This week’s obscure holy person is Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante. Gonzalo lived in the 15th or 16th century and was from Portugal. He was a Dominican hermit whose feast day is January 7.
Now writings about Gonzalo state he performed miracles and quite frankly, is a bit hard to believe. It’s almost like he was the original Travel Channel host of the first reality TV show as well as Miley Cyrus’ publicist. He excommunicated bread (as an example to followers, so don’t go boycotting Sunbeam Bread). The bread immediately went nasty (like Miley’s career) and when he un-excommunicated the bread, it went back to being carb-y goodness (back to Hannah Montana?).
He also made pilgrimages to the Holy Land and commanded fish to jump out of the water to feed some worker, as well as wine spurting through a rock. In conclusion, he was one busy miracle worker.
There are days, well most days, I wish I could be like Gonzalo. Kids whining about being hungry when you get them from school? Bam! Hit the passenger seat and it spews forth Happy Meals. Kids still whining when you get home? Bam! Kick the fridge and out pops a chilled Chianti from Tuscany.
I have to keep reminding myself that Gonzalo did everything for the glory of God, not the glory of most perfect mother in the school. So what if the chocolate chip cookies are store bought at 6:45 a.m. after you burned the homemade batch because you were refereeing a fight between your kids.
My husband once told me that I need to give myself permission to fail. I have no illusions of being perfect and the medical bills prove that when I fail, I fail in spectacular form. Just keep repeating to yourself “My flesh and my heart diminish; but the rock of my heart is God, God is my lot forever” (Psalm 73:26). It doesn’t hurt, though, to keep a bottle of Chianti in the fridge.
I like to read about dead people—obscure saints in particular. Odd macabre hobby but it’s not usually something that will get me admitted to a mental health facility unless I start communing with the dead. I try to find a correlation between my obscure saint of the week and my harried life.
Blessed William Carter’s feast day is January 11. He’s relative newcomer to the church’s recognized heavenly chorus being beautified in 1985. He was one of many Catholic English subjects who were martyred during the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. As you might know, Lizzie was not fond of Catholics and actually was quite the snot when it came to flirting with King Phillip of Spain. She took turns being a vixen and then an ice queen and this hot/cold relationship culminated in the Spanish Armada attacking England.
Our blessed Willie was a printer. He bounced around jobs (like one of my lazy relatives) from jailer to secretary to printer. Willie ran afoul with Elizabethan authorities and was put to death for being Catholic.
Now most can see the connection with Willie and today’s problems—ISIS coming to mind but to make it personal, I see Willie as a the friend who couldn’t settle down. Willie’s mom probably prayed many rosaries for her son to find his niche in life.
I do the same with my children. Regan, my 12 year old daughter, has her life planned out. She knows exactly what she wants to do and how to accomplish it. My son, on the other hand, is Blessed William Carter’s modern doppelganger.
Granted, John Wesley—I know it’s a Methodist name—is only 14 years old. John Wesley is floating around future careers with alarmingly regularity. One day he wants to be a video game designer; the next he is researching go-kart mechanics.
So, maybe what I’m meandering on about is my lack of faith in God’s plans for my son. Did Momma Carter read and reread Jeremiah 29:11? “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” I don’t want John Wesley to be martyred but it is comforting that William Carter is now in heaven on our side. Hopefully John Wesley will make his mark upon the world—go-kart mechanic extraordinaire or whatever God’s plan for him.