“To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.”
At first mention of Peter’s illness, you could truly say the saints came marching in. Prayers and medals, rosaries and relics have poured in from all over, including from perfect strangers who had their own individual stories of healing and comfort from a favorite holy man or woman and wanted us to share in that grace. As the days went on, more people asked if there was a particular saint to whom we were praying or suggested one that might make sense. We welcomed them all. After hearing the story of Blessed Carlo Acutis, Peter decided he had found his man. Italian kid, liked video games, had cancer, wore sweatpants – what else does one need? When he asked why he wasn’t a saint yet, we explained that he needed another miracle. "Perfect," Peter said. "We can get him a second miracle and make him a saint." As we have prayed through Carlo’s intercession, we’ve asked for complete healing and also for Peter not to suffer the horrible side effects from the intensive radiation and chemotherapy needed.
Toward the end of last week while Peter and his older sister Katie were playing, a clump of hair fell on the table, then another. The nurses had told us it would be coming, but nothing quite prepares you for when it does. Both children’s faces dropped. As I tried to anticipate what they might be thinking, I cleaned up the hair and acknowledged the circumstances stunk. A tear slid down Peter’s face and I asked what was on his mind. "Now Carlo won't become a saint. He won't get his miracle," Peter said with great sadness. Now it was my face’s turn to drop. As this little boy was losing his hair and some of his self-esteem along with it, his main concern was not his vanity, but making a saint. I tried to comfort the kids that Blessed Carlo was already on his way to holiness. I couldn’t help but wonder, how often am I praying for saints to be made versus saints to make something happen? How can my words and actions, my prayers, and even my response to my own suffering, cultivate holiness in others? Am I simply calling upon the saints, or am I focused, like Peter, on calling forth the saints in waiting? While determining official saintly designations may exist above our paygrade, we can always create the conditions for holy men and women to rise up. Prayers for your holiness this week.