The Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. (Ephesians 3:6)
A few years back, a website came to my attention whose mission it is to match people with a patron saint for the year. The website is http://yourpatronsaint.blogspot.com/. The claim on the website is that your patron saint actually chooses you. The concept is based on this excerpt from the Diary of St. Faustina:
“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn’t read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 – the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”
That first year, my patron saint for the year was a saint I had never heard of—St. Emmeram. As it turned out I had a special connection with the saint. His feast day, September 22, happened to be the anniversary date of my son’s death. I felt it was a confirmation and that he had indeed chosen me. I did a little study of the saint and found he died as a martyr in around the year 652. What a blessing to have a martyr for a patron saint for the year!
The following year I requested a new patron saint, and was chosen by Saint Honoratus, another little-known saint. (I did not let go of St. Emmeram however!) Perhaps it would be tempting to think that there is more merit in being chosen by a more well-known saint. However, I think that these little-known saints must be just waiting to be invoked, and would be most willing to be of assistance. Who calls on St. Emmeram and St. Honoratus these days? Only me I suspect.
We are richly blessed in the Catholic Church in that our tradition encourages veneration of the saints and angels. They are our holy helpers and friends. They are guardians of a rich treasury of merits that they most willingly share with us if we but ask. They are our staunchest allies and our truest friends, especially in these dangerous times.
We have all no doubt heard the words of St. Thérèse of Lisieux: “I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.” There are also the words of St. Dominic on his deathbed: “Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.” Praised be Jesus for these words of comfort and for allowing his saints to participate in this way in his plan for humanity.
Then there is St. Brother André Bessette, the “Miracle Man of Montreal”, canonized in 2010. He had a great devotion to St. Joseph, and by that devotion was credited with over 10,000 miracles while he was alive, including my grandmother who was healed of deafness at the age of four. Brother André died in 1937 at the age of 91. Before he died, his congregation were heartbroken at having to go on without him. He replied, “When someone does good on earth, it’s nothing in comparison with what he’ll be able to do when he gets to Heaven.” (He is a saint well worth getting to know! You can read a good article here: http://catholicexchange.com/st-andre-bessettes-wondrous-miracles. There is also an EWTN special on him airing on January 16, titled GOD’S DOORKEEPER – SAINT ANDRE OF MONTREAL.)
Our sainted brothers and sisters are one with Jesus in heaven, a fact we would do well to ponder more often. The nature of heaven is unity, and we are called to participate in that unity even while on earth. What glory is ours through the gratuitous generosity of God! He allows mere humans to participate in his generosity and arms them with the invincible power of his love.
Some time ago in prayer, I felt the Lord giving me a new word: “Gloriana”. I discerned the meaning of this word to be: “The angels and saints in perfect communion with the Blessed Trinity; the perfect unity of heaven.” Since learning this word, I often feel called to invoke the assistance of the Gloriana or to offer God the gratitude of the Gloriana for all his many blessings, most especially for the gift of holy communion.
God is waiting to shower blessings upon us through the saints and angels. As a new year begins, let us all re-connect with the Gloriana, that blessed community of love whose origin and strength is God himself. May God bless you and yours abundantly through every circumstance in the coming year.