I am tired of the hypocrisy of the media world. On one hand, they complain that our children suffer from poor morals due to the fact that they have no good role models to look up to. And as they complain about the sad state of children today, all they are able to offer them are incredibly poor role models to emulate. I may not be up to date on “who’s hot and who’s not” in Hollywood, but I have seen enough to get a pretty good idea of who our children have to choose from and it frightens me.
Anyone can be like today’s “role models”. We may not look like them or have the money and fame they have, but if you take a step back and see today’s stars for who they really are, they are no different from the rest of us. I can grab at the limelight, be snooty about services I receive, obsess about my clothes, go on drunken binges and have a child out of wedlock too! That’s easy!
But place a Saint before me and suddenly I am challenged. I am challenged to examine myself a little more closely. I am compelled to become more than who I am today. I am reminded that I am called to become someone so different, that I will no longer be myself – I am to be like Christ!
We Catholics come from a truly royal bloodline. The blood of Christ. And as His family members we are called to imitate Him even unto death. This is a pretty tall order, but thankfully we have been given the Saints to look to for guidance and become our role models. They are truly our brothers and sisters, family members of our Christian bloodline, and deserve a place of honor in our family history. The more you learn about them and honor them, the more they will show you the many different ways you can imitate Our Lord in ways completely unique to who you are and honor your Christian family heritage.
We all have a favorite Saint and Saint story. It matters not which Saint you are drawn to. Just take advantage of that natural pull and nurture your relationship with that Saint. Read all you can about his or her life, and any writings they produced, and absorb the very essence of their hearts and minds. You may find that the Saint has a lot in common with you. Or perhaps that Saint is everything you are not, but everything you wish you could be. Either way, your Saintly sibling is willing to be a role model for your life. All you have to do is ask.
Today’s children do not know very much about the Saints, but they would do well to look up to them as role models, too. When I first fell in love with the Church and all she has to offer, I tried to tell my kids about the Saints. They were bored stiff! And no small wonder, since the Saints I was drawn to had nothing in common with my children.
But then I got smart. I did some research and found that Saints’ lives were not boring to children after all. One Saint raced on horseback onto a battlefield to prevent her son from beginning a war. Twice. Another preached to fish. Some traveled to many different countries and had great adventures. A few actually had conversations with Jesus and Our Lady. Others performed miracles. Some levitated, some bilocated, and some were hunted down and martyred. Compare the Saints’ lives to those which our children are encouraged to imitate, and the glitz and false glory of worldly fame and fortune suddenly pales in comparison.
Read the fascinating stories of the Saints to your children regularly from such sources as the Vision Books series or one of Mary Fabian Windeatt’s series. As you do, remind them that, by right of our Baptism, these Saints are our ancestors – actual family members! You are telling them family stories from “way back when”, when your brother in Christ Patrick ordered the snakes into the ocean, never to return to Ireland. And of the miraculous moment when the rags your sister in Christ Elizabeth was clothed in turned into a royal gown before her husband’s eyes.
Presenting the Saints in this manner will foster a sense of wholesome family pride in your children, inspiring them to carry on the tradition of holiness and become the Saints they were created to be.
We cannot presume our final destination will be Heaven, because we are still in the middle of our own battles. But with a powerfully holy family line extending throughout all of Salvation History, and generations of Saints praying for us at every turn, we have every hope of a glorious victory.
And when the present world ends and eternal life begins, just imagine the family reunion we will have!
Copyright 2011 Cassandra Poppe