Searching the net for something different to read, I stumbled on Fr James Martin’s “Who Cares About Saints”. O happy chance! It only served to reinforce a conviction that there is no such thing as coincidence or synchronicity. The Holy Spirit writes and moves on, having alerted the sensitivities already blessed by and receptive to the movement. I was already receptive, having been converted by “Jesus”, and confirmed at “The Abbey”. I just naturally fell into the harmony of insights and the deceptively simple narrative, with frequent exclamations like, “I’ve been here”!
Still not many pages from the front cover, I do believe the book was written for sojourners such as I. Thank you father for providing the quails and dew frost for the way. For a long time, I had wondered why St Jude, a popular saint in India with a major shrine in my home state, had not resonated with me. Now, I can see that different saints appeal differently to different people at different times. Our Lady and St Anthony had so completely absorbed my devotional time, it left little space for other pious souls still serving the Lord through their intercessions.
Joan of Arc, true soldier and saint, took up arms against the floods of foreign rulers and the male dominated hierarchy of her time. She has been vindicated- something like Mary Mackillop in Australia. I have not prayed for her intercessions, as I do from others, but she remains a source of admiration and inspiration for any who feel hard done by the establishment.
For years I pictured myself as Job sitting on a mountain of ashes, fatalistically murmuring, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away”! His faith has motivated souls since before Jesus. But, the lesson brought home by St Therese of Lisieux, provides a calmness, possible in the complete surrender to Jesus through love. God is not an object of a duality; He is a beloved who became part of us, and in us transforms sufferings into serenity and joy.
I was introduced to The Seven Storied Mountain, by a non-Catholic tutor, in my freshman year at Uni. Merton visited several times in the years to come, each time progressively more frustrating and confounding. But, from Merton I learned that I had to find ground. I chose the way of the Franciscans, who appealed to my heart, that rules my head. Lord was in His heaven and all was well with the world. But, chance played a role again. At a second hand book shop I found a DIY version of “The Spiritual Exercises”. It soon had my feet astride two parallel paths, but I could see no conflict in it. I am further comforted that the mix-and-match receives blessing from the highest source in Rome!