Friday, May 06, 2005


Wayfaring Strangers, Part 9

(Wayfaring Strangers is a continuing series about our experiences as my wife and I study to convert to Catholicism.)

Saints Preserve Us!

One part of the study of Catholicism that isn't difficult for me is the study of the Saints. Put simply, I like the Saints. I like the Catholic idea of the communion of the Saints, as expressed in the Apostle's Creed. I like the idea that the Saints watch over us, pray for us, want to help us, and provide us with examples of just lives. I like knowing that upon my confirmation I get to pick my own patron Saint.

I thought that picking my own patron Saint would be easy... until my wife assured me that, contrary to what I want to believe, St. Anger is not a real Saint. Metallica lied to me! Doh!

So now I have to find another one.

Music is extremely important to me, so it seems like a no-brainer that I'd pick a Saint associated with music or musicians. I'm having a hard time finding one that compels me, though... one that seems personally inspirational and attractive.

Saint Notkar Balbulus, for example, is a patron Saint of musicians. Considering the kind of music I listen to, it might be appropriate that he's also the patron Saint of stammering children. Besides, his very name sounds like a good name for a metal band: "Notkar Balbulus! Notkar Balbulus ROCKS, man! WHOOOOO!"

Then again, a Saint who's name inspires irreverence in me might be counter-productive.

Saint Dunstan is another patron Saint of musicians, but I can't find anything in his biography that indicates exactly why he is associated with music. For all I can tell, the guy might not have been able to carry a tune in a bucket. He might have had all the natural rhythm of a Political Science professor. For that matter, he might not have even liked music much, and just got assigned patronage over musicians to make sure he had enough to do. Besides, I can't see me adopting a patron Saint who's very name causes me to be reminded of a horrible Jason Alexander movie.

Then there's good old Saint Paul the Apostle, one of the most important figures in the New Testament. He's a patron Saint of musicians... but he's also a patron saint of saddle makers, snake bite victims, newspaper editors, the state of Kentucky, and about a thousand other things. Paul has his hands full. I can't see him spending much time in Heaven actually hanging out with Hendrix. If you happen to be a newspaper editor who gets bitten by a snake while making a saddle in Kentucky, though, then Paul's your guy.

Saint Cecilia is a patron saint of musicians, but here's the only association I could find between her and music: "While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse." It doesn't sound like Cecilia would have much patience for the kind of music I enjoy.

Of course there's always the basic guys, like Saint Jude, Saint Christopher, Saint Joan of Arc, Susan Saint James, etc. I may just adopt one of them by default. Anyway, reading about the Saints and trying to find a good personal patron is one of the fun, lighter parts of my study. Ifigured I ought to post something to show that I'm not sitting here in misery as I try to find my way to the Catholic church.

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