Today I was perusing the CatholicExchange website, and came across a bracelet that is being marketed as a popular vote for canonization of St. John Paul the Great. Granted, the sky-blue plastic is not exactly the most elegant memorial one could wish for, but it has a curious aptness that I think the Holy Father would have appreciated.
Santo Subito is the song of every person living out the faith with as much fidelity as humanity permits. Sainthood now. Hidden in the dirty dishes and diapers, the 1040s and mountain of unpaid bills, are countless daily opportunities to practice the virtues associated with the saints.
* Short on faith? I remember the year we had an exchange student whose parents were supposed to visit at Eastertime, and my sister wound up back in the hospital for an operation that sucked my parents' bank account drier than last week's soup bone. "Don't tell the people at church," my father warned. "They've already done enough." And we didn't. And so we never could explain why that Sunday afternoon, coming home from church, we found ten large boxes of groceries, crowned with a three-layer chocolate cake, sitting on our front porch. Thanks to the "Chocolate Cake Angel," we didn't have to send our guests away hungry, after all.
* Hope a little dim? Last week my sister was telling me about a particularly horrific time in her life. Her husband was beating her, and threatening to kill her and her daughter, and yet her church friends and family members strongly discouraged her from divorcing the idiot. Lost and losing faith fast, my sister was amazed to get a phone call, out of the blue, from the wife of our childhood pastor, whom she had not heard from in years. "You have your Bible, Kate, and you know how to hear from God," the wise words were balm to her wounded heart. "Do what is right, what you need to do to be safe." And she did.
* Finding it hard to love? Someone close to me has a relative who has been the bane of her existence since the day she married. For a time, her situation improved when a medical scare caused the thorn to regain some of his humanity. Then, like most people in a tough situation, once the scare was over he resumed his old tricks. That taught her something important: Sometimes love comes in an irregular package, one that prickles and jabs. The trick is letting love radiate rather than rub off. Works just as well, and no one gets hurt.
So, just for today, I will take those baby steps of goodness, those bite-sized chunks of virtue, and ruminate upon them. No one would ever mistake me for a saint in my present state. My husband and children are far more long-suffering than I will ever be. But I will practice santo subito, and trust that my brother is using his exalted state to pull a few more saints-in-the-making just a little closer to their heavenly reward.