By: Megan Naumovski
Try to quickly name the five first people you consult for advice when you have an important life decision to make. Look around your desk or your home and notice if you have pictures of these people in a frame or a photo album, or perhaps on your phone? My top five are usually at the top of my email, texts and phone call scrolls.
Now, imagine that those people who you so admire and consult often were perfected; they were unable to make mistakes. How much more would you value their support and guidance? How must deeper of a trusting relationship could be forged with those whom you knew could never direct you toward a detriment or misguide you in any way? These people would have complete purity of intention in cultivating your success. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? We could call them a “dream team” because there are more powerful in a group, and they are all on the same side: yours. “They” are our advocates, the saints. And the Captain of every team? Jesus Christ.
Consulting the Dream Team…
My mom had a friend who never decided anything without consulting her group of favorite saints, which she called her “dream team”. Over the years she had read about various saints of the Catholic Faith and was especially inspired by many of them. She kept a keychain handy with medals of her saintly friends. When it was time to consider even the smaller decisions of her life, she would excuse herself with “I will be right back; I have to consult the team.” Soon after, we started to notice people wearing bracelets with icons of saints around them, and we called them “team bracelets”.
Not only do we choose them, they can choose us…
Among our Catholic friends, we sometimes joke (respectfully) that when a certain saint repeatedly appears in our lives by means of social media posts, books, or discussions, we are being “saint stalked”. Like the shepherd seeking the lost sheep with great fervor and devotion, these hard-working servants of God seem to have to use some creative methods to get the attention of their more thick-headed earthly counterparts.
Stalking by a saint seemed silly to me until one day a friend came by for a visit and said “I feel like St Padre Pio is stalking me. I see him everywhere!” About three minutes later I handed her a book she wanted to borrow, and a large picture of Padre Pio fell out of the pages. I had never seen that picture before, and after staring at each other in shock for a few minutes, we attributed it to the zeal for souls for which St Padre Pio was well-known.
Communing verses worshiping…
In the Catholic Church we are often misunderstood to “worship” saints, but what our critics don’t understand is what we have in the “Communion of saints” can be likened to what Protestant believers may call “Fellowship”. The difference is simply that the fellows we hold dear are now on the other side of the veil between Heaven and Earth but are even more active in our own personal lives because they are not bound by earthly limitations, and they are holy.
- The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” [LG 49; cf. 1 Tim 2:5.] From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
August is best known in the Church for the Solemnity of the Assumption, but…
The month of August in the Catholic Church is probably best known for a great Marian feast, the Solemnity of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary, especially because it falls mid-month, on August 15th and is a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Blessed Virgin is always a premier intercessor for anyone seeking a devoted advocate because she is first and foremost, our spiritual mother, whom Jesus gave to us all through John at the foot of the cross. Lesser known, but the focus of this article, are the star-studded set of members for any person’s line-up of saintly friends. Rounding out the end of August are some amazing draft picks for your own saintly “Dream Team”.
August 24: Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite.[a] There is no duplicity in him.” John 1:47
It is thought by scholars that Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, is the one referred to as Nathanael in scripture. Honest and devoted, the few lines of scriptures Nathanael has in the gospels are always clear and sincere, and Christ compliments him for it. According to John 1:49, “Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God;[a] you are the King of Israel.'”
The Patron Saint of Plasters, this saint was said to have converted many souls, which eventually cost him his life, being martyred in Armenia.
August 27: Memorial of St. Monica
Many a struggling mother has enlisted the help of this patron saint who suffered her own share of heartbreak. She persistently prayed and sought deliverance of her son St Augustine, (who we celebrate one day later) as she watched him fall far from God before his astounding conversion. She won over the conversion of her fiery-tempered husband and his mother, who both made life difficult for her but finally were won over by her loving and pious example. As patron saint of Alcoholics, conversions, married women and mothers, many of us find comfort in the steadfast ways of St Monica.
August 28: Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
If we struggle with a temperament that is reactive or impassioned, it may benefit us to call on St Augustine as a member of our own dream team. As outlined particularly in his well-known work, The Confessions, he journeys from an embattled life of sin, to a powerful conversion to become one of the most revered doctors of the Catholic Faith. A powerful group of saints were surround the life of this great thinker and writer, who 1500 years later continues to stoke the fires of theologians and philosophers alike.
“Venerate the martyrs, praise, love, proclaim, honor them. But worship the God of the martyrs.”
–ST. AUGUSTINE, Sermons
August 29: Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
We finalize the late August Dream Team with St John the Baptist; whose unique celebration is described here in the Breviary of “yesterday’s” St Augustine;
“For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace.”
- “The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, [Cf. Heb 12:1 .] especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things.’ [Cf. Mt 25:21.] Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic News Agency, Vatican Archives, USCCB.org, Biblegateway (NABRE), Franciscan Media, Catholicculture.org.
Megan Naumovski is on a mission to remind the world of the love God has for each and every soul, and how that love deserves our response. Every day she is a wife and mom in her domestic church, but in the world she helps lead others to Christ though ministry leadership, teaching, speaking and blogging at The Domestic Church of Bosco, http://boscoworld.blog .