Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What We've Learned From Doing Saints of the Day After Dinner Every Night (And How Not to Have a Superiority Complex)

"Well... that's obviously a wrong theory, because heh... that was my philosophy way back in the day."

This was how a conversation I was having with a fellow blogger started.

I knew it wasn't going to go well. :-p Or end well.

I was just remembering as we had this conversation, that we had some friends of Polish descent in D.C. The Dad was in the grad program with Stephen at CUA.  They named their first born son Stanislaus and called him Stash. Pronounced "Stahsh." I honestly think that is such a cool name, and I'm tucking it away for future ideas! I remember the first time they had us over for dinner. Laura made steak-frites (homemade french fries and steak) and I saw tons of games on their shelves. I was impressed to learn that they were really big into playing Settlers of Catan and Chess together as husband and wife. Laura also goes down in history as the person who said to me, "I think the coolest thing about being Catholic is that I can 'go get some Jesus' any time I want!" --and I remember thinking, "Someday, I'm going to understand what she means!!!"

Recently we read the Saint of the Day reading in Lives of the Saints after dinner. We encourage our children to be saints, but not necessarily to become martyrs who die a violent death.  If the saint has a violent death, we omit any details related to that. Kinda keeps the water a little more still. Ya know? ;) This reading of saints' lives is now something our kids have come to expect every single night, and wouldn't you know, Madeleine reminds us when we forget now!

April 11 is the Feast Day of St. Stanislaus. Because of our connection to this name, I was intrigued!

St. Stanislaus:  Patron Saint of Poland.  I'm tempted to just quote the entirety of the reading, but instead, I will attempt to describe and paraphrase the story of this saint to you.

He was born into fortune. He studied as a Jesuit in Paris. He returned to Poland, as Priest, and was soon made Bishop. As the Bishop of Poland, he confronted the King for his wrong ways. When the King of Poland would not reform his ways, St. Stanislaus excommunicated him from the Catholic Church.

As St. Stanislaus was praying in a little chapel, the King of Poland entered with some guards. He asked the guards to murder Stash right there in the chapel, and when they wouldn't do it, the King murdered him with his own hands.

We need the wisdom of the saints as the antidote in our age. I thought of the fellow blogger- mentioned at the beginning of this post- as I was doing further reading about this interesting male saint. She seemed to think that any thing I offered was incorrect! She seemed to laugh in my face, no matter what I said or did! "I'm human too," I wanted to remind her, and "I am not perfect, but please don't look at me like I'm crazy and stupid."

Perhaps, God was bringing this saint into my mind to give me comfort at that moment.  Sometimes, blogging can be hard because we are jealous. We see the high reels of others' lives, and we in turn feel inadequate. The jealousy makes me think it isn't worth it. But sometimes, it is the mean and hurtful comments online are worse- they are what make me want to all but disappear from social media channels. I could honestly say " I quit right now" on so many days, due to a hurt ego and my hurt pride.

But perhaps on the other side of the screen, behind the appearance of a Mom who has it all together, that Mom who told me to "Can it" or wants to tell me to quit? Perhaps she is or was struggling with something. Perhaps my comments to her brought up her pride. Perhaps she was looking down on me because in her spiritual blindness, she could not see her own offenses.

Sometimes, our involvement on the internet is a little one-sided. We want more followers, more comments, more pageviews. But then, when we get it, it's hard not to feel a little superior, amirite? ;) But would we really act that way in our own living rooms, with the people we are really with in person?  Would we count likes? Would we try to gather followers in our own homes? Recently on the Jamie Ivey podcast, she reminded us that Jesus only had 12 disciples. But did he ever stop to count his likes, followers, friends, and #tweets? As I recall, Jesus told us to count our apologies.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 (70 x 7) Perhaps the reason for online rudeness or competitiveness- and dare I mention- lacking in common courtesy at any opportunity- is rooted in pride or the desire for acceptance and followers. Possibly, people can simply become blind to the ways we miss the entry to heaven that's the size of the eye of a needle, because our own desire for acceptance is camel-sized! ;)  For a lack of true community, deliver us Jesus.

And as one last thought for you on this beautiful day: perhaps it is not autonomy or independence that we lack in our culture. Perhaps it is the virtue that must go hand in hand with work and affluence.

Jesus said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Mt. 19:24

England superimposed on the U.S. of A | W. Europe superimposed on a map of the Eastern U.S. 

 St. Stanislaus, pray for us!

Adding my link to the ACWB and Tuesday Talk


Jessica Sweet Little Ones said...

Yes, yes, yes. I've come to learn this through my work with my patients in the dental field. It's so hard! Studying Mother Teresa helped me the most! She was humble and saw the Face of Christ in everyone. How beautiful. I really loved this post so I'll be featuring in on Facebook and Tuesday Talk this week. Thanks for linking up every week! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

Tacy said...

Aw, thanks! It is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. So that means a lot! :0)

AnneMarie Miller said...

I think it is the neatest thing that y'all read the Saint of the Day after dinner!! I may just borrow that idea sometime ;) This is an awesome reflection, and I really like how you mention counting apologies instead of "likes" or "followers"-wow, what a powerful reminder to be humble and truly seek God first instead of only wanting our own glory! Thank you for this post, Tacy!