Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saint of the Day (Sixth revised edition) Ed. Foley & McCloskey

Recently I have been thinking about how each and every one of us is called to become a saint. Scripture passages, conversations with friends, and reading the classic best-seller Saint of the Day (Revised 6th Edition) have all helped me begin to examine this call on a deeper level. I marked each of the pages in this book containing the most applicable and profound statements that could be incorporated in modern day life about what it means to be a saint.
I was recently talking with a friend about how we’re all called to become saints. I find this call rather daunting, especially when I read about the incredible suffering in mind, body, and spirit that many of the saints faced throughout their lives. I wonder if they always seemed as brave and fearless as they come across, at least in short biographies. I’m not afraid to pray that God would make me holy, even though I know significant spiritual cleansing will be a necessary part of the process, but I’m not yet brave enough to pray that God would make me a saint.
I remember thinking the same thing when I made my Encounter with Christ weekend #133 in the Diocese of Richmond back in February 2000. The girl who was my team member at table was praying that God would make her a saint. I found that such an amazing prayer for someone to pray. She certainly wasn’t asking that of God for the fame or the praise that a few saints-to-be have received while still living. I could tell her faith was so strong that she wanted to lay everything she was and could be on the line to serve God.
Deep down I want more than anything else to do God’s will. That’s been tested over and over again in my life. But to pray to be made a saint? I’m not there, yet. I fear the suffering that might be involved. I obviously lack the level of faith and trust necessary to submit willingly to suffering, even ask for it, in order to serve God at my full capacity. Perhaps I’ll get to the point someday, when I’ll be able to pray what she has prayed. Until then, I’ll continue studying the lives of the saints, finding the similarities among them, and try to be more open to the ways the Holy Spirit would like to work in and through me.
Though the lives of the individuals included in this book were vastly different in many ways, each person clearly exemplified what it means to be holy and Christ-like to others. For some, this involved being scholars and teachers, and for others it meant living among and serving the poorest of the poor. Some lived very short, extremely devout lives of suffering and grace before being martyred. Others spent many years on this earth putting their God-given gifts and abilities to use by serving others in whatever places and circumstances to which the Lord led them.
Whether among the laity, virgins, married, consecrated religious, priests, deacons, bishops, or popes, they answered God’s call to bring the Truth into the world, forgetting the price they might have to pay so that others would come to accept and embrace the love of the Lord in giving us His only beloved Son.
Through well-written short biographies, reflections, and quotes, the reader may glean a good first look at the lives of the saints, both those well-known and those lesser-known ones, as well as a handful of Blesseds, and five recently canonized individuals. The book is laid out to be read during the calendar year. There is an index of the saints by name and another one by date. A great deal of Church history is included in the short biographies, since many of these holy men and women were instrumental in the formation of the Catholic Church teachings as we know them today. Also included are Scripture passages, quotes from beatification Masses, and text taken directly from the writings of the saints. I found it especially helpful that anything included that is considered legend instead of fact, was stated as such.
This book is a good synopsis of the lives of many saints that is likely to inspire the reader to come across one or two saints he or she would like to learn more about through additional reading and research. It’s also a fairly good reference for discovering the patron saints of various places, professions, etc.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest written review of the work. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint of the Day (Revised 6th Edition).
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