Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Role Models

Someone asked who my role model was. But I have not one but thousands of role models - the saints who have gone before us and who pray for us.

One of these, and the chiefest among them, is the Theotokos (the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary). She was a human being in every sense of the word - yet she CHOSE to live according to what God wanted her to live. She CHOSE to be without sin. God blessed her and chose her to bear His Son for the salvation of the world. In bearing Christ, God, she became in effect the mother of us all. So I turn to her first and foremost to be my role model - to help me see that willingly fulfilling God's Will, I am "doing the right thing." When in trouble most of us turn in thought or in reality to our mothers. When in trouble my thoughts turn to my mother (Memory Eternal!), who died at a young age from the same disease I have. And at the same time, I turn to the Theotokos. Her prayers are powerful, and I petition her to pray for my troubles. Daily, I praise the Theotokos for her sacrifices that had brought us our salvation - Christ our Lord and Saviour, the very Son of God.

Some of the others I consider to be role models, are:

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg - a "fool for Christ" who lived in the early 19th century. When her husband died, she was so concerned about the salvation of his soul that she took to wearing his clothes, took his name, "Andrew," and gave away all her possessions. She voluntarily lived on the streets of St. Petersburg. Her life is inspirational.

St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner and Baptist, John - This is my Patron (or Matron) saint. She was righteous in the sight of God and of men. She was married, she loved her husband and desired his child. After many years of childlessness, this was granted to her. The Church, which glorifies virgins, glorifies her for her marriage and for her childbearing. This is a good model for those of us who are married.

St. Macrina the Elder - This is a wonderful saint who has remained in obscurity entirely too long! It is rather incredible to contemplate the life of a woman who was the wife of a saint (St. Basil), the mother of a saint (St. Basil the elder), the mother-in-law of a saint (St. Emilia, wife of St. Basil the Elder) and the grandmother of 4 saints (St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Macrina the Younger, and St. Peter of Sebaste)! Saints ran in this family, due mostly to the strong influence of the women, particularly that of St. Macrina the Elder. She is considered to be the Matron saint for grandparents. She underwent persecution for her faith, and, with her husband and child, lived in the wilderness for over 7 years during the last and worse persecution of Christians under Diocletian. Contemplating what is known of her life helps me to be patient and to be the best guide I can for my own 11 grandchildren. She also gives me strength to bear