One of the great things about being Catholic is that we Catholics know how to interact with the Saints. Blessed Mother, St. Monica, St. Joseph, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anthony, among others, all find their way into my prayer life on a regular basis. The lives of the saints are models of holiness. But these holy men and women are not mere historical figures. They continue to live as part of the Church Triumphant. Therefore, it is as natural to chat with them and ask for their prayers as it is for me to ask for your prayers.
Some may say that asking for the intercession of saints is unnecessary. They go straight to Jesus. They are right. It is unnecessary. This is a both/and proposition, not an either/or option. We go straight to God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He hears and answers our direct prayers. But in all honesty, I know there are folks who are much better at praying than I am. Souls who spend their days in the direct presence of God in Heaven are definitely a step above my humble attempts to communicate with The Almighty. So there are times when it is best to call in the experts for some assistance. I keep on praying, but I invite members of the Church Triumphant to join me.
It is has been a difficult week in the Hunnell household. Perhaps in another week or so I can go into more details. For now, let's just say that I have spent a great deal of time on my knees lately and my Rosary has gotten quite a workout. In the process, I have made a new friend among the holy men and women of the Church. Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos has become a favorite. He left Germany to be a missionary to the German speaking immigrants in the United States. He was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland. From his biographical profile:
His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful, quickly made him well known as an expert confessor and spiritual director, so much so that people came to him even from neighboring towns. Faithful to the Redemptorist charism, he practiced a simple lifestyle and a simple manner of expressing himself. The themes of his preaching, rich in biblical content, were always heard and understood even by everyone, regardless of education, culture, or background. A constant endeavor in this pastoral activity was instructing the little children in the faith. He not only favored this ministry, he held it as fundamental for the growth of the Christian community in the parish. In 1854, he was transferred from Pittsburgh, to Baltimore, then Cumberland in 1857, and to Annapolis (1862), all the while engaged in parish ministry and serving in the formation of future Redemptorists as Prefect of Students. Even in this post, he was true to his character remaining always the kind and happy pastor, prudently attentive to the needs of his students and conscientious of their doctrinal formation. Above all, he strove to instill in these future Redemptorist missionaries the enthusiasm, the spirit of sacrifice and apostolic zeal for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people.
His final assignment was to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was known for his joyful disposition and his tireless care of the victims of yellow fever. He eventually contracted yellow fever himself and died on October 4, 1867.
He was proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed on April 9th, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
I can tell you that Fr. Seelos has been listening to me quite a bit for the last week. He is a truly kind and a powerful intercessor.
Blessed Father Francis Xavier Seelos, pray for us.