Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Does your child have a saint's name?

The last four days have been really special to me. I am working on an item that features our Jewish Mom, Mary, but I have to smooth it out a bit. I got hit with that on Monday when the Gospel for the day told the story of the mother of James and John, the Sons of Zebedee who put on her stage -mother hat and asked Jesus that the two of them should have a seat by His right and His left when they got to heaven. Wait until you see where that takes us.

Today, I was sitting in the pew when the priest announced that this is the feast day of Saints Joaquin and Anna, the Father and Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like a bolt of lightning, I thought of my friend Joaquin in Tijuana. All during Mass and until now I can’t help but pray for him and his family whom I have not seen for years. What a blessing!

I can’t help but thank God for the gift of saints that we Catholics have. They are so much a part of our spiritual relationship with God. They bring us closer to Him. We can’t pronounce our own names without thinking that someone before us with the same name has made it to heaven. We can’t hear a name of a saint that drops like a stone in the desert. No.

We all know someone close to us who has that name that we just heard. Even if it is “Joaquin”, for crying out loud. Try “Justine”. Wow, my grandmother. Try “Dionicio”, “Dion” for short. Oops, forgot my brother’s birthday again! In French that is Denis (Dennis in English). Try “Prudencienne”, my 85 year old grand aunt in Saskatchewan. How about “Felicity”, now come on, there are a lot of those. She died a martyr in the coliseum on the date of my birth date. Don’t forget that, now!

I mean, there are a lot of simple names like “Paul”, “John” and “Marc”, those are easy. But what about “Jo-El”? Every time we say the name of God, we remember Jo- “El”, like in Samu “El”, Isab “El”, “El” izabeth. In Jo-El’s case we have also the name of “Jo” shua or “Je” shua, the name of Jesus.

No wonder we have the pictures of saints all over our houses, they are all members of the family. When we say their names, we think of God. When we say our name, we think of them and how they are sitting before God. With them we too are in the presence of God.

This is the communion of saints.

Thanks be to God my name is Paul, and with a name like that, you know why I don't need anyone crying at my funeral.

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