|Tim and Saint John Paul II.|
I love the sacraments. How could I not love the sacraments?
I love the wideness of the Church. I love the orders. I love that within a single Church there exists myriad devotions and spiritual bents -- the Dominicans, the Carmelites, the Franciscans, to name just a few.
I especially love the Missionaries of Charity with whom I worked for more summers than I can easily count.
The Missionaries of Charity love the saints, and they helped me to love them, too.
We recently recognized the Feast of Saint Joseph. A busy guy, Saint Joseph is patron saint of quite a lot -- husbands and fathers, workers and vocations, marriages and grace-filled deaths. My friend Rachel encouraged mothers of young men to ask for Saint Joseph's intercession as they find their way in the world. (Rachel just returned from a tour of Israel. I had asked her to remember all our boys during her visit to the Wailing Wall).
On New Years Day, I gathered the kids around my laptop and headed to Jen Fulweiler's Saints' Name Generator to find a saint of the year for each of us. John was first up. He said a brief prayer and pressed the button. "Saint Sigismund of Burgundy," the screen read, "Patron: Against fevers."
I did a double take, as would anyone who has known John for long. About ten years ago, at around 12-18 months, John began running sky-high, cyclical fevers. His highest was 104.6 (in the middle of the night, on an island in Lake Erie). A good time was had by all! His fever episodes peaked around 2nd grade when they came relentlessly every twenty-one days and lasted 48-72 hours. Fever, vomiting, sore throat, a mouthful of canker sores -- John suffered.
He hasn't run a fever since New Years Day.
Heaven is for real. The Saints -- the canonized ones with the big "S" along with the unheralded, unnoticed ones who simply persevered in faith, hope, and love -- are there with Almighty God ready, much like our friends here on earth, to intercede for all our needs -- for lost keys (thanks, Saint Anthony!, for lost souls (Saint Jude!), for a feverish little boy suffering on the couch (Saint Sigismund!).