Which saint challenges you the most?

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

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!

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4 thoughts on “Which saint challenges you the most?

  1. I’ve considered this, that the behavior and actions of Saints can be everything from intimidating to confounding. My Patroness this year is St. Mary of Egypt. She confuses me, because the nature of such an extreme conversion – and all of them are, aren’t they? – doesn’t always lead one to the life of a penitent, we like to talk about it and have people notice us and say “how great for you!”. She, on the other hand, goes out to the desert to live the life of a kind of untamed religious. Her funeral was said to be assisted by a lion. Crazy. I’m not doing that.

    I think it’s all tied to the same thing – would I lay down my life for it? I don’t know. Not yet, I don’t think. I’ll second your prayer.

  2. It’s so difficult to live a life totally centered on God–not on others’ opinions of me, not on my pleasures, not even on my own spiritual consolations. I know how inadequate I am in this regard, and somebody like Mary of Egypt really forces me to confront those inadequacies. It’s easy to dismiss her by saying “well that’s not my vocation” or “hermits seem so selfish and morbid,” but that would be wrong. Even if I’m not meant to go live in the desert, I do need to share her thirst for God and her rejection of everything that is not God.

    I guess the saints who make us the most uncomfortable are the ones we really need to learn from.

  3. I guess the saints who make us the most uncomfortable are the ones we really need to learn from.

    This. You’ve made me think harder – I have forfeited a friendship and a family relationship over Catholic teaching (or rather, my becoming Catholic). I miss them both. But really, I miss the general Prot acceptance I used to consider essential, but ultimately it’s vanity. Being in the desert is such a vast concept, “share her thirst” is a perfect consolidation of the importance, though.

  4. ” I have forfeited a friendship and a family relationship over Catholic teaching (or rather, my becoming Catholic).”

    Wow, I certainly haven’t done that. But that gives me an idea for a post about how I need to do more.

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