How is it that some of us Catholics have lost touch with saints? First, we should remember that saints are Christians who have gone before us in the Faith. They lived the Faith. Some are canonized; they are official saints. Most saints, though, are known only to God. They have entered a new life in Christ and are –to use a word revered by evangelicals– saved. Devotion to saints is an integral part of the tradition of the Catholic Church. We recall their lives and do our best to emulate them. They are our best examples of what a Christian should be.
So, on this feast day of St. Timothy, January 26, I wished a friend of mine a happy feast day. There was a pause while he thought about what I just said and he responded: “I’ve been a Catholic for forty years and why don’t I know that we Catholics celebrate feast days?”
Maybe, he simply forgot over the years, or, more likely, no one ever taught him about saints and their feast days. It’s pretty clear that no one introduced my friend to St. Paul’s beloved companion who was a bishop in Ephesus and was martyred in 93 AD. My friend Timothy doesn’t know that the bible contains two letters that Paul wrote to Bishop Timothy to encourage him in his life as a pastor. I know that my friend would appreciate particularly the scripture where Paul instructs Timothy to drink some wine regularly to keep healthy ( l Timothy 5:23).
My friend is from Generation X which, I think it’s true to say, didn’t get much doctrine and tradition about our Christian heroes. So, we have to admit, that after Vatican II much of our religious education in its urging children to think of Jesus as a buddy, forgot to tell us about the followers of Jesus who gave their lives away for Him and tried to change the world by living His commandment of love.
Another friend of mine from the same generation feels he was cheated out of a lot of doctrinal and traditional teaching. Maybe we can surprise the post Vatican II generations by opening for them a depth and freshness of Faith that will be new to them. We could start with remembering that most of us were baptized and some of us were confirmed with names of heroes and heroines of the Faith we love so much.