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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

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.


Lola said...

So there is hope even for me Sister! (The lazy Sloth side.)

Now, is St. Anne the homeschooling saint or Our Lady of Good Council, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, or St. Dymphna? Because if I really do homeschool I think I'm going to need St. Dymphna's help.

Or can you think of another good Saint for harried, worried, terrible with math mothers.

Anonymous said...

Sister, being a future Dominican with current exam trouble, this must be my favourite post ever :) Thank you so much!

Chris Fitzpatrick said...


Do you know a good saint for someone about to move away to college? It's that time of year again, I think many Catholic youth might be interested in such a person.

Thanks =]

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
Your comment about St. Dismas' timing reminded me of a poem I've been trying to find for years. It was read by Archbishop Edmond O'Brien while he was the head military chaplin. I don't remember what program or what occasion he was reading for but it was about Jesus' decent into Limbo to free those who were waiting there. In the poem He walked past all the Patriarchs looking for just one man and when He found him, He embraced him and St. Joseph asked "how is your Mother, Son?"
I've even tried asking the workers to pass my request on to the Archbishop with a note in the donation envelope they send occasionally but no answer.
Do you know of this poem?

Katherine said...

Mightn't Evagrius be a good choice for a saint for the lazy, considering his writing about akedia (accedie, accedia)? Except perhaps he's not a saint...I should have checked. Good reading for the lazy, anyhow.

fr. ray said...

Sister I vouch for St. Joseph Cupertino. When I was in the seminary, I had a first class relic of good ole' St. Joe and everytime I said the prayer to him with the relic: "St. Jospeh who was granted the grace of being asked only those questions to which you knew the answer, grant to me that same favor, as we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord."

And you know what it worked. Even my philosphy exams were a piece of cake.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for you! Surprise! Our priest retired at the age of 80 last month, and was replaced a middle-aged priest who has made some changes. I don't know the Magesterium all that well, so I'm betting that things needed to be tightened up a bit at our little country church, but folks are grumbling. Some are saying they may leave the church over matters that seem trivial to me--who announces hymns during the Mass, moving furniture, that kind of thing. Having returned home to the Catholic church fairly recently, I just don't want anyone to leave--especially for something stupid! What should I say to them? Some have a protestant background, and protestants follow personalities instead of dogma. We're Catholics; we shouldn't be doing this. I don't want things to get ugly over this kind of stuff. Shower some wisdom on me sister--please? --Mary Ellen

katy said...

Anonymous, the poem is called Limbo, by Sister Mary Ada. Here is the address. I don't think I make a link here but copy and paste it.


Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Mary N. said...

I just found your blog today and I love this post. Hopefully, it is just coincidental that I found it when the post had to do with laziness. Somehow, I doubt it. Sigh...

Junosmom said...

I am thinking about the Saint Joseph of Cupertino, and that he reminds me of my brother. Now, before you think me mean spirited, let me explain. My brother also might, in another era, be considered dumb, could not hold down a job, is basically useless, cannot read, etc. He would not care to discuss the color of bread, it's all the same color after he eats it (all). This is because my brother was born with significant birth defects, and in today's world, we consider him mentally handicapped, in my growing up years, "retarded". Yet, in thinking about what you wrote, I am thinking, yes, his life is saintly. He likely couldn't explain God or Jesus to anyone, nor likely has an understanding of Heaven. Yet, he endures his hardships, surgeries, and living away from my parents (with whom he'd like to live, but he's in a group home) with acceptance. Perhaps St. Joseph's legacy is his persistence in continuing his journey, despite what sounds like obvious mental disabilities. As to flying, well, I hope my brother doesn't take that up!

Anonymous said...

Most excellent post! the movie reluctant saint is not a new movies but certainly is a great movie!!! I am in agreement that he makes a good patron for the subject of laziness and am seeing a need to ask his prayers for me as I too am lazy and I am beginning to believe it is cultural so perhaps St. Joseph of C will need to pray for all of us North Americans :)

Anonymous said...

BLESS YOU Katy!!!!!

Glenna said...

Katy, I hope you get this late post. I have spent the better part of 2 hrs internet hunting for that poem & never could find it. I wanted to give a copy to my mom for her birthday since she loves St Joseph so much. When I saw your post, it was an answer to a prayer! Thank you.