I will officially become a Catholic this Sunday, and need to come to a conclusion about what Saint will accompany me…
I’m not asking for anyone else to choose for me, but I’m running into some issues. There are those who are well-known, and those who are lesser. There are those who are in your profession and those who are not. There are those who don’t share much in common with you but go through a similar story via analogy. And there are those who you don’t much relate with at all, but still just admire.
I’m not sure what I should focus on.
I’m 33, been a Protestant all of my life and am converting to Catholicism. Much of my adult protestant life wasn’t devout. I didn’t truly “seek” Him. I drank a lot, I was unchaste constantly, I was brash. Catholicism inspired me. Gave me true authority, made me devout, to seek chastity, and begin to embrace kindness in more areas (humor can really muddy the waters).
Anyways, Augustine might be the cliche Saint for me. He carries so much weight as far as what I am, and his thoughts are so well expressed. However, there are other stories out there that I find myself mesmorized by.
St. Symeon - “the Stylite”
Kicked out of the first monastery he joined after he abstained from food and water throughout Lent until he completely passed out. He then spent a year and a half in a small hut, where he again went without eating and drinking for all of Lent. When he emerged from the hut alive, it was considered a miracle. After leaving his hut, Symeon moved to a small cave that was less than 20 meters in diameter. He sought solitude at the cave, but crowds of pilgrims began gathering outside the cave, seeking his counsel and prayers. Symeon felt he didn’t have enough time to dedicate to his worship, so he then moved onto a 13-foot-tall pillar in Syria. While living there, his only sustenance came from boys in the village who would climb up the pillar and provide him with bread and milk. Throughout the next 39 years, he continually moved up to higher and higher pillars. Eventually, his last pillar was over 50 feet tall. Keep in mind that this was in Syria, where the weather can range from over 100 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.Symeon eventually passed away on his pillar. After his death, many other worshipers followed his example and, for a while, seeing Christians living atop a pillar was a common sight in Syria. These days, Symeon still holds the Guinness Record for longest pole sitting session.
St. Genisius - “Going Native”.
*an actor who went about making a play for Emperor Dio that mocked Christianity during Rome’s banishment of it. He did this to seek favor with the Emperor and fame and fortune for himself. He risked his life infiltrating a Christian church, became confirmed and baptized. The Emperor’s visit finally came, and the play was going off smashingly. Then, Genisius, in a “Paul Moment”, was inspired to stop the play, and witness straight to the Emperor about the power and authority if God. He was quickly killed. *
Banished from Rome and forced to serve in a stone quarry in Russia. Upon arriving, Clement discovered the prisoners were being denied water and were dying of thirst. He then saw a lamb on a hill and struck the ground where the lamb stood with his pick axe, releasing a gushing stream of water. The miracle resulted in many of the prisoners immediately converting to Christianity. As a punishment for this deed, the soldiers working at the mine tied Clement to an anchor and threw him from a boat into the Black Sea. When Clement’s followers went to recover his body, the sea drew back three miles and Clement’s remains were discovered to already be enclosed in a stunning shrine. On the anniversary of the date every year after, the sea would again pull back and reveal his shrine. One year, a woman’s son got stuck in the shrine after the sea rolled back in. A year later, the boy was discovered to be completely unharmed, still asleep in the shrine.
Eventually, Clement’s bones were removed; they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome.
Those are just a few.
Can you see my dillemma? Sometimes one can overthink things. Do I just go throughout the week and see which one “sticks”?
I will say this, even though I now search heavily before my big day, I already knew about Augustine and his “Confessions”, which speak much to my acceptance of sin and suffering of depression in my life.