Ever noticed the wisdom behind saint quotes when you come by them? They tend to be the type of words that smack you in the face with truth and switch on the light bulb in our brain to bring out the inner-wisdom that we, and this world, so desperately need today.
While these quotes can be powerful, the saints go far beyond just their words. Their actions and their stories serve to show us that they were and are in fact ordinary people with extraordinary lives and this is needed for our world today.
Going along with his train of thought, it got me thinking of the importance of the saints and how their story and their intercession can play an important role in our lives - leading us into the right direction but also leading us to a closer relationship with God.
Given the importance of saints in our world today, I thought it would be good to write about the stories of a few that have made an impact but also include the prayers that many say when asking for their intercession.
Below are just a few of the saints that have shaped my personal life but also have influenced The Adriatic Fox and the work behind it.
St.Therese of Lisieux
When anyone mentions saints, one of the first I think of is St. Therese of Lisieux.
To me, she is that saint that I'm most interested in and always find myself wanting to know more of.
From the city of Lisieux in France within the region of Normandy, this 'little' saint is one that is popularly known as a leading the 'little way'.
I first heard of St. Therese of Lisieux a few years ago when a friend spoke about her and after reading some articles about her story I soon fell in love with her 'Rose Novena'. Since then, I can never look at a rose in the same way that I have ever before.
"I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens" is her promise for those who pray to her and if you have ever taken a part in doing a 9-day novena of hers, you will understand the power behind these words and how she really does do her "good from heaven" in interceding for prayer intentions.
Her gift of roses, which have given her the nickname of the 'Little Flower', are just a simple sign of her acknowledging that your intention has been heard and your prayer will be answered in due time. In fact, you can read thousands of testimonials of people across the world who have taken the time to submit their stories of how she has blessed and inspired many by clicking on this link: https://www.littleflower.org/prayers-sharing/st-therese-intercessions/
I could spend days trying to summarise her story in a paragraph to make sure this article doesn't become super long, but to be honest, I cannot do her justice in a paragraph or two. This special saint has guided me in life decisions and her story is one that I know leave many with a jaw drop.
To discover more about her story and her 'little way', visit https://www.littleflower.org/therese/life-story/
St Therese Novena Rose Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence in your hands . .
(mention in silence here)
St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did in
God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day.
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac
When it comes to a love of your homeland and your faith, I know many people in the Croatian community who fall into this category.
Similarly, Blessed Alojzije Stepinac was a man who was passionate about his homeland, Croatia, and protecting it during the Second World War but also had a great love for God.
While not yet recognised a saint, he has been acknowledged by the Catholic Church as a man who lived a holy life and died a martyr's death leading him to heaven.
So when I first read about him, I instantly saw the connection between this saint and those who also have the same passion as he did. As a man who wanted Croatia to be a country of God, his story is another one that will leave you inspired.
To read about his great story , go to http://www.blessedstepinac.com/history-of-blessed-cardinal-stepinac
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac prayer:
Lord, Our God, You bestowed on your servant Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac the grace to believe in Jesus Christ and also to suffer for Him with brave apostolic fervor and love towards the Church. Grant us the same faith and perseverance in suffering for the Church. Raise your servant to the glory and honor of the saints so that he may be an example and intercede for us in life’s battle towards our goal of eternal salvation. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
When it comes to patron saints, there is one for everyone and everything. In fact, you will find that there are patron saints out there for teachers, hard work, beer and even oversleeping!
So when it came to one of my favourite things, travelling, St Christopher stood out to me as he is one of the patron saints for travelers.
His story behind becoming the patron saint for travelers started with the crossing of a dangerous river.
The story behind the dangerous river is said to be one where a child once asked to ride on Christopher's shoulders across a river but the child seemed to grow to be heavier with each step, making it a struggle.
When they got to the shore, the child identified himself as Christ and told Christopher he had been carrying the weight of the world with each step forward across the river.
Since then, St. Christopher has been a patron saint for travelers and many refer to the below comforting prayer when about to go on a journey.
St Christopher prayer:
Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road’s way. Give your warning sign if danger is near so that I may stop while the path is clear. Be at my window and direct me through when the vision blurs From out of the blue. Carry me safely to my destined place, like you carried Christ in your close embrace. Amen.
St. Gabriel the Archangel
Another great saint who continues his work from heaven is St. Gabriel the Archangel.
Known as the saint for guidance and also a patron saint for communication, he is famously known as the angel that appeared to Mary to deliver the message of the Immaculate Conception.
A few years ago, I received a book as a gift which speaks of the incredible testimonies of many who pray to St. Gabriel for guidance in their communication with others. In particularly it talks about many artists, writers and speakers and how the intercession of this saint has helped them.
St. Gabriel has also made an impact on my life. A few years ago I remember having the thought of wanting to write but I quickly shut that thought down thinking there was no way I could be a writer.
I had worked temporarily in the fashion journalism industry years ago after finishing school and I remember how unimpressed the editor of a magazine was at the time with my work. It was one of those embarrassing moments where I made the decision that there would be no chance of me writing ever again.
Fast forward to a few years ago and the thought popped into my head again about writing. Again, it was a thought I quickly suppressed but as it kept coming back up again I thought I might as well do something small just to see where it goes.
The truth is I expected failure and so it was something I had fears about but at the same time there was a sense of excitement that I couldn't deny because I did enjoy writing.
Remembering the book I had read about St. Gabriel and the prayers of many writers that were answered, I thought I might as well give it a shot and pray to him.
That very prayer (along with many more that followed) led me to The Adriatic Fox and what started as a blog for travel is now a blog for travel and faith.
Since then I have not regretted my decision to write and continue writing and even when I am unsure what the next article will be about, I always get pushed in the right direction and still manage to publish an article in time each fortnight.
Looking back now at some of those testimonials I read a few years ago, I can now relate to those people who also received his guidance in the direction of their work.
So for this very reason, St. Gabriel the Archangel is one whom I am grateful for his guidance in leading me the right way.
St Gabriel the Archangel prayer:
St. Gabriel the Archangel, Please share your amazing abilities to communicate with others in a loving and peaceful way so that I can convey my feelings and thoughts in a harmonious and meaningful manner. Amen
So as you settle into 2018 and look at one of the 365 new chances you can take on this year, why not take the time to find your patron saint and a saint that you may relate to with their story. Like Mary did to St. Gabriel - say 'Yes' to the opportunity to include them into your life and see the blessing you will find along the way.