Some saints are easy to love. Just flip through a stack of prayer cards, and you’ll find yourself smiling at some of the pictures: gentle St. Francis caressing a bird, and beautiful St. Therese with a rose, and St. Anthony hugging a child. Their haloes seem to radiate organically from their inner light.
Some saints might be harder to love, but we can still easily recognize their importance. Crotchety old St. Jerome may not be everyone’s favorite saint, but we can all acknowledge that Western Civilization is better off with the Vulgate.
Some saints, however, really challenge us in our understanding of the faith.
St. Tarcisius died protecting the Blessed Sacrament. This is the logical conclusion of belief in the Real Presence–after all, who wouldn’t die to protect the body of Christ? And I believe in the Real Presence, don’t I? I mean, I bow to the tabernacle where it is kept, kneel to receive it, and pray that these verses won’t apply to me: “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29).
And yet, I don’t think I would lay down my life for it. I still don’t have the faith to fully perceive the body of Christ behind the sacramental veils.
St. Tarcisius, pray for our Eucharistic faith!