Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011.11.30 A Family Saints Day

When I was a young teen and panting with romanticism, I admired Roman Catholics, actually envied them because they had stuff— like beads and prayers and saints names and days. They also prayed, to a woman of all things. AND they had answers to any religio-spiritual questions I might ask. And I had plenty of questions. I felt we Protestants were deprived.

But what I loved the most is that these Catholics had a whole array of saints, one for every issue and ailment and prayer concern you could think of. They even each had a saints name. I thought that was elegant, so personal. There was no saint Lyn.

Of course later when I took instructions to join the Roman Catholic church I found out they didn’t think much of women, except the statuary kind.

So I found the ANGLO-Catholic Episcopal church where there were beads that were optional, or less compulsively omniscient, and a liturgy that made me swoon almost as much as the Latin Mass. But here I had to wrestle with what all these mysterious words meant. It grew me up into a priest.

I made my own beads and use them when I’m dead tired or deeply desperate and wordless.

And I picked out a few saints to personalize according to meaningful days in my life and family. One was St. Andrew whose holy day is today.

Andrew was a nice and curious guy, a disciple of John the Baptist who suggested he meet this Jesus. Eagerly Andrew went to investigate. Then, according to the biblical story in John’s gospel, Andrew rushed back to fetch his bro Simon Peter.

Andrew never made it into Jesus’ circle of intimates. He wasn’t the type to aspire to the episcopate. Maybe he was lucky. After all look what became of Peter. Who would want to be pope?

But Andrew recognized a good thing like forgiveness and the God of love Rabbi Jesus preached, as a good way of life to follow. And he didn't get possessive with his new way but shared it immediately.

Andrew is patron saint to Scotland, part of our family heritage, but that’s not why I chose him as one of our family saints. I chose Andrew because on this day, 10 years ago, my two sons nearly died in a car accident. God didn’t save them, they were plumb lucky. But God I believe worked transformation in their souls after their shared trauma.

In time and with gratitude these brothers supported and led each other into a new way of life.

Each person finds his or her way to truth and holiness, and some people do it together.