Many years ago, I learned a custom from my spiritual advisor about saints and feast days. Fr. Jonathan taught me that, on their feast days, the saints like to give gifts, since they aren’t in need of any themselves. And so, on the feasts of our Mother Mary, and all the saints that are special to me, I ask for a gift. Usually, it’s an urgent petition or pressing need, but sometimes I ask for something for someone else.
Today is the feast of my patron saint – St. Margaret of Scotland – and I’m celebrating in a big way. I’m giving her some spiritual gifts of my own (contributions to our Lady’s capital of grace,which I know will please St. Margaret and our Mother Mary) and then I’m asking for some gifts. But, the gifts aren’t for me. They’re for some folks very dear to me who are carrying particular burdens these days. If the burdens cannot be completely lifted (according to God’s holy will), then I’m asking St. Margaret to lighten their loads by accompanying them with her guidance and intercession. I’m asking her to give them gifts today, instead of me.
I’m encouraging you to adopt the same custom. We all have patron saints. If our parents didn’t give us one, we can choose one for ourselves. Pray to your patron saint, “converse” with him or her and develop a relationship. Call on your patron saint in times of need, but also and especially for help in striving for your own sanctity. Finally, petition him or her for the needs of others on feast days.
God gave us the marvelous gift of the Communion of Saints. The Catholic Church teaches that the Communion of Saints is the Church – those here on earth, those being purged in purgatory, and those already in heaven:
“The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is’:
- All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.
So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.” (CCC, 954, 955)
I love that last phrase, “this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods!” Yes, we are in union with the saints – those who have been canonized, and those who have not – because we all are part of Christ and his Church. What’s more, that union enables us to exchange spiritual goods – prayers, sacrifices, striving, yearnings, encouragements, intercessions, guidance, petitions, and needs. How awesome is that?
And so, today I am celebrating with St. Margaret of Scotland, imagining I’m seated in the court of her castle, admiring and striving to imitate this “pearl” in God’s kingdom. Next to our Blessed Mother, St. Margaret has been the single most influential woman in my life, serving through her example and intercession to mold me more and more into the person God, from all eternity, has ordained for me to be. One day, by the grace of God, I hope to become another “pearl” in his kingdom.
Here is St. Margaret of Scotland’s story, courtesy of Catholic Lane: http://catholiclane.com/st-margaret-of-scotland/
I hope you read and find yourself inspired by it, as I have. I also hope that you discover the story of your patron saint and take it to heart, seeking to imitate him or her in all that you think, do, and say. The saints have made it to heaven and, by following in their footsteps, we, too, can make it to heaven.
Blessed feast of St. Margaret of Scotland!