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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Balancing Act

We're having a run on patron saint questions so hold onto your hats if you've asked one. We'll get to it. Since I actually tripped over my own foot and fell all the way to the floor the other day, I thought I'd kick off (you should pardon the pun) with this one.

(I'm fine, by the way. If I wasn't fine I'd offer it up. I did stay on all fours for a moment or two assessing if there was any damage. And since no one saw me, I didn't have to offer up the indignity, either.)

 Which saints were clumsy? I know of one, whose name was Joseph of Copertino, but he was intellectually challenged.

Yes, he was clumsy, among other things. I'll bet he was on the autism "spectrum".  But he could fly.

I'm assuming that you're looking for a patron saint for clumsiness because you feel you are clumsy. Or know someone who is two left feet challenged.  But instead of looking for someone in Heaven who was similarly blessed here on this early coil (which would trip up anyone), how about someone to guard you against clumsiness, the way St. Barbara guards against lightening?

I offer for your consideration an old favorite of mine, St. Christina the Astonishing. Christina died a young girl and everyone was so sad. The church was crowded for her funeral, during which she suddenly sat up. Since her return trip from the great beyond, everyone smelled rotten to her and after she sat up, she flew up into the church rafters.

This upset everyone and they fled the  proceedings. Christina's sister stayed behind with the parish priest to try and talk her down. She spent the rest of her days balancing on rooftops and fences and climbing up trees, among other things.

I'd say that was pretty surefooted, wouldn't you?

By the way, remember our discussion from the other day where a reader was asking about how come we never hear of anyone who had a near death experience having gone to Purgatory? I beg to differ.

Quoting St. Christina the Astonishing:
"As soon as my soul was separated from my body it was received by angels who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls" where the torments there that they endured "appeared so excessive" that it was "impossible to give an idea of their rigor." And more:
"I saw among them many of my acquaintances" and, touched deeply by their sad condition, asked if this was Hell, but was told that it was Purgatory. Her angel guides brought her to Hell where again she recognized those she had formerly known. Next she was transported to Heaven, "even to the Throne of Divine Majesty" where she was "regarded with a favorable eye" and she experienced extreme joy and these words were spoken to her, 'Assuredly, My dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to Earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon Earth: you shall endure great torments, without however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living, and your continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.' "
 Christina lived to the ripe old age of 74, more remarkable when you consider that she spent her whole life on rooftops and trees, flinging herself into furnaces and plunging herself into icy waters and letting dogs chase her through the woods and rip at her flesh. She always came out untouched, unburned and unbloody.  Like Wolverine in the X-men.

I think she makes a great protector for you! And if you do fall...offer it up!


Anonymous said...

Dear Sister, thank you for introducing us, well me anyway, to this remarkable saint, who lived not far from where I happen to live.

I can relate to her, yes! Except that I did my stunts in a less literal way, and that I was not looking for that never ending series of ordeals.

It has gotten a bit out of fashion, hasn't it, to suffer to pay for the debts of other souls? Contemporary suffering requires a practical purpose, it seems. Like feeding the poor or caring for the sick. No one gets to feel any better these days because down the street there's a lady up a tree.


Unknown said...

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called for reform of LCWR to ensure its fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women's ordination and homosexuality. What are your thoughts?