The first time I tried this, I was paired up with St. Vitus. And last year, St. Anthony and I spent some quality time together.
And, you know, I must say that I feel a continuing affinity for these members of my heavenly family. I still chat with them. I really feel like they’re pretty involved in my life. The connections seem to just speak to me. Last year especially, having one of the patrons of pregnant mothers and the patron of lost objects – what a blessing!
So this year I was pretty excited when I sent my email. I was wondering what new friend I would make. I was hectic and overwhelmed and crazy, to be honest. It was right before Christmas.
When I got the email and read it, I shook my head. “Just what do I have in common with those two?” I wondered. “What are we going to talk about? Did they really pick me?”
You see, Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas seem a little remote. They seem a little long-ago-and-far-away. They seem a little not-so-much-like-me.
And that’s why I haven’t mentioned it. Sometimes these things work themselves out. Every so often, waiting to see just how that soft voice keeps speaking is better than just jumping around like a wet sock on a trampoline.
The last few weeks, there have been Epistle readings from Paul’s writings. Last Sunday, that got me thinking about how he was a writer. Hmm.
Then, this morning, as I was reading the devotion after the Mass readings in the Magnificat, I came across this gem by St. Catherine of Siena:
Our helper is God, and he is such that no one can withstand him. As long as we continue to look to this strong loving helper, we cannot be weakened by the thought of our own frailty. It seems this is what that dear lover Paul saw when he said, “I can do all things in Christ crucified, who is in me and strengthens me.” For when Paul felt the annoyance and pricking of the flesh, he found strength not in himself, because he knew he was weak, but in Christ Jesus. It was because of Christ Jesus and that fine strong armor God had given him, his strong freedom, that he could say, “I can do all things.” For neither the devil nor anyone else can force me to commit a single deadly sin against my will. We can never be overcome unless we give up this armor and turn it over to the devil by our willing consent.
Saint Paul, a lover? I went about my daily business today, and the thought of Saint Paul as a lover, as a writer, kept sneaking in around the edges of the chaos. I had a Monday in all its glory, but a writing opportunity popped up and so did this bubble of inspiration that’s been on the edge of my consciousness.
I went and read more about Saint Paul over at the Patron Saints Index. And that reminded me that he was a convert, and a pretty dramatic one. Oh yeah, and he seemed a bit scholarly (he was a Pharisee when he set out on the road to Tarsus, you know). At first glance, he is a hypocrite of a pretty tall order, persecuting Christians and then turning apostle.
Wow. Let’s just say Saint Paul and I could have a cuppa and talk for a while. Lots in common there.
Did I mention he’s a patron of writers, of several different flavors? Did I mention I didn’t know that when I made my resolutions at the beginning of the year?
But what about Barnabas? As it turns out, Saint Barnabas was Saint Paul’s companion, and also a convert. He’s patron against hailstorms (my roof thanks him kindly) and he was invoked as a peacemaker (which spoke to me a little, as I sometimes feel like I am a peacemaker in some situations).
So this year, we’ll see how it goes with two saints. So far, it’s off to a great start!