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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Doubt It

Terrence! Of Course! Why didn't I think of that?  I am referring to yesterday's post about a man taking the name "Teresa" as his Confirmation name.  My readers have weighed in with some very helpful advice. One person suggested that the man use Mother Teresa's last name.  I thought of that as well, but I think her last name is "of Calcutta".  Her last name before she became a nun is a difficult Slavic type collection of consonants and her middle name, also difficult to pronounce, means "rosebud".  Not so manly. Unless by "Rosebud" you mean "the sled".

Moving on:

Saw your shop policies and got a doubt, why is St. Joseph, the patron saint of doubt and hesitation and not St. Thomas. If you have answered this question, kindly provide the link.

Thanking you and prayers from the land of Our Lady of Health...

Poor St. Thomas, his one moment of doubt is so famous that he is forever referred to as "Doubting Thomas".  I would hate to think that one moment of stupidity that I had would eternally brand me in history.

The gum incident springs to mind. What if I was relentlessly called "Gumwad Martha"?

St. Joseph is the patron saint of quite a number of things. He is the patron saint of carpenters and workers, since he was a carpenter and a worker.  Some people think he was not a carpenter but more of a stone mason.  Fine.  Although we would have to change a lot of holy cards depicting St. Joseph with his planers and angle irons.

He is the patron saint of buying and selling real estate.  That must be an extrapolation of the carpentry and the fact the the Holy Family moved a number of times.

He is the patron saint of Italy.

He has an aspirin named for him.

He is the patron saint of a happy death, because we feel that Mary and Jesus were right there with him when he died. It doesn't get happier than that.

He is the patron saint of travelers, since not only did the Holy Family have to move, they had to travel great distances when they moved. St. Joseph should be the patron saint of anyone who has to take a baby on a plane or a long car ride. He didn't have one of those portable DVD players on the back of the donkey.

I have to pause and say, what is the deal with that?  If you're going to park your child in front of a movie while your travel in a car, why not just stay home and park him on the couch?  Isn't the whole point of travel to see different places and how other people live?  I can rather understand it on a plane, when there really is nothing to see at a high altitude. But not in the car.  Seriously, count cows, collect license plates from other states, tell stories to each other.

I digress.

St. Joseph is the patron saint against doubt and hesitation because he had some rather understandable doubt about what seemed to be a completely impossible event. He didn't know what to do. Twice in his life angels had to come and give him advice. He really didn't believe Mary's preposterous story for a second. Who would?  An angel visited with him and told him to get with the program.

After that, he really paid attention. An angel had to come again to tell him to get his new family out of Bethlehem fast because Herod was after the Baby Jesus. Off they went. No DVD player.

St. Thomas wasn't running about doubting everything, despite his sad nickname. When the Apostles tried to talk Jesus out of going back to Bethany to bring Lazarus back from the dead because Jesus had received death threats, it was Thomas who said, "Let us go so that we may die with Him."

Thomas is thought to have travelled the farthest of the Apostles in spreading the Gospel, all the way to India. He would make a fantastic patron saint of travel.

Sacred Tradition holds that when Mary was Assumed into Heaven, all the apostles were transported to her side, but that Thomas, perhaps because he had traveled the farthest arrived at the Assumption itself and Mary gave him her girdle as she left.

Don't get silly.  A girdle then isn't the same thing as now.  Belt.  Think belt. She gave him her belt.  He is not the patron saint of ladies foundation wear.

But he is the patron saint of architecture. I suppose because he left so many churches in his wake. It seems the Church has let Thomas off the hook for his famous moment of doubt. We meanwhile look to St. Joseph to show us how to overcome it.


Ana Paula Camargo said...

A Salute from over here in BRASIL, Sister!!

Once more: a wonderful Post/Text of yours!! I simply loved the way you, Sister, show to us the reasons because SÃO JOSÉ - as we call him in my language, Portuguese - is perfectly able to help us in our moments of doubts.

And Teresa of Ávila - which I prefer to call Big Teresa so I can difference her of the others "Teresas" -, well, she use to be a Great Fan of JOSÉ and in her "Book of Life" she garanteed that SÃO JOSÉ is perfect to help us IN ANY MATTER, or better: IN ALL MATTERS!!

Stay in the Peace of God:
You, Sister, and all your Readers!!

Sue said...

Inquiring minds want to know: was the gum still there the next time you went back?!

I often read your posts aloud to my kids, through tears of laughter. After reading the gum incident my daughter said, " I wonder what she was like as a kid!" Maybe you could write a post about that sometime.

We love you Sister!

nutmeg said...

Hello Sister Mary Martha!
I first must confess that I googled the answer to the pop quiz!According to the American Catholic website, today's (Nov. 24th's)patron Saint is St. Andrew Dung Loc and Companions, who were martyred in Vietnam in the mid to late 1800's. Here is the link to the page for anyone who wants to learn more:
http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saintofday/ . I'm not sure when they change to the next days'Saint, but I bet they have some sort of way to get back to today's.
Anyway, now that I have blathered my head off, may I suggest that the fellow who did'nt want to use the name of his favorite Saint (Theresa) as his confirmation name,use her "of" name and simply drop the "of"; so that he could be known as "Joseph Mark Avila Smith". It will be a bit odd, but since she is his favorite Saint, he would be able to carry her name with him in spirit without the embarrassment of a using a girls name as his confirmation name.
Just a thought!
I love your blog! I always learn something new and so look forward to reading your posts!
God Bless!

SWP said...

If the nuns can call themselves Sr. Robert with a straight face, then he can choose Teresa for a Confirmation name. Furthermore-- let's not forget St. Louis Maria de Montfort and numerous other boys with Maria in their names.

SWP said...

I second Cyndy's comment: my Confirmation name is Aquinas, so as not to be confused with the Apostle.

Nelson said...
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