Amy Smith is the Register’s associate editor, editing features for the “Culture of Life” section. She started writing about everything from Jane Austen to saints for the Register in 2005 and joined the staff as copy editor in 2008. Her writing has appeared in various other Catholic publications. She has a master’s degree in journalism and a B.A. in English.
I seek the aid of saints on a daily basis, from storming heaven for discernment and direction to querying the ever-helpful St. Anthony when something is lost, and I am so grateful for such holy help. And, of late, I have sought out my friends above in particularly heartrending occasions and important moments of decision.
I feel close to my friends the saints, even if many of them lived long ago. They are with God, and I know they understand daily life here below, with all of its joys and sorrows and everything in between. There is no difficulty or joy that they do not understand. They worked; they grieved; they rejoiced — and they can help us along life’s journey toward our heavenly goal. That is something for which to be most thankful.
And always present is Mary, Queen of Saints, who is also a constant source of heavenly aid. I am particularly close to her in my devotion through the Memorare prayer — because “never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.”
As I have found, our heavenly helpers do indeed work for God through their intercession — in small and large ways, and even sometimes in blessed and unexpected ways.
We may find kinship with certain saints due to their charisms, patronages, personalities or life experiences. Others we may admire due to their faith-filled courage.
When I need help at work as a journalist, I seek the aid of St. Francis de Sales, who advised, “Bloom where you are planted.” For me, that means going about my editing and writing work well. Whatever your work, seek out your patron. Are you a teacher? Look to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Are you a lawyer? Look to St. Thomas More (he is also a good patron for those who need aid in standing up for truth).
Love in Little Things
When I need to remember to trust God even in the little things, I turn to St. Thérèse and her “Little Way” of simplicity and love in littleness. She is also most helpful in her “shower of roses.” I have received consolation and reassurance through a red rose more than a time or two. Thank you, Little Flower! She understood gratitude well: “It is the spirit of gratitude which draws down upon us the overflow of God’s grace … for no sooner have we thanked him for one blessing than he hastens to send us 10 additional favors in return,” she wrote to her sister Celine, as recounted in My Sister Saint Thérèse by Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face (Celine Martin).
“Then, when we show our gratitude for these new gifts,” the Little Flower continues, “he multiplies his benedictions to such a degree that there seems to be a constant stream of divine grace ever coming our way. This has been my own personal experience; try it out for yourself and see. For all that Our Lord is constantly giving me, my gratitude is boundless, and I try to prove it to him in a thousand different ways.”
As Celine recounted, “One day, when I was lamenting the fact that God seemed to have abandoned me completely, Thérèse energetically admonished me: ‘Oh! Don’t speak like that. You know that at times I, too, become perplexed about circumstances or the turn of events, but I try to keep on smiling; I even turn to Our Lord and say thank you. We are disloyal to his love whenever we do not trust him completely.’”
Ever-Present, Everlasting Aid
When I need a reminder to live well the present moment, I look to St. Gianna, who strove to “live holy the present moment” and knew that happiness is linked to gratitude. I appreciate her example as a professional working woman — a pediatrician — who was also a wife and a mother and defender of the unborn. I seek her aid when I need her prayers for sick loved ones, too.
If you enjoy baking as much as I do, draw close to St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
If you love the Divine Mercy message and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, look to St. Faustina. As she wrote in her diary as encouragement: “Pure love ... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love — love, and always love.”
Many people share my devotion to St. John Paul II. His charism is easy to love. I rely on his copious words of encouragement and holy example. From his clandestine time in seminary to his travels as pope, he knew well the source of hope, instructing the young: “Never, ever give up on hope; never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”
Patron Saints of 2019
Indeed, the saints are our holy models.
“The example of the saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God,” Benedict XVI said on All Saints’ Day 2006. He also reminded the faithful that the Church seeks to recall how “the saints are friends and models of life for us.”
We can see in our friends the saints what it means to live as God’s children in the holiest of ways. As Pope St. Clement I noted well: “Follow the saints, because those who follow them will become saints.”
These holy friends, who live forever with God, show us the way here below. They show us how to live well. As the new year begins, consider picking a saint for 2019 — draw close to him or her and learn about that uniquely holy life. What can you learn from this particular saint’s life this year?
All you holy men and women, pray for us! Thank you for inspiring us in our own call to holiness!
Amy Smith is the
Register’s associate editor.
A new book that is helpful in learning about the saints and incorporating them into your daily family life is The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney; Ignatius Press, 2018; available via Amazon.com, or Ignatius.com or (800) 651-1531.