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Monday, March 31, 2008

Confirmation Name Meme

I think this is more of a free-form kind of Meme, and thanks to Theocoid for the inspiration and origin:

Many of us were Confirmed under the name of another Saint. The practice today is to be Confirmed under our Baptismal name (which is in fact, the most proper) but there are some Confirmed under a Saint's name because their given name is not a Christian name. (Think about it: Autumn, Aureliuste, Destiny, Moon Shadow, Raven, Zephastophanes....).

In my parish, the practice was to be Confirmed under the name of a Saint, and we wore our chosen Saint's name in place of our own for the Sacrament. I actually loved St. Joan of Arc...but that was Mom's, as a rebellious teen, I couldn't possibly take that name.

So I searched and searched through Butler's "Lives of the Saints" and chose a name I liked...and wished I had...and discerned whether I could live with it for life: Christina.

I don't know why I liked the name, but in researching it, I did like my options. Unfortunately, some of the Christina's were legendary. Others just seemed weird. But I couldn't let the name go. I didn't want to go with a popular Saint like St. Therese of Lisieux or some other, because I wasn't popular myself. I was looking for a Saint who was weird, like me. Someone who didn't fit in. Someone completely misunderstood by others. Someone who didn't like others...and didn't care. (I'm not painting a very flattering picture of myself at the time, but it's how I felt and it's how I saw the world.)

At that time in my life I hated the world,I hated my life, and in fact, I wanted to die. I didn't want to even associate with the world. So the more bizarre revelations of the life of St. Christina were in fact, very appealing to me.

My human intentions, admittedly, were not proper nor were they pure. But I think my Saint's own intervention proves the intcession of the Saints. I chose a Saint in a very tumultous time in my life...and she has answered, over and over again.

I remember meeting with the priest at mh parish, and telling him about my Saint. And although I knew the priest well (as I was well involved in my parish) I had a difficult time explaining why I chose this Saint because my choice was so close to my heart and my suffering. I felt that if I revealed too much...well, he would know what we were going through and what I was going through. And maybe he would guess what I was thinking, and most certainly, he'd react to stop me. And I didn't want ANYONE to know my soul, even him. I sat there in his office across from my Pastor, contemplating suicide, revealing my Saint.

I chose St. Christina. There are several St. Christinas, some are legendary, some not. So I chose from the conglomeration, and what I really wanted. I chose from the very heart of my suffering.

St. Christina: Little Christ.

A Saint who suffered and was persecuted for proclaiming the Gospel. She proclaimed Christ...and as punishment, they cut out her tongue. She spoke more eloquently than beofore.

She spoke of her visions of Christ...and they cut out her eyes. She saw more clearly than before.

I think in some legends, they threw her into a furnace and she survived, so they tried to drown her, but she was saved by St. Michael.

There were stories about how she would hide in ovens to escape the odor of sin. The first picture (above) is a depiction of St. Christina the Astonishing. She had apparently died, but during her funeral she sat up in the casket and levitated to the rafters. The priest officiating at her funeral had to talk her into coming down; but she was there because she could not stand the odor of sin and was only seeking to escape it. From that point on, she devoted her life to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, wishing that she herself could finally expire in order to be with her Beloved, Christ, for eternity.

Some of this was clearly legend, so I took from the legends the gist of the meaning, and that was what I used to explain my Saint: No matter what they did to St. Christina, it made her strong. No matter what form of persecution, that attack made her stronger in that very thing they sought to destroy.

I didn't realize at the time that the Saint really chose me, for she took pity on me in the life we were living. And although much of what is known about her is legendary, there is some truth, and it reveals that the woman was a true feminist; outspoken for Christ, uncompromising in truth.

And I see now that there is even a link to the Dominicans...she has been compared to St. Mary Magdalene, very special in the Dominican Order, and it seems she was even taken into a Dominican convent. Even though I should not be surprised...I am. Because I have come to believe, whether Lay or Religious, I have a Dominican Vocation. Thank you, St. Christina.

I'm 33 this year, and chose this Saint when I was only 15 or 16; but she has clearly been a huge part of my life. For it has been in my weaknesses that I have been made strong, through those being drawn to Christ. And it was in what I thought I fled that brought me to the very sources of my fears and the very meaning of my life.

You can read about St. Christina here and here and here.

Whom shall I tag?

Ask not for whom the blog tags, for it tags Thee!


Angela M. said...

Cool and dare I say, astonishing, post!

Jay3GSM said...

