Category Archives: Saints

On the road to sainthood and not silent about it

hypocrites in church

I had an interesting conversation with a podcast listener about a week ago.  They had listened to some of the podcasts and were accusing me of being “holier than thou” when in fact I was a hypocrite.  Their conclusion was that I was in no position to tell anyone anything related to faith and morals because of my own imperfections.

Were they right?

Saints did not get that way because God zapped them and suddenly all their imperfections were gone.  They are saints because they cooperated with the grace of God and grew in holiness.  Read their stories.  You’ll find real people with real struggles.  You’ll also find that they were still sharing their faith as they struggled.  People didn’t only start listening to them after they had been canonized saints by the Church.  Folks were listening to them the whole time, even in the tough times.

Here’s what I have to say to the ones wishing to point out my faults.  Do I have them?  Loads of imperfections and lots of mistakes are mine on a near daily basis.  Here’s the difference: I don’t claim perfection.  In fact, I tend to use my constant idiocy as proof that God’s grace and mercy still work.  Listen to the podcast often enough and you’ll hear it.  His discipline and correction in my life is proof to me that God still loves me and wants me to be part of his kingdom.  Otherwise, He’d leave me alone to pursue whatever and end up dead and separated from Him forever.  But He doesn’t.

I’m not perfect.  I sin often.  But I go to confession.  I do penance.  I work at growing in holiness.  All the while I share the faith. I’m fortunate to have been taught a great deal by the saints, my pastors, my spiritual director, and scads of good books.  When I fail I cannot plead ignorance.  So I struggle on.  God has been good to me, not only to forgive me and put me on the right path, but also to provide me with a community in which to grow.

For those who wish to be left alone and not be faced with a moral obligation, be it from me, the Pope, or anyone else, let me encourage you to avoid isolation.  Let me further encourage you to seek Christian community where you can be challenged to be the person you were created to be.  Community makes the difference, and you need it as much as I do.

Chances are good that there are opportunities for building community in your home parish, and there are good places online to find additional folks to help you with whatever you might be facing.  Of course, you can always hook up with us at The Tactical Catholic Podcast or any of the programs at the Fiat Ministry Network.  We would love to talk to you, pray with you, and get to know you.  Just don’t go at it alone.

And don’t wait until you’re perfect before you share your faith.  Your real struggles might be the key to helping someone else find the hope they need.

 

I’m proud to be Irish, and you’re welcome!

saint patrick of irelandSt. Patrick’s Day is upon us and plenty of people across the United States will use today as an excuse to do things that are certainly NOT Irish or related to this slave become saint of the emerald isle. Regardless of your stance on alcohol, there is never a justification for drunkenness.  Drunkenness is a sin and we stand opposed to it.  Furthermore, we oppose the early American prejudice and caricature of the Irish as drunkards, propagated as a justification to not hire them.

Be you reminded that a great number of Ireland’s men and women came across this pond looking for enterprise and freedom long before the potato famine.  My family was one of that first batch who helped to establish the colonies and who fought in this nation’s revolutionary war to gain independence.  It is a crying shame that when our former countrymen came to America in a time of such great need as the potato famine that they were treated so very poorly.  Nevertheless, the Irish found ways to rise above their humble circumstance and to achieve great things in this land of opportunity.

I will claim a tie to Saint Patrick, not because I am a native Irishman, because I am not.  My family moved to Ireland from Scotland as farmers. Then they moved to the United States. My tie to Saint Patrick is the bond of faith.  Patrick was a slave who found Christ and then returned to the land of his imprisonment as a missionary and Bishop.  His goal was to see men and women embrace the faith that had changed his life for the better.  As imperfect and sinful as I am, my goal is to point men and women toward the faith that is daily changing my life.  I’m no saint, but I want to be one, and through the encouragement of this great cloud of witnesses such as Saint Patrick, I believe I have a good shot.

Today, while others are doing stupid things, let us exercise wisdom in our revelry.  Let us use opportunities like this to share our living faith in the one true hope, Jesus Christ.

Feast of St Polycarp of Smyrna, Bishop and Martyr

polycarp

St Polycarp, picture of true Catholic manliness, pray for us!

I love St Polycarp. This courageous Bishop of Smyrna (present day Izmir, Turkey) led his flock with grace and integrity. He taught them to hold fast to the Faith, particularly to the Eucharist. This disciple of John led by example, even unto his martyrdom.

I encourage you to read his letters. They are a major reason I am Catholic today. St Polycarp showed me the first century Church that we see blossoming in the book of Acts. He made me question my presuppositions regarding authority, worship, and sacraments.

His greatest lesson to me, however, is his resilience. Polycarp, at age 86, would not give in to the smallest concession to the false gods of the Roman Empjre. No, he stood strong, facing their threats with gusto, and even a little “ain’t skeert” swagger. Read the accounts of his martyrdom.

St Polycarp, you are the man. Thank you for opening my eyes to see the Church you love so much and our heavenly feast in the Eucharist. Pray for us.

All Hallows Eve, Vigil of All Saints Day

Tonight is the vigil of All Saints Day, All Hallows Eve. Time to let the kids dress up and enjoy their Hallow E’en.

Here’s my question:

Who is your Patron Saint and why?

Comment or Tweet. It’s fun to share.

 

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