I got involved in a discussion the other evening with some (real) friends on facebook about S. Teresa – or rather,, S. Teresa and S. Therése; and whilst the general feeling was that they were both ‘special’, one said that she liked S. Teresa, but really wasn’t all that wild about S. Therése : which upon consideration was a viewpoint I realized I share . . . I know that S. Therése is a lovely and holy Saint; the problem is that she just doesn’t really ‘grab’ me; although I have to admit that I don’t really know why.
Thinking about it a bit more, though, I realized that I do have ‘preferred’ Saints, and also those who simply don’t do much for me; which led me to recognize the accuracy of the friend who pointed out that it’s probably inevitable that we don’t all go for the same saints . . . and to consider my own ‘hit list’.
I suppose it’s inevitable that S. Dominic is one of mine : it’s why I chose him for one of my Confirmation Names when I was received, because he was a dynamic person who wanted to convey the love and mercy of God to all, always, and everywhere . . . and whilst I certainly can’t claim to meet his incredible standard of speaking always ‘either of God or to God’, I can at least accept him as a standard to aspire to – and feel loved by him as a very humble wanna-be follower in a small way.
Equally, I love S. Philip Neri because he managed to guide so many people to a near-perfect standard in balancing religious and secular life : in living in the world, and doing things of the world, and yet remaining constantly focussed upon, and effective in, their worldly activities . . . and thus providing a good example to those about them. I’m sure I’m nothing like good enough to justify my fondness for him : but I’m very privileged to feel able even to speak directly to him from time to time during Oratory prayers, and I find him such a valuable exemplar to so many nowadays.
Number three ? Well, I have to say that – perhaps somewhat bizarrely – I have a soft spot for S. Ælred of Rievaulx : something which stems from my discovery, a few years ago, that he had a very great belief in the merits of deep friendships as a meritorious and valuable way for people to approach Christ and Christian life generally . . . reading De Spiritali Amicitia is a fascinating exercise, and gives one a very valuable grasp on how to benefit from, rather than be corrupted by, ones friendships, and how to develop them to the enduring benefit of both.
Now . . . I could obviously carry on with a lengthy list : and I think I may from time to time put up a short post about other Saints whom I cherish : but it seems to me that it might also be fun to know what other people think about this.
At the same time I don’t like the idea of putting a burden onto people willy-nilly : so all I am going to say is that it would be lovely to hear from you, either in the Comments section or – for those who have their own blogs – in your blog, with a link in the Comments section . . . so that we can all share with, and learn from, one another.
I wait with interest . . .