by Jason Wilde
If St. Francis of Assisi were alive today, where or who would he be?
Maybe he would be the beggar on the curb, about whom we complain does not contribute to society.
He could be the son who refuses to go to class at the private university where his parents pay tuition.
He could be the lone voice at the capital campaign meeting who asks why they can't re-purpose existing rooms instead of building a new $10M church.
He could be the lay missionary who is told that his mission is unsafe and impractical, and that only priests are missionaries.
Maybe if Saint Paul were alive today he'd be walking through malls and placing anti-Amazon.com billboards proclaiming that the gods we look at through windows and screens are not the One True God, and to stop worshiping them.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta could be working on the border, crossing every day into Juarez to serve refugees, and maybe Saint Karol Wojtyla (aka Saint John Paul II) would be a Honduran priest accompanying and serving the migrant caravan with regular roadside Masses.
If Saint Patrick lived in our generation, maybe he would have been Nelson Mandela, a slave of his own country who worked at the highest levels to change it.
St. Isidore could be the Mexican construction worker being told he couldn't take Good Friday off to go to Mass or he'd lose his job. Dorothy Day might even be searching him out so that she could tell his story in her blog and find support for an organized protest.
St. Anthony could have been an Occupy Wall Street protester.
St. Stephen could be like Fr. James Martin, continuing to be stoned every day for challenging God's people.
Maybe the leper who came to Jesus is the gay man whom churches turn away and judge as sinful because of his outward sign, but Jesus is asking him to come and be welcomed in His Church.
It's easy to read the Gospels and say "I'd be a disciple of Jesus, even to the point of death", but when He asks us to sell everything and give it to the poor, we would find a way to rewrite His Words, saying "He really didn't mean that literally."
Many saints' lives are romanticized in our modern history, reduced to just a few clever quotes about serving one another or being faithful. But in their own times, most were seen as outcasts, ridiculed, and persecuted by their own families and Church. It's easy to say 'If we had lived in their days, we would not have joined in their persecution', but in reality that's probably not true as their lives were and still are so radical in a worldly view that few can truly accept or achieve what they lived for. But we must still challenge ourselves to look beyond the romantic biographical view of their lives to not only see the fruits, but the labors and hardships they endured.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’" (Matthew 23:29-30)
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.