear much about her and yet a good saint for the stay at home mom - maybe??
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