Absent Friends

As I was browsing my new-and-improved Facebook timeline (when will they stop the change? the end of the world MUST be coming in 2012 because there’s nowhere else to go besides documenting your ENTIRE LIFE on a social network…), I came across a song my sister had posted on my wall a while ago.

To warn y’all, I have a very eclectic and often misunderstood taste in music. Even Caitlin can’t understand my love for bizarre artists at times, and that is saying something. Don’t worry though, we can always reconnect on our unabashed yet slightly guilty love for Kanye West.

As I was saying, my music taste can be strange, so I won’t blame you if you don’t like the song I’m talking about by The Divine Comedy called Absent Friends. See and listen HERE. Neil Hannon, lead singer/songwriter/etc. sings in the song about a bunch of famous people who have died, and how their memories live on as his “friends” even though they’re gone.

On a caffeine-boosted, little-sleep train of thought, in my head I was like, “Hey, that’s what saints are like! Great job, Neil!” Yes, I talk to band members by name in my head. Don’t worry about it.

What a cool analogy, though, really, isn’t it? Absent friends. The saints. They lived on earth for a while, some a little longer than others (St. Lucy, 21, versus St. Anthony of Egypt, 88), and even though they’ve gone to live with our Lord in Heaven, they’re never really gone from our lives.

I think one of the most common misconceptions about the saints in Catholicism is that we adore or worship these random people who, admittedly, lived interesting/cool and or boring/dull lives for no apparent reason. And what those who say that are missing is the friendship aspect.

Just like friends on earth, the saints are there for you whenever you need them – and often times are more open to a call at 4:00 in the morning than your roommate might be. They are willing to listen to your problems, to agree with you when you’re right, and they aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong. They can have that always-helpful mentorship aspect, having gone through similar situations as you might find yourself in, and are never going to withhold advice when you need it most.

Some of my best friends in the sainthood world are St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Blessed (almost saint!) Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Paul, St. Philip Neri, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Andrew. Whenever I pray for anything that really merits attention, I always ask them to pray for the same intention. I’ve learned so much about life from the example of all of them. From St. Thérèse, a love for doing the small things for the Lord. From Bl. Kateri, a humility and realization of my unimportance. From St. Paul, a knowledge of how the written word can impact others. From St. Philip Neri, an appreciation of laughter and joy in my life. From St. Teresa of Avila, a courageous and no-nonsense attitude towards my faith. From St. Andrew, the importance of bringing others to the Lord. And on, and on, and on.

These things are things I’ve learned from reading about them, at times, but more from just talking to them. You’d be surprised how willing they are to dialogue back with you when you make the effort – it might not be in so many words, but peace always comes when you invoke your favorite saint’s name.

And let’s be honest, asking someone on earth to pray for you can be powerful and effective, but how much closer are the saints? Hello, they’ve already gotten it all right! They won! Don’t be afraid to take advantage of them.

So, pick a saint, and start learning about them. You’ll be surprised what a good friend you might find.

Hannah

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