“In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a pocket handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called Saints." ~ Frederick Buechner
I work evenings at a beautiful Catholic Church in a sleepy albeit equally beautiful small town in North Georgia. Things are quiet these days, what with COVID and it’s associated hype and hysteria. Bible Study Groups, RCIA, Knights of Columbus Meetings and other vital and vibrant ministries have been relegated to “Zoom Calls,” testing the resourcefulness of the faithful, who, for my money, have proven their love for our Lord in astounding ways by virtue of their perseverance and dogged evangelical determination. On this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for these amazing members of the Mystical Body of Christ. They are a genuine inspiration.
This (hopefully) temporary lull in the action has given me the unique opportunity to spend quiet time with those whom I affectionately call my “Stained Glass Saints.” You see this church where I serve as Evening Facility Coordinator is adorned with gorgeous stained glass windows of some of the greatest Saints in the history of our Church. In the latter stages of the night, I quietly retreat to these stained glass windows within the sanctuary of the Church in order to engage in intercessory prayer, assigning various intentions to each of the canonized that appear colorfully etched into the windows. These Saints, in many respects, have become some of my dearest and most precious friends, the very souls I hope and pray that I will spend all of eternity with. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to these great Saints, one by one, for their amazing and tireless intercession in my life and the lives of millions and millions of others.
I’m thankful for Saint Margaret Mary Alococque, who has revealed to me the power of prayers offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To her I entrust those who will pass away from this Earth not in the best of graces with our Lord. I ask her to go before the Throne of God and beg mercy for these souls. May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored and glorified throughout the tabernacles of the world, from now until the end of time.
I’m thankful for Saint Elizabeth Anne Seton, the great American-born Saint and founder of both the Sisters of Christian Charity and our modern-day Catholic School System. To her I entrust everyone in my life, past, present and future. I ask her to beseech our Lord Jesus to give them a strong and resilient faith, one that will culminate in their entry into the Kingdom that will never end at the end of their fleeting journey on this Earth.
I’m thankful for Saint John Paul II, thankful for his Papacy, his many brilliant Encyclicals, and his numerous warnings pertaining to the “culture of death” that, sadly enough, went largely unheeded. To him I entrust those who tragically became victims of that culture of death. Those who have committed suicide and the ones they leave behind. Parents who have lost children to gang violence, drug addiction, sex trafficking, abortion and the like.
To Saint Teresa of Calcutta, I thank her for her true spirit of generosity, compassion and love towards the most marginalized in our midst. I ask her to pray that I everyone I know, past, present and future, will come to have a heart as big as hers.
I’m thankful for Saint Ann and Saint Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus and our eternal grandparents, for loving the baby Jesus in a way that only grandparents can. To them I entrust all grandparents. I entrust also to these great Saints those whom I love the most who are no longer in my life, that they will come to know, to love, and to serve the Lord so that they will be with Him for eternity. That the Lord will put the people in their lives that will assist them in this journey since I can no longer assist them in that capacity.
I am thankful to Saint Joseph for his example of how a real Catholic Man is called to carry himself. To him I entrust my enemies, fallen-away Catholics, and those who practice sorcery and worship false gods, especially Satan.
To Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of my homeland of Ireland, I pray that the Emerald Isle will reject the rampant secularism that has infected it and return to Jesus and his teachings. I thank him for his martyrdom and love of Jesus.
I thank Saint Peter, the great “Rock” of our Church, for his courage and leadership, for his “1st man into the fire” mentality, and of course for his martyrdom. To him I entrust our nuns. I entrust to him our bishops, who I must say have largely been an enormous disappointment, particularly in recent years. I pray too for Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict, that they will carry out their duties as the Vicar of Christ with the same passion and fortitude as the first to assume that most holy of Chairs.
I’m thankful for the Saint Rita, the “Patroness of Impossible Causes,” and I entrust to her those struggling with infertility, victims of abuse ~ physical, mental and sexual, and all widows and widowers. I also seek her intercession for an increase in adoptions and a decrease in abortions.
I’m thankful to Saint John XXIII for his rapier wit and kindness as well as his vision in orchestrating Vatican II. I entrust to him all of my dearly departed and pray for all of those who are dealing with change in their lives, that they may bring the same aplomb and Holy Spirit-infused wisdom to their particular situation as he did.
And finally, I am thankful for the “Little Flower,” the great Saint Terese of Lisieux, and I entrust to her all those who are battling anxiety as well as the members of the many great prayer groups that I am blessed to be a part of.
“Let us turn to the example of the saints,” said the great Josemaria Escriva, he who would go on to achieve Sainthood in his own right. “They were people like us, flesh and bone, with failings and weaknesses, who managed to conquer and master themselves for the love of God. Let us consider their lives and, like bees who distill precious nectar from each flower, we shall learn from their struggles.”
I wish you all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, and I urge you to heed the words of Saint Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians when he said “In all circumstances, give thanks,for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:18).