On New Year's Day, I found a new friend, or rather he found me. I was flipping through the latest Magnificat and the first thing that made me stop was: St. Alphonsus de Ligouri. His Stations of the Cross are my favorite, but I had no idea that he suffered so much. How silly of me ... all the saints were purified through some sort of suffering. Anyway, I turned a few more pages and discovered that this entire month is devoted to saints who suffered from chronic illnesses. How perfectly fitting for me to learn to suffer with the saints. I keep rather good company, don't you think? In any case, St. Alphonsus is going to walk with me all year with his 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation. Each month, I will work on increasing one virtue. Jan is Faith. By the end of the year I should be ready to read Uniformity with God's Will.
You can read some remarkable things about his writings and sufferings here. An excerpt: St. Alphonsus wrote his first book at the age of forty-nine, and in his eighty-third year had published about sixty volumes, when his director forbade him to write more. Very many of these books were written in the half-hours snatched from his labors as missionary, religious superior, and Bishop, or in the midst of continual bodily and mental sufferings. With his left hand he would hold a piece of marble against his aching head while his right hand wrote. This made me smile. I often write with an ice pack on my head. So I will be asking him to pray for my writing, mothering, and suffering.
On this Epiphany, I leave you with a Star and the Wise Men at the Crib. May we have the gifts of the magi: eyes to seek Him, feet to follow Him, and hearts to worship Him.
An afterthought: My daughter made the star and thought she was going to annoy me by making it seven-pointed, but I love it. I only get upset when people make snowflakes with fourfold or eightfold symmetry. People -- please, please make your snowflakes with SIX-fold symmetry. Sorry to shout. But it's a pet peeve of mine.