I used to think the idea was cliche, but after a certain age, it really does become true: a life is not one seamless timeline. It’s more like blocks of time that occur in a sequence—chapters, as they’re commonly called. The new year is a time that I reserve for evaluating the chapters in my life.
A few years ago I decided to give each year a theme and study that idea for the duration of the calendar year. 2012 was The Year of Forgiveness, and wow, what a year! I learned so much about the love of The Christ, and how far we fall short of that unconditional love and devotion He blesses us with.
2013 was to be The Year of Self-Care, but I didn’t write much about it because I’m still learning. It was a big topic that could not be covered in merely one calendar year, so as I learn more about it, I’ll surely let you know; but for now, it’s something I’ve been silently contemplating.
What, then, is this year about? I decided I wanted to explore an aspect of my Catholic faith that I love dearly, one that separates us from other Christian sects. It’s the devotion to the Saints. Being a story teller, I love reading about their life stories; their hardships as well as their victories. I’m also fascinated by how each saint became the patron of one thing or another, something so specific yet still universal.
And then I got the idea. So (drumroll, please) I am now hereby declaring 2014 The Year of the Saints! I wanted to look at the saints in a different way. Often, we use them as intercession with a particular plea or need or wish. What I’d like to do is look at their lives, and at their personal stories. I’d like to get to know them as real people, before they were beatified. I want to learn what characteristics they had, what their hardships were, and how they met their obstacles.
Most of all, I want to see how I can model some aspect of my life after something I admire from them. I’m looking to see how the saints can become role models. I want to look in particular at the relationships the saints had—spiritual, familial, communal, clerical, and of course, spousal—and see how that can inform change in my personal relationships as well. I feel that as Catholics, we have callings that are twofold: one, our internal spiritual relationship with God and two, our interpersonal encounters in which we try to lead a life modeled on Christ.
So … (another drumroll, please) I’m taking requests as well! Any saint that you find compelling? Anyone you want to know more about? Leave your ideas in the comments below! I’m always excited and pleased to read your comments, and it’ll be fun to share our experiences praying to the saints that I plan on researching.