A Portrait of a Saint

Maria_Magdalene_prayingToday is Halloween which means that tomorrow is All Saints Day-a day we celebrate and honor all the holy men and women who are in heaven not just the ones that have the “St.” in front of their names.

Question-When I say the word “saint”, what comes to mind?

There was a time when I would have answered that question with words like: perfect, serious, pious, and righteous.  That was when my mental image of a saint included eyes cast toward heaven, a solemn expression, and hands clasped in prayer.  I guess my idea of sainthood was pretty superficial but it had a lot to do with the images of saints that I had seen throughout my life.  You know the ones-beautiful artists’ renditions from the Renaissance with the same facial expression on most all of them, the same pose, and the same lack of personality.

Don’t get me wrong.  These images are beautiful and are beautiful reminders of members of our Christian family.  I’ve come to really love and cherish many of these images.  In many ways, though, they’re like a family portrait.  When I get my picture taken, it’s rare that it shows me in motion doing the things I do in a normal day.  You don’t see me driving my kids to school, watching TV, working on the computer, washing dishes, cooking dinner, or even helping my kids with their homework.  You don’t see me spending time with my family laughing and joking.  You don’t see me in my struggles.  You just see a very two-dimensional image of me when I was standing still long enough to have my picture taken.

The challenge for me was to get beyond those superficial images and learn about the individuals behind them and their stories; to get to know them.  Those stories are the ones that helped them become saints and inspire me to become one too.  As I started to learn their stories and get to know these amazing people, I began to relate to them and see myself in their personalities and their faith journeys.  For instance, enthusiasm and a tendency to put our foot in our mouths are two qualities that I share with St. Peter!

So now my idea of sainthood has changed.  I don’t see it as an impossible goal anymore.  I see it as an ambitious goal but a very worthy one.  It’s also a goal that I can get a lot of help on from a VERY powerful friend.  I call Him “Lord” but most of the time, He prefers “Jesus.”

May your journey be blessed!

The Suburban Saint

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