So, there are patron saints of nearly anything and everything you can imagine. I really take comfort in knowing that there is a great cloud of witnesses up there, and there is bound to be someone who really deeply cares about a conundrum I might be in, due to their own life experiences, etc.
(Don't believe me? Look here: http://www.catholic.org/saints/patron.php)
For instance, I recently learned that I have major anxiety to the point of panic attacks (I always thought my feelings were normal). Enter, St. Dymphna. Then, I learned that St. Anthony can help when I lost stuff. And, when I'm feeling really desperate, St. Rita is the patron of impossible causes.
I have no idea what to call this sneaking suspicion of mine. Do you ever have certain people, circumstances, or characteristics that seem to present themselves to you over and over? Do you think this is for a reason - most specifically - to PRAY for that cause yourself?
I find myself being really bothered and saddened by ex-Catholics. People who leave the church, especially if they leave under duress and consider themselves "recovering Catholic," or become anti-Catholic. It breaks my heart, and I have to think they really didn't understand what they left. I have a really negative reaction when a Catholic becomes a Calvinist. I can hardly fathom it. (I basically did the reverse, and I'm sure this is how my parents feel about my conversion to Catholicism.) But, it is a cause close to my heart. Whenever I hear people like this speak, or meet someone who identifies as "recovering Catholic," or talk to a friend and realize their background is Catholic (and now there's an ex- in front of the -Catholic part...), well, my heart breaks a little. I have to think that the only reason these people come across my path, and the reason it hurts me so is that I am called to pray for them.
Another group that seems to present themselves to me, over and over (not entirely unrelated to the former) is gay friends and family I have. I have a background in the arts, and whether there are more gay people in the arts, or they just feel more comfortable being "out" in those circles, I know LOTS of gay people, and I count them among my friends. I feel so sad when they feel like they cannot be gay and Christian anymore, especially if they feel they cannot be gay and Catholic. I also feel really sad when they perceive the Catholic Church to be against them, when I feel like it is one of the only Churches who has an answer for treating our sexuality with dignity and truth.
Again, I wonder - why do the stories of these people get to me so much? I think about them, pray for them, I can't shake the thoughts. I wonder if it's because I'm called to pray for them and be a patron for that cause on earth. I can think of no other reason, and yet it's interesting and odd which "causes" present themselves to me. I trust that God is revealing something to me when my heart has pangs of hurt. As my husband reminds me, when something bothers me, spend MORE time with it, not less, until I can reach peace. I hurt that the Church is mis-understood, and I hurt that people would leave it or would not feel welcome there. As I wrestle with the people and situations presented to me, I am only at peace when I conclude that it must be for a purpose.
St. Frances de Sales, pray for us!
St. Charles of Lwanga, pray for us!