January 9, 2009

The Real Saints

I have often suffered over the fact that we here at Trinity Acres we are not the picturesque pretty saintly family you see in the stories of the saints. Oh we can take an occasional pretty picture but I'm talking the picturesque in reality.

This is not our family praying but it is the typical picturesque saintly family portrayed as praying. And I have that very deep desire to be said picturesque saintly family. *snicker* So yesterday as I had some spare moments I stumbled across the article "How Fat Was He? As Fat As....." at Ask Sister Mary Martha blog Here Sister describes the reality of Saints and she is incredibly funny, just cracks me up. The reality of sanctity isn't about being picturesque but in fighting one's bouts with the devil.

Here is an excerpt from her blog about the saintly Tubby Thomas :
"It's okay with me. I like him that way. A person can't have heroic virtue if they have no problems to try to overcome. You're not brave if you're not afraid. Bravery means you are afraid, but you still do the deed. If you're not afraid, maybe you're just fool hardy. Or stupid.There can be no strength of character without temptation, no virtue without the existence of vice. Being a fatso doesn't make Thomas Aquinas a hypocrite. It makes him human, which allows him to become a saint. I want the fattest holy card I can find of him."

So don't be afraid to be a saint because you aren't picturesque, few people are and if they are picturesque their is likely something wrong somewhere else. I love reading about the humanity of the saints, it's humorous and something to which I can relate. I cannot relate to floating saints who lived in sheer ecstasy in their love of God. I'd certainly love to be there with such a deep love for God but I have never seen a picture of a mother floating during prayer with 3 tots on her lap. Hair standing on end, yes but body floating, no.

Confession is the key. Use it and use it often. Take your sins and concerns to the confessional and leave them there and move on. I wonder how many times St. Thomas Aquinas said "Bless me Father for I have sinned, I ate way too much ... *again*." That is the saint, one who takes his sins to a priest, having to actually say those sins and admit we offended God. It is not always easy to do but the saint does it. And then those sins are *gone* just like that. Beautiful. Downright embarrassing at times but beautiful. Confession is truly beautiful... one of the very greatest gifts God left for us after Our Lord ascended into Heaven.

After having a rather lengthy Christmas vacation we were back to school right after Epiphany. And here is the reality of school.
Merry playing with teddy bear counters.... on top of the desk. No neat and tidy, prim and proper students in our school.
Oh, wow, what a shot, Pippin is actually on the chair! Gotta love those 1" colored cubes. I don't know what the delight in but the 2 little boys will sit for a long time just making rows and rows of little blocks on trays.

Frodo, not much to complain about here other than that he is wearing his barn shirt rather than his neat polo.
Oh, here we go, both Merry and Pippin on the desk (I like the plumber look of Pippin's pants), this time with colored and natural blocks. Their favorite manipulates are obviously these blocks and the teddy bears and also the frog counters. These 2 will keep themselves busy for a couple of hours but it isn't always so but the last 3 days of school it has been so. So I'm not going to complain about them sitting on top of the desk if they are somewhat quiet.
Galadriel working on her Math (Teaching Textbooks 6). Note that is not her desk... this is mine. Remind you a bit of fat Aquinas in the disorganization department? Note how I cropped the picture down to the bare necessities. The original picture would have shown too much of my humanity *snicker*. I am working on it but no sooner I create a hole in my piles some new project comes to take its place.
Here I am working with Eleanor on her phonics. We have had 1 very early reader, an average reader and some later readers, I'm not going to fret over it when I see families with these very early readers. Each family has their own charisma and early reading simply isn't ours. And note, because I was in a highly non-photogenic moment having not long been out of the shower and looking a bit like a wet rat, I could neatly crop off all but my lower arm. Needless to say Eleanor really loves the Seton phonics book.
Sam working on his Lord of the Rings study. Sam has struggled with reading (St. Joseph Cupertino also suffered in this department, I love having saints to relate to). But on this day he did all remaining 19 fill-ins on his own, without help and read out loud quietly the entire works. And this unit study is not easy. This is HUGE. *sniff-sniff* He wanted to quit many times but he didn't. Now that is the saint part. Wanting to quit yet persevering through. Our main goal this year for Sam is to get him to read without the stumbling blocks in his mind that occur in dyslexics. And yes, to those of you who have asked me about what we've learned with dyslexia I will blog about it one of these days. (We won't talk about his hair and how I need to persevere through yet another hair cut.)


  1. I just had to laugh at this! Last night we are doing our Rosary and a fight broke out. I was trying to get them to meditate on the mysteries by explaining a little about each one. When I realized there was a raging fight between a flopping 4 yr old and a correcting 14 yrold!!! arggg! no papa in the house... thank goodness I didn't throw my rosary at them... oh and the debate that came up about the 'stable' Oh my! by the time we finished I was ready for a stiff drink!

  2. Great post! My family falls short on being very picturesque. We suffer from WAY too much "humanity"! Thankfully, God doesn't require us to be perfect, only to strive for perfection. We continue to strive.

  3. I think many large Catholic families, and probably some smaller ones too, fall into this trap. We think that since the Smith family with their 50 children can sit still without so much as flinching during a rosary, that our children must be just like them. We all have our strong suits. Sitting thru the rosary quiet as mice, isn't our's. LOL

  4. i know a holy priest who says he used to sit and try and bounce marbles off his bellybutton during family rosary time. so i think its normal :o)
    btw, ive visited your parish in roxbury....beautiful!!!