The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
The Catholic practice of invoking the saints is deeply rooted in Church teaching.
The Church teaches that saints “do not cease to intercede with the Father for us … by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 956)
Assigning certain patronages to certain saints is a common element of Catholic tradition, a part of popular religiosity, which helps us to remember that God is watching over us and involved in our daily lives, down to the smallest details.
Some saints have gotten their patronage because of how they died. Others get it because of miracles they interceded for. Others patronages have developed for reasons lost to history.
But here are two saints invoked in times of bad weather, and a psalm to pray in the midst of storms.
Medard was a 6th century bishop who is well loved in northern France. He was ordained at age 33 and quickly became known for his preaching and missionary zeal, such that when the bishop of the area died, he was chosen to succeed him.
He is a saint to invoke in inclement weather because of a tradition that when he was a child, an eagle extended his wings over him to keep him safe and dry. He is often depicted with this eagle in art.
Saint Medard is associated with a tradition similar to the secular Groundhog Day. It’s said that if it’s wet and rainy on his feast (June 8), there are 40 more days of rain in store.
St. Rafael Guizar
This recently canonized saint of Mexico is perhaps yet too little-known to have specific patronages associated with him. However, this account from his autobiography indicates that he will be a powerful intercessor in stormy weather:
“… I’ll take the priests, the fisherman said, but that community is a long ways away and we have to leave at midnight to beat the sun, which on the sea, burns badly. We saw land about 6 a.m. One of the priests shouted like in the caravels of Christopher Columbus: Land! Land! When we thought we were about to happily get off the boat, the waves began to come up and with the crashing of the water, one of the planks of the canoe split and water began to pour in. This is very dangerous, José said. So I — I had the Blessed Sacrament in a pyx — made this prayer to Him. ‘Lord, for the love of your Son who I am carrying in my hands, and out of compassion for these missionaries exposed to these dangers in order to save souls, free us from this peril.’ An immense wave took up our canoe and dumped it on the sand of the beach. …”
Finally, in times of need, we can — as little children mimicking our Father — make the words of our prayer the very words of God’s Word.
Psalm 27 is perfect for moments of need:
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me,
uttering slanders against me,
my adversaries and my foes,
they shall stumble and fall.
Though a host encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies round about me;
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”
My heart says to thee,
“Thy face, Lord, do I seek,”
Hide not thy face from me.
Turn not thy servant away in anger,
thou who hast been my help.
Cast me not off, forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me up.
Teach me thy way, O Lord;
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness
of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
yea, wait for the Lord!
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