Column: Looking for some spiritual direction? Look no further than the saints

Called to discipleship
Father Andrew Strobl is the archdiocesan director of evangelization.

by Father Andrew Strobl

I hesitate when it comes to soaking up the wisdom of the saints. I love to ask for prayers from the saints, but I am intimidated by their example.

When I look at the lives of the saints in comparison to my own life, I so easily give in to discouragement because the distance I perceive from where they are and from where I am seems too great.

Thankfully, the saints have not given up on me. It seems like the saints are constantly reaching out and trying to coach me to forget myself and live for Christ through one act of the will at a time.

I am amazed by the little encouragements the saints seem to ambush me with daily through posts on social media, quotes from friends and gems found in spiritual reading.

Most recently, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne took me on as her pupil. I had attended the “Trust One Greater” event at the Little Monastery of the Community of the Lamb in Kansas City, Kansas. It was a terrific evening of prayer and eucharistic adoration with Archbishop Naumann.

Toward the end of the evening, the Little Sisters mentioned that we could all choose a name of a saint from a basket that would walk with us in a special way over the next year. I pulled out the name of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne who had lived in Kansas.

At first, I thought it was a joke since I had dodged an invitation earlier this year to join the Community of the Lamb on a walking pilgrimage to her shrine. I was assured it was no joke.

If the saints can coach us when we are not looking for their aid, how much more fruitful would a relationship be that actually seeks out their assistance.

St. Philip Neri encouraged: “Imagine yourselves to be spiritual beggars in the presence of God and his saints. You should go round from saint to saint, imploring an alms with the same real earnestness with which the poor beg.”

As we begin a new liturgical year this Advent, ask God to give you a saint to coach you in following Jesus Christ and sharing the Gospel. Their love of Jesus can seem out of reach.

For instance, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini invaded my Facebook feed recently, claiming, “I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know him or have forgotten him.”

Do not be discouraged. They want to coach us. As St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross expressed, “If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to him (Christ).”

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