Hi, you got (another, it seems) tag:

Elizabeth said...

I am visiting this blog for the first time... your post speaks to me, as I was also a "weird" and troubled child. I was confirmed last year, after returning to the Church at age 28, after half a lifetime's loss of faith and abandonment of the sacraments. My confirmation name was Juanita, because I love St. John of the Cross and wanted him as a particular patron, and his writings (among other saints') helped bring me back to faith and to Catholicism. He suffered very much including imprisonment and severe abuse by fellow Carmelites, which I identified with because of my experiences of (mainly psychological/social) abuse as a child. He could have been very bitter but he was not, he was extremely loving. I myself am working on it. I definitely feel the need of the example and intercessory support of those saints who have suffered in ways that seem similar to me. A St. Therese can even seem discouraging at times since she reminds me I didn't have the advantage of such a wonderful loving family upbringing--which seems to be very common among saints. "Grace builds on nature," but surely Jesus is also the savior and sanctifier of those who do not have this wonderful advantage, surely it is not hopeless for me to also become holy and loving even though humanly my formation has been lacking, and I have been very much a sinner. I need more faith, much more!

Adoro te Devote said...

Elizabeth ~ Thank you so much for your comment, and welcome Home! Isn't it amazing how the Saints surround us and lead us ever closer to the Lord? And if you do more research on the Saints, not all of them had great families...many Saints were abused, were deformed, troubled, were considered to be dumb! (St. Thomas Aquinas was referred to as a "dumb ox" by his school masters.) St. John Vianney really struggled, and Solanus Casey wasn't allowed to hear Confessions...he was considred to be too dumb, when in reality both of the latter Saints were profoundly gifted by God.

So don't give up! I'm sure you've heard the adage: Saint's are just sinners who kept trying. And it's true. And I'm convinced that those who have the most to overcome may be the ones God is asking to go deeper, more quickly, and I believe that Jesus is closer to them as they suffer so much.

God is merciful, and He will help us all to be as holy as He intends. And there's nothing that we can do that can ever not be overcome by His mercy.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that post!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how common that is? Because I chose St. Raphael the Archangel (much to the shock of the bishop) because I was discerning a religious vocation at the time & Raphael is the patron of folks discerning their vocations. I turned out to be called to marriage, not the Daughters of St. Paul. But it later turned out I have a gift for helping young people discern their vocations, including religious ones, so I think maybe Raphael chose me.

Adoro te Devote said...

Anon ~ How cool is THAT!? I'm guessing this is common, but I want more stories!

Why was the bishop shocked?

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Adoro te Devote. I like your saying that a saint is a sinner who kept trying. I would very much like to quit sinning, but maddeningly enough I still "do not do the good I want, but do the evil I do not want."

Maureen said...

We pretty much all chose Confirmation names in my class. I took Sheila for St. Cecilia, because I loved music and thought I'd be doing that for life.

Of course, it wasn't long afterward that my public school choir teacher threw me out, figuratively cutting my throat like they cut hers in the legend. I kept on singing to a certain extent, but I wish I'd done more.

Still, I think she looks after me. And I was very pleased to find out that although some of the details may have been legendary, the early sources are pretty unanimous that she was a real person, with real relatives and such.

Anonymous said...

Hi, again. The bishop was shocked because in all the years he'd been a bishop & a priest, I was the first person who'd chosen Raphael.

Sheila--chances are good that St. Cecilia really was a catechist; at that time a catechist risked her life to instruct converts for several years while protecting the anonymity of the baptized. The dynamic of martyrs in the early Church was such that a dying martyr would have been visited by the faithful & catechumens, since Christ was considered to be present in them physically and spiritually. She's one of my name saints, too. Maybe you should be on the lookout for ways you're called to teach the faith if you don't already.

Daniel Storrs said...

Just thought you might want to know the icon you have is not of St. Christina the Astonishing but St. Christina the Great Martyr of Tyre. Many blessings on Christ, Our Lord.

Adoro said...

Daniel ~ Thanks for your comment. I am actually aware of that fact, but if you had actually read my post you would have seen that I did not say I was Confirmed under the name of "St. Christina the Astonishing".

You will notice that the first painting at the top of my post shows that Saint, but my posting of the icon of St. Christina the Martyr points to what I actually wrote in my post.

You should take care to read more carefully before trying to "correct" someone. Not that I don't make errors, for of course I do, constantly.

I STILL know why St. Christina the Astonishing flew to the rafters to avoid people and hid in ovens.

Yes, there's a reason why I blog...