These 4 saints, whom we celebrate this month, can help us grow in our spiritual life each day.
There is no better “self-help” than what the saints offer us. Following their example helps us as we strive to become saints ourselves. Four saints whom we celebrate this month offer very specific advice to help us do that.
So meet an intellectual archbishop, a champion of teachers, a fiery preacher-theologian, and a doctor of the Church who can all offer beautiful and practical ways for you to fulfill that seemingly daunting directive of Scripture to “pray without ceasing.”
April 4 — St. Isidore of Seville (560-636 AD)
St. Isidore is often called the “last scholar of the ancient world” and wrote The Etymologiae, an encyclopedic work that gathered information and extracts from many classical works of antiquity that would have been lost had it not been for his hard work. That is why he is the patron saint of the internet, students, computer users, and programmers. St. Isidore is even credited with the invention of the comma, period, and colon. Archbishop of Seville for over 30 years and known as the most brilliant man of his time, he became a Doctor of the Church.
How often do we ask ourselves how we can more effectively remain consciously in God’s company throughout our day?
St. Isidore advises, “If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.”
April 7 — St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle (1651-1719)
Jean-Baptiste de la Salle was a French priest who founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and is the patron saint of teachers. This saint understands what it means to be busy and overworked. By the time he was 21 his parents’ death left him responsible for the education and guidance of his six younger siblings. He was a hard-working and well-studied priest, received his doctorate, opened schools, began a new religious institute, trained lay teachers — even opening his own home to them so they could have a place to live and learn.
How do we pray even when we are busy at work and are asked for our advice?
St. Jean-Baptiste advises, “I will unite my actions with those of our Lord and try to make his perspective and intentions my own. When my brothers come to me for advice I will ask our Lord himself to give it to them. If the matter is serious I will take a moment to pray about it. At least I will try to keep myself recollected during the interview while lifting my heart to God.”
April 28 — St Louis de Montfort (1673-1716)
St. Louis de Montfort was no stranger to hard work, humiliation, or trials. He led a large group of peasants in a project to build a huge monument to Calvary in France. After 15 months of work without pay, the king ordered it to be demolished. St. Louis de Montfort responded, “Blessed be God!”
Known for his fiery preaching that converted many souls, St. Louis was also Founder of the Sisters of Wisdom and the Company of Mary. He wrote the spiritual classics True Devotion to Mary and The Secret of Mary. In honor of St. Louis, why not join your parish Rosary Society, or join the Rosary Confraternity?
How can our prayers touch the Heart of God and draw Him closer to us?
St. Louis de Montfort advises, “The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother … What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst! And all we have to do to have him with us is to come together to say the Rosary.”
April 29 — St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
St. Catherine is known as one of the great Doctors of the Church. She resisted marriage and lived a life of service and holiness: giving away food to the poor, visiting hospitals, and experiencing mystical visions. She composed letters and wrote her famous Dialogue, and even helped to restore the Papacy to Rome. She was a Third Order Dominican who prayed not in a convent, but within her own home. Let St. Catherine inspire you to make a space within your own home for prayer as she did. If you already have one, add to it!
How can we remain inspired and focused in prayer throughout the day…especially when we aren’t in a church or a chapel, or even in our home prayer space?
St. Catherine of Siena advises, “Build yourself a spiritual cell, which you can always take with you, and that is the cell of self-knowledge; you will find there also the knowledge of God’s goodness to you. There are really two cells in one, and if you live in one you must also live in the other, otherwise the soul will either despair or be presumptuous; if you dwelt in self-knowledge alone you would despair; if you dwelt in knowledge of God alone you would be tempted to presumption. One must go with the other, and thus you will reach perfection.”
Saints of April, as we seek and follow your advice, pray for us!