Don’t Be a Fan of the Saints
I’m a big fan of Garth Brooks, and have been since the tiny age of three when “Friends in Low Places” thrilled country radio stations. His music is etched in my heart. My parents saw him live when I was seven and brought home his autographed photo—complete with my name scribbled by the man himself. I’ve seen him myself in concert three times and belted every lyric from the depths of my heart.
I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. His financial principles make cents (see what I did there?) and implementing them keeps Andrew and me on a road of certainty with our cash flow. Years ago we facilitated his course, Financial Peace University, and attended his Smart Conference twice. When my best friend told me to go work for him, I joked that he can’t afford my enthusiasm.
But I don’t know either of these guys. Despite all the lyrical and lucrative knowledge, I have no relationship with Garth or Dave. We’re not friends and never will be. I’m a fan—and the nature of fan-ship is admiration from a distance.
While in college, I found wide-eyed wonder and respect for St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Most know her love of the poor, but what drew me to her was her devotion to her husband, Louis, and her deep friendship with him. Her love for Louis was so overwhelming that she prayed for the grace to withstand it. Freshly engaged, I tried to emulate her prayer and dedication in my relationship with Andrew, and I currently include her example in every keynote I give. I realized recently that I haven’t invoked her aid in years. She’s at the top of my “Saints Who Inspire” list, and I happily sing her praises, but I haven’t connected with her for a while. Admiration from a distance.
This distance, however, can be breached. Thanks to the grace of God and nature of heaven, the saints who behold His Face are accessible regardless of time or tongue. When we’re drawn to people on earth, they become friends. Consider the behaviors and insights you’ve learned from your closest friends and how they affected your life; consider how a similar bond with a saint would be more fruitful because they experienced the same earthly struggles then went on to win the imperishable crown. The saints are not resources or stories to enjoy but friends to pray with and for us. They offer hope and strength through their written words, prayerful intercession and presence by our sides while we fight the good fight. For my whole life I’ve had favorite saints whose stories fascinate me or virtues I want to mimic. Isn’t that admiration a nudge from God? Go on, He says, you guys will get along great.
Incredible and fruitful friendships with the Church Triumphant are available to us now, and all we need to do is speak up. So, I’ll talk to my friend St. Elizabeth when I need to recommit to sacrificial love in my marriage. I’ll talk to St. Monica when asking help for fallen away Catholics in my life. I’ll ask St. Therese for her humility because it’s the virtue I want most, and I’ll ask Mary Star of the Sea to guide me to Christ daily.
And you know what? They’ll respond. A person who’s achieved perfect holiness isn’t going to snub someone who asks for help or company on the journey. Whether we perceive a response from our brothers and sisters in heaven, we are assured of their support. The saints are happy to be in heaven and happy to help others get there, too.
My life has crosses. Along with Christ, who better to help me carry my part than those I admire who are capable of both loving God perfectly AND conveying his love to me? Don’t waste time being a saint’s fan when a connection deeper and more profound is yours to enjoy. For the feast of All Saints, answer the nudge to connect with the saints you admire, and change your fan-ship to friendship.
Katie Sciba is a national speaker and Catholic Press Award- winning columnist. Katie has been married for 14 years and is blessed with six children.
This article appeared in the November 2022 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here