01 October 2010

1 October - Saint Remigius of Rheims and Saint Therese of Lisieux

There are some really interesting names out there.  In the liturgical calendar, today's list of saints includes "Bavo", "Virila", "Albaud", and - something that I would never consider christening a child with - "Dodo".

[Thank heavens we have normal names today, like Eara, Kamkah, Ryno, Latrina, Faight, and Jherani.]

Today is the Memorial of Saint Remigius (or Remi), the 5th century bishop of Rheims, who evangelized among the Franks and converted their king, Clovis, to Christianity.  His efforts led to the establishment of the Church in France.  The Wikipedia article calls this "a momentous success for the Catholic Church and a seminal event in European history."

He is a patron of France, and invoked against epidemics, throat pain, and snakes.  His life, as related in the medieval Golden Legend, can be read here.

Memorial of Saint Therese of Lisieux, a very popular saint in our day.  She is the patroness of a whole host of things: missions and missionaries, sick people (especially tuberculosis and AIDS sufferers), florists, aviators and aircrews.  She is also the patron of the diocese in which I grew up - Fresno.

She rightly speaks to those who think that because they are considered nonentities in a world that worships celebrities, they can do nothing.

Our world believes that one must be at the forefront of society to make a difference, because that is all we see - stars of the music-hall holding concerts to raise mega-money for the Cause of the Day; politicians reminding us that they voted for this, that, and the other thing to relieve our pain and suffering; eminent writers, academics, scientists, religious personalities, champions in the realm of sport, and business tycoons, all out in the public eye Doing Great Things.  There is no room for small things, nor does anyone really care.  Even the usual magazine articles ("Little girl collects _____ for _____; how one child made a difference") make it seem like one must have a Great Idea and be successful at it (because Unsuccessful Ideas aren't Great).

Saint Therese reminds us that everything we do in love for God - each small prayer, each small sacrifice - is a Great Thing, because Our Lord can use it to make Great Things.  Do what you are given to do, and don't worry about how many people it will save from the ills of this world or the next.  Sometimes, in spite of all the Grand and Glorious Things that I would like to do, prayer is all I can do.  A small thing.  A little thing.  The Widow's Mite.  Someday I will see what Grand and Glorious Things He did with my prayers. 
Dinner tonight should be something - French - don't you think?  Rheims is in Champagne (known for its sparkling wine), and Lisieux is in Calvados (known for its cheese and its apple brandy) - both are in the northern part of France.

So, I'm thinking chicken cutlets with a hard-but-sweet cider sauce, as found on About.com, preceded by a cheese tray - Camembert, Langres, Maroilles, Mimolette, Pont L'eveque (well, Camembert can be found at the commissary; I don't know about the others) - and followed by a glass of champagne and a slice of Apple Tart, (and perhaps a nightcap of Calvados).

And a lot of prayers.