Some years ago, I undertook a little exercise of writing "Letters Home." These were notes to various saints, talking of life in the world here and now. I scribbled those somewhere in a long forgotten journal. It was a helpful exercise of the imagination, but not entirely imaginary (I decided), since the saints are real people whom the Church declares to be in heaven. We believe they can see us, hear us, and intercede for us before God. Since I generally express myself better in writing than by talking, it was not much of a stretch for me to write to a saint rather than just "talk to" him or her.
My letters Home were a grace for me in several ways. Mostly, they helped me remember that earth is not my ultimate destination. They made me recall writing letters home from school in my teens. School was not my home; it was where I had gone to learn and grow.
My journal of Letters Home also helped me remember that I live in a mission field. I'm here not only to learn and grow holy, but also to help others do the same, in whatever little ways I can.
So - how am I doing? In what ways am I making progress or falling short? How did I (or did I not) share the love of Christ this week with my neighbor next door, or the woman who cuts my hair?
I think it will help me to try a few more Letters Home. And it seems that a blog entitled The Breadbox Letters might be just the place to keep this "mail," although I assure you I won't be doing it on a daily basis. Maybe once a week, or even once a month? We'll see how it goes. And of course I could write directly to YOU, but, well... the thing is.... there are things I can shine up and polish for you if I wish. But I can't gloss over something I write to a saint.
I know this has been a long post already, but here goes a first try:
Dear St. Jane de Chantal,
Just a quick note to genuinely ask your help with this "project" I'm starting on. It is estimated that you wrote "no less than eleven thousand letters," so I ask you to pray that I write what Our Lord wants in these few I will offer. You know how much I admire and identify with you, in so many ways. Especially since, as a laywoman and mother, you envisioned a cloister within your own heart.
Eleven thousand letters?!?!!?! All by hand, of course, and delivered by messengers traveling on horseback. You should see the system we have here now. You should see the systems we have of everything, but well, I'll deal with that another time. About so much in the world of today, you would be frankly appalled. But of course you do see, and of course you're praying. May our good God help us to, as you might have phrased it, LIVE JESUS in this world, in this time, in this age of the Church.
God be praised!
This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Round Up
Nancy, St. Jane Frances de Chantel is the patron saint of my parish! I love your idea for this. I need to start reading about the lives of saints. It is something I always mean to do. After that, I could start writing letters of my own. A nice idea. Have a great weekend.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kathleen! I love knowing that St. Jane is patron of your parish, as it doesn't seem she's an extremely well known saint. But I'm very fond of her. Hope you'll have a great weekend also!Delete
I find writing helpful, too, Nancy. I recently started a private blog for bible reflections. Because it's private, I'm finding that the writing flows more easily and writing down my thoughts has been helpful. I'm really interested in your idea.ReplyDelete
And I'm interested in YOUR idea, Vicky! I've thought about a private blog myself, just a place for random thoughts now and then. But in a blog format, as it tends to be a "natural" sort of thing for me these days. Hmmmm.......Delete
Thank you so much for visiting my Blog and for your much needed prayers.ReplyDelete
God bless you.
And thank you for visiting here, Victor. May God bless you also.Delete
I love reading the lives of the saints. So this is a great idea! God bless!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful idea, Nancy - I loved reading your post and your letter to St. Jane de Chantal.ReplyDelete
Speaking of letters, I sent you an e-mail. Please let me know if you don't receive it.
Oh! I just read your post from Oct. 2011 "Battling the 4 Dwarf Cold"! Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!ReplyDelete
Mary, thank you again for the e-mail! And I'm glad you enjoyed the dwarfs. We've found it helps to at least have Happy along when Sneezy and Dopey come calling...Delete
I like St Jane de Chantal because she was a devoted wife as well as a contemplative.
I was most impressed when I read how she use to dress very plainly and simply (habit-like?) while her husband was away, but put on the beautiful garments he enjoyed seeing her in when he returned home.
I toy with that idea myself!
bless you, Nancy.
I know! I was astounded also when I first read this! A Monsignor William J Doheny CSC gave this estimate. He wrote that around two thousand of her letters are still "around." I find even that number amazing, considering the fact that they would've been written in 1600s.Delete
I have toyed with the same idea as yours, about the "sometimes habit" :) !