Did you ever pick up a book and know from the very first page that is was going to be one you would enjoy reading? Fr. Martin begins this inspirational work by writing about Spiderman, fake vomit, sea monkeys and his swimming Tony the Tiger toy. These were some of the childhood items he “sent away for” – enticed by the ads in comic books and on cereal boxes. His shopping habits were not confined to exaggerated ads that depleted his allowance as, for some unexplained reason, he was drawn to an ad for a plastic Saint Jude statue he spotted in a religious magazine. The plastic statue sat perched on his dresser for many years but, when high school friends began to hang out, Saint Jude was relegated to the sock drawer for fear of awkward questions and embarrassment in front of his peers.
While I did not have the $3.50 plastic Saint Jude in my younger days, in my early 20’s I was drawn, as well, to this patron of hopeless causes. In my wallet, I carried prayer cards, that as you can see in the picture, are showing their age and use. The wallet has not been too kind to these holy cards as folds permanently crease their words and fraying edges bear evidence of the numerous times they have been held in prayer. Every cause is a hopeless cause when it is something meaningful to you! I do not remember when or who gifted me with the small pewter statue of Saint Jude, but he has stood faithfully on my dresser for 20 plus years. Like Fr. Martin, Saint Jude has been the go to saint when faced with decisions about family, vocation and the future.
For Fr. Martin the small piece of plastic in the sock drawer was only the beginning for a parade of holy women and men that would come into his life, inspiring and guiding him along the way. In future posts, I’ll share highlights of his encounters, how the saints touched his life and how they can touch our lives as well.
Title: My Life with the Saints
Author: James Martin
Publisher: Baker Academic
Release Date: October 1, 2007