Fifty points to whoever knows what movie the title of this post is from…
If you guessed FROZEN, you are correct! We’re all about Frozen these days. The soundtrack is on repeat at our house all day, every day. I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked whenever I hear B sing every word (or the toddler version of every word), but maybe it’s more that I cannot believe she is old enough to actually sing along to songs.
I promise this title will make sense at the end.
If you follow our Facebook page, you probably saw the link to THIS BLOG that we shared on Friday. We recently found The Fike Life blog and are loving Blythe’s honest and sassy Catholic style. :) The post we linked to is actually a shared story from another blogger (yay, internet world!) about the miraculous medal and the background behind it. If you have time, please take the time to read the post (here’s the direct link: http://www.thefikelife.com/2015/10/st-catherine-and-medal.html) and then come back.
There is so much goodness in this story and it hit me on a ton of different levels. Faith-wise, it has been a while since I have focused on anything beyond the Mass. I have the tendency to get so caught up in my little world that I forget there is so much more to the Catholic faith than just the Mass. Yes, the Mass is incredibly important and the highlight of our faith; however, there are so many other ways for Catholics to enhance their Mass experience. Reading this post reminded me of that. More specifically, it reminded me of the importance of our relationship with Mary and how more inspired I feel after learning more about the lives of saints.
I feel like sometimes we forget about Mary. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have. I get so caught up in improving my relationship with the Lord that I forget that one way to improve my relationship with Him is to spend some time with his Mother. This is one of the “cool” things about being Catholic (in my humble opinion). We recognize Mary as an important player in our faith journey and have the opportunity to honor her by spending time with her. The rosary is one way to connect with Mary, but what about just talking with her? Inviting her into our lives and asking for her guidance, like we would/should/do with our own mothers. Truthfully, this deserves an entirely separate post and I promise to share with that soon. If you have any thoughts or stories about your relationship with Mary, feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to incorporate it.
I’ve always loved learning about the lives of the saints, but it just has not been on the forefront of my mind in the past few years. The saints are wonderful examples of how we should follow Jesus with our whole heart and have complete and selfless love for others. Yes, as Christians and Catholics we all know that is what we are supposed to do, but there is something about knowing that there were and are people actually lived/are living out these values. I, for one, still find it amazing that Pope John Paul II, who was pope when I was younger is now Saint John Paul II. It makes it almost more meaningful realizing that saints are living among us, and are not just people who lived hundreds of years ago.
I loved reading this part of the post I mentioned above: “…saints have the habit of choosing us.” It instantly triggered a memory filed deep away in my brain. When I was in junior high, I felt very connected to St. Joan of Arc. It was right around the time that the TV movie was released (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0178145/), which probably played a big part of it. And yes, that is the version with Neil Patrick Harris pre-HIMYM. While I am sure there are historical inaccuracies (there always are), I really loved that movie and would recommend you watch it.
Anyway, my interest with St. Joan came right around the time that my family had moved to Illinois. I was in a totally new school and was incredibly shy and socially awkward (so, not much has changed). I spent a lot of time learning more about St. Joan and I’m pretty sure I wrote up a report or two about her for school. I admired the way that she trusted God with all of her heart, no matter what situation He put her in. Here she was, a young teenager (ah, another reason why I probably related…I was 13 at the time) and all of a sudden she learned that she was to connect with the King of France and lead her country into battle. And to think at that age I was just worried about which boys liked me…
For those unfamiliar with St. Joan or need a bit of a refresher, here is a brief biography that can be found on www.catholic.org. I’ve bolded certain phrases for emphasis, because I’m cool like that.
“St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she heard voices: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
At first the messages were personal and general. Then at last came the crowning order. In May, 1428, her voices “of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret” told Joan to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom. For at that time the English king was after the throne of France, and the Duke of Burgundy, the chief rival of the French king, was siding with him and gobbling up evermore French territory.
After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the siege of Orleans on May 8, 1429. She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.
In May 1430, as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English when Charles and the French did nothing to save her. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would help him to become archbishop.
Through her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was trapped into making a few damaging statements. When she refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was nineteen years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920, making official what the people had known for centuries. Her feast day is May 30.”
Her extended bio is also available through www.catholic.org. One thing that stood out to me is that she requested that a crucifix be level with her eyes as she burned at the stake, so she could remain focused on Jesus. I remember that scene vividly in the movie as well. It is said that her last words were “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” Chills.
Another great summary of St. Joan’s life can be found here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08409c.htm
Now that I am an adult, my admiration of her confidence at a young age has increased ten-fold. I question myself and what I am supposed to do with my life on a daily basis. I will get glimpses of God’s plan and feel confident for a minute and then second-guess my feelings for the rest of the day. St. Joan is a wonderful example of believing in the instructions God laid out for her and trusting in herself enough to know that she is doing the right thing. Next time when I am starting to second-guess myself and asking for clarity, I will pray for her intercession.
Random side note, are you following Catholic All Year? If not, you totally should. She usually posts quotes of saints on their feast days and it is so cool and inspiring to see those on a regular basis. Also, p.s. don’t forget that the day after Halloween is ALL SAINTS DAY. That totally wasn’t planned when I decided to write this post. Coincidence? Doubtful.
What about you? Have you ever felt like a saint has chosen you? We would love to hear the story…sound off in the comments below, or send us an email!
Til next time,