What the Saints Teach Us (And Why Our Lives Aren’t Meant to Copy Theirs)

IG Recap: August 5th and 22nd

One Saint’s Experience is Not Our Blueprint

Just because a saint experienced something does not mean your experience will be the same.

What do I mean by this?

As Catholics striving for Heaven, we can think that our experience of a particular cross should go the same way the bearing of a similar cross went for one of the saints.

For example:

If Mother Teresa experienced decades of spiritual darkness, then I shouldn’t expect my own period of darkness to be shorter.

If Zelie and Gianna were not granted their prayers for healing and still passed away, I shouldn’t expect physical healing either. I should just be praying for strength to bear the cross.

If one saint lived with a difficult child/spouse/loved one who only repented in his or her final moments, then I should just be praying for the strength to bear the crosses of the pain and suffering within my relationship, not asking for them to be taken away.

You see where I’m going with this. And written out like it is above, the line of reasoning is obviously false and dangerous. But, we can think this way without realizing it!

Assuming our experience of crosses should match that of the saints who preceded us can keep us from having hope. It can also keep us from asking for the healing, redemption, and grace we desperately need to shine light into the darkness, to heal the wounds, to bring our spouse/child/loved one to repentance.

The saints’ examples are not intended as exact blueprints. They are intended as comforts, inspirations, and even challenges to face our own crosses with virtue, humility, and courage. They are reminders that it is possible to walk through all sorts of valleys while keeping the Faith.

The main themes are applicable to our lives, but the exact details will be different for every person.

I’ve talked about it before: the witness of the saints reminds us that there are many, many paths to Heaven, but all start and end with Christ and require nourishment from the sacraments, provided through the Catholic Church.

So, let their beautiful mosaic of stories inspire you, not dismay you! They reside with Christ and want you to seek Him.

Praise be to God! ❤️

Ignatius on Remaining Steady through Difficulties in Prayer

Not all prayers are answered at the same pace.

Some prayers are answered when we want them to be, within minutes or days. But others can take a long time, especially those whose answers are not the ones we expected.

One of St. Ignatius’s rules for prayer is not to change anything during times of spiritual desolation.

For Ignatius, desolation isn’t as intense as St. John of the Cross’s dark night of the soul.

Desolation can be a prolonged, dark thing. But, it can also be the desire to skip prayer at the end of a discouraging day or the urge to shorten one’s prayer time in favor of a mindless, worldly escape.

Ignatius counsels us not to change anything in times of desolation. Fr. Timothy Gallagher shared in his series on Ignatian prayer on the @hallowapp that this single rule is one of the most important and life-changing.

When we stay the course through these times of tiredness, disinterest, and discouragement, we can grow in virtue through them. We keep our eyes open to see the Lord working through even the dull and tiresome moments. We leave the door open to Him and invite His grace into the mundane and trying. And by doing so, we make it easier to come through these times and find our way back to times of consolation or steadiness.

When we are praying for things and receive some answers quickly, we can spring up like the grains of wheat that fall on the rocks. But like them, without the proper soil and nourishment, we can shrivel when other prayers take longer to receive answers we can see or understand.

And so, we must keep drinking from the living water of Christ through reading His Word, sitting with Him in prayer, frequenting the Sacraments.

Then the water can flow through us, the answered prayers can comfort us, and we can remain fruitful branches on the vine, clinging to Christ in good Faith that He will give us all we need.

Only, it will be in His time. And so, we must trust.

Praise Be to God, in the easy moments and the hard ones.

If you are interested in trying the Hallow app, you can click here to find the link they shared with me to offer you three months free! This is not a financial sponsorship, but simply an effort to help more Catholics pray and meditate daily.

Published by Abigail C. R. Gripshover

Abigail C. R. Gripshover is a Catholic writer and speaker, passionate about the power of God’s love. She has been a voice for the Church online for over 10 years, encouraging her fellow Catholics to embrace the teachings of the Faith in every area of life. In the summer of 2022, she started a new journey of radical healing through radical trust in God. She is feeling called to share her story of chronic illness and God’s healing grace. She holds a B.A. in English Lit from Christendom College and works from home as a freelance copywriter and digital strategist. She and her husband, Bobby, also offer product photography services and love working with Catholic companies. You can connect with Abigail on LinkedIn to learn more about these services and find her business email address.

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