Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Picking a patron

My friend Cloister has written about picking a patron saint for the year to come. This derives from a traditional practice in religious or monastic communities, where people drew cards with saints' names on them. Presumably, the superior or assistant prepared the cards, deciding which of the thousands of saints and blesseds were "in" or "out" as appropriate patrons for the year; maybe even ensuring - who knows? - that a wayward young novice drew someone noted for their docility, or a habitual grumbler ended up with a serene martyr...

But now we have the online Patron Saint Generator, brought to us by Jennifer Fulwiler, courtesy of Cloister. Far more random - thousands of saints all jumbled in there together, with "your" patron just a couple of clicks away. So I decided to have a go, expecting to end up with someone weird, obscure or of dubious authenticity. A bit of harmless fun, and I could joke about St Thingummy of Somewhere being my patron for the year, or I could groan about the fact that this saint was renowned for a life of austere penance and mortification before reaching for another chocolate.

So I clicked, and I got...
St Paul the Apostle
Feast: June 29; January 25 (celebration of conversion)

Ah, Paul... definitely not a St Thingummy. He's played his part in my journey, thanks to his prolific writing: at times soaring into poetic stratospheres, at others grounded in the nitty-gritty; at times angry, tender, exasperated, loving; but always, always focused totally on Christ, and making him better known and loved. Until now I hadn't decided on any specific New Year's resolutions, but now I have at least one. In 2012 I will spend proper time with Paul and his letters - something I haven't done since my New Testament studies in 1997-8. Hopefully something of Paul's burning zeal and wholehearted, single-minded focus will rub off onto me, which wouldn't be a bad thing...

Paul's Patronage: Against Hailstorms; Against Poisonous Snakes; Against Snake Bites; Authors; Cursillo Movement; Evangelists; Hospital Public Relations; Journalists; Lay People; Missionary Bishops; Musicians; Newspaper Editorial Staff; Public Relations Personnel; Publishers; Rope Makers; Saddlers; Tent Makers; Writers; Malta

And I note that in among the snakes, ropes and tents (which hint at a very ourdoorsy, camping sort of life - not my style at all!) Paul also keeps an eye on writers of various kinds. Which, at the end of my first year as a blogger, and at the start of a new year hopefully filled with writing, seems a very good omen indeed...

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