December 8, 2007

Missed Saints

I've not posted of some saints that I remember only for some fun little something that their story makes me think of...

Edmund Campion is Dec 1. He reminds me of the movie and book: The Scarlet Pimpernel (the BBC version is the best and closest to the book). Though born of a protestant printer-bookseller in London in 1540, he became a Jesuit and a secret agent for the Faith.

I love history. I love books. I've read stories where old homes in England had cubbyholes called "priest holes". Campion's story makes me literate to these priest holes.

With the introduction of Protestantism, some rulers were seeing possibilities of separating from the Pope. The Church ruled. Monarch Henry VIII was the first to start a new church. What happened for probably a century is that the religion followed the ruler. Differing beliefs could not coexist for quite some time. The last Catholic monarch of England is what history calls Bloody Mary, and her successor, protestant Good Queen Bess. Lots of deaths swinging from protestants killing catholics and then vice versa and back again.

Campion was in Elizabeth's reign and he was constantly changing his name and apparel. Like once he was disguised as a jewel merchant. He was the object of a year long manhunt, all the while ministering to catholics in hiding and publishing 'underground' pamphlets. Queen Elizabeth liked him and tried to dissuade him, making him offers. But he was the 1st of hundreds who were hanged, drawn, and quartered for adhering to their religious beliefs.

Dec 3rd is Francis Xavier's day. He was one of the original Jesuit's founded by Ignatius Loyola. (I've wanted to understand the differing monastic groups.) Xavier lived in the early 1500s and it amazes me that in 10 years he traveled 9,000 miles - a great feat in those days. He brought the Gospel to more than 50 kingdoms and baptized more than a million. The church he planted in Japan lasted three centuries without Bibles or priests - only word by parents passed on to children. He's remembered as the Apostle of the Indies.

Dec 4 is Saint Barbara's day. I don't remember her story because there was nothing in it I cared for for me. BUT I only remember her day because I read that if you cut pussy willow branches (and the like) and put them in water on her day, they'd be budding by Christmas.

Dec 7 is Ambros's day. Trained as a lawyer, was a governor and became Bishop of Milan in 374. He was a great preacher and lecturer. It was he who converted Augustine, showing him that a person of intelligence could find the Christian faith totally satisfying. When baptizing people, he first washed their feet, which was not customary.

The one thing that sticks out to me is that Augustine was amazed at Ambrose reading silently to himself. Just the history of written language is fascinating. We just think it's gone on forever. But everything had been oral. Homer and Plato were the first things to be written (prior to that was history of kings and kingdoms and laws). They were uncomfortable with their writing. And still it was not read silently. Boggles my mind. They say we're returning to a more oral society with media we have today. I think we've got a good mix.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. You'd think of Jesus and the Incarnation, but no, it's what's believed of Mary's conception. It seems that Mary's parents did not 'couple' in 'human mire' - taking no pleasure in the act and not conceived with the taint of original sin. Thus a fit vessel for God's son to be hatched in. It's been a hotly debated thing for years.

We've come a long way baby! I don't know how many people still think of sex in marriage as dirty and evil. If God did not like our humanness, why did he choose to enter history as a seed in a womb and go through the birth process and be laid in an animal feed trough, needing to be nursed
and burped and diapers changed, and announce his birth first to the lowest of society, dirty shepherds! There's such joy in sex as the Sacrament of Marriage!

So that's the update on Dec saint stories I like, until December 13. My thoughts remember the picture on the Sistine Chapel where God stretches out his hand to Adam, calling him out of the dirt of the earth, kissing into him his breath of Life. How beautifully humanity is created. And God stretches out his arms to those who wait for his touch.
Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...