I’ve never met my best friend. Yet, she’s been in almost every important moment in my life, especially the ones I didn’t realize were important at the time. She always shows up.
She lived in Lisieux, France, in the 1870’s. She was a nun. She’s my Confirmation saint. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through the process of picking a saint. I knew it was going to be her from a young age. I received gifts of St. Therese even from my First Communion. But, most Catholics I talk to don’t even remember who their Confirmation saint is!
Why do I feel such a connection with her? It may have something to do with the fact that she was a brat growing up, and that’s something I identified with. Following her life story inspires me to strive to be like her everyday. She died when she was 24. I just came up on 25, and now that I’m officially “older than her,” I’ve been reflecting on my life thus far. I believe that our Confirmation saints, being outside of time, know that we’ll pick them, and they start looking out for us from the beginning.
Therese got her whole family involved in my life! Her parents have helped heal my view of marriage, family, and mental illness. They have helped me realize: I could have a daughter like Therese. I could BE a daughter like Therese!
Of course, we’re different too. Therese makes loving Jesus sound so easy, whereas my whole life I’ve been making it so hard. I look back and I realize she’d been nudging me to just surrender to my littleness. Our personalities are very opposite (from what I can gather by her books and her seemingly melancholic disposition). But when I read about her and pray with her, I imagine us getting coffee and chatting about our Lord.
I have some amazing friends on earth too, people who the Lord has used to love and heal me in ways I didn’t know I needed. What’s great is that sometimes even their Confirmation saints enter into the story of my life. I love it when I discover that a friend’s Confirmation saint is someone I already have a devotion to. You could say it’s coincidence, since some saints are more popular than others, but I like to think that our saints have been scheming for us along the way.
I encourage you, friends, to meditate on your Confirmation saint (go through your parish records if you can’t remember who it is!) as a way of drawing closer to the fact that God is integrated into every tiny aspect of our lives. We tend to think He doesn’t care about the small things, but He does. And He’s even sent members of His Body along the way to help us.
Reflect on the story of your saints: their personality, the sins they struggled with, how they overcame them, the things they are the patron of, the lives of their friends and family. God will reveal the ways He has placed the saints in your path and even the reason why it was put on your heart to choose them.
At the time you may have picked a particular saint because he or she had a cool name. But God always has more in store for us.