Of Saints Celebrities and Superheroes

I have met some saints. I mean real saints, not just, “Oh, Mildred Horton, she’s a real saint.” sort of saints. I met Mother Theresa and bumped into Pope John Paul II once in the Vatican, but I’ve met a couple of other people who I’m convinced were genuine, authentic the real thing saints too. Both of them have died, and I believe they are in heaven fighting battles on earth just like the saints are supposed to.

These were living people who I met who are now saints, but I’ve met some of the other kind too–the ones who went to heaven long ago, and who you can make friends with here below. I’m thinking of Therese and Benedict and John Bosco and Francis de Sales. I’ve felt in touch with them. Known their wisdom and their friendship and their encouragement and their help.

It getting to know the saints it seems to me that they are the perfect antidote to the celebrity culture (or should I say cult) that so many in our world fall prey to. See, we want not just role models, but we want individuals who are greater than we are. We want superheroes, if you like. We want people who can do great things. We want people who are perfect who can be our models and our mentors. Sad children that we are, so many of us invest in a pop star or a movie star or a politician or a priest. We want that person to epitomize all our hopes and dreams. We want to live vicariously through them. We want them to be a superhero to us and stand radiantly tall as the model for us all.

But celebrities are shallow and superheroes are not real. Meanwhile, within the economy of salvation the good God gives us exactly what we do need: ordinary people who really have become perfect. Ordinary people who really have assumed otherworldly powers. Ordinary people who have become extraordinary people. They have become super powers in the universe by God’s grace. More than mere celebrities, the saints have unlocked heaven and opened the door for us. By becoming all that they were made to be, they show us all that we are made to be.

Each saint is a unique and marvelous image of Christ fulfilled. How different are all the saints.  Therese Martin or Gemma Galgani or Maria Gorretti or Agnes or Lucy or Cecilia–little girls. Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assissi and Bonaventure and Bruno–scholars and monks and mendicants. Or Francis Xavier and Maximillian Kolbe and Ignatius Loyola and Isaac Joques–missionaries and martyrs and men of steel.

These are the ones who are on our side, and next to them what is a celebrity? A pale counterfeit, a fake, a leaf on the wind.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11593478869001856015 gothmog

    Maybe the two can be combined, at least the way this bloke writes. *WARNING: Harsh Language Alert*http://www.badassoftheweek.com/stmoses.html(Note; I have no affiliation with the above site, I just get a laugh from it every now and then.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04858432962799713867 in awe

    Catholic Online will send a "Saint of the Day" to your e-mail. Makes for inspirational reading first thing in the morning.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08383178253798427977 Anthony Brett Dawe

    i've known lots of saints:women who spent their lives looking after not only their own families but whole villagesmen who assisuously gave of their time and treasure to build churches to the glory of God and didn't ever ask for thanksin short stewards of God's grace who freely gave of what they freely had receivedthey cast their bread on the water and, sure enough, it returned just the good Lord said it would.today one hears bicker, bicker, bicker ad nauseum'We cannot do great things, only small things with great love'-Mother Teresa of CalcuttaIf we all actually did the above the world would soon, as it has in the past, see the goodness of God not in mortal frames but in the Triune God.but we don't… so i read history and pray for a better time with some few not so inured to vanity and self-absorption.that would be good…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01715690632758132549 Denita

    One of my patrons is St. Dymphna, the patron of those with mental illness, who chose death rather than commit incest with her father.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00524286167561633078 Men’s Grief Blogspot

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15834914537026166447 ered103132

    I think Anthony is onto something. If each of us follow the Little Way taught by St. Therese of Lisieux and articulated so well by Mother Teresa – of living every moment of our lives in great love as an offering to God – then we will either end up becoming the saints our times so desperately need, or at least growing closer. Jesus said the one who is faithful in small matters will be given charge over large ones. That's the challenge – to get started on those small matters. Maybe if we consider them as lessons in learning to discover use our superpowers? 8-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02704944620839677383 Maria

    Who is man but a leaf, sport for the wind–St. Ignatius of LoyolaCareful, Padre…


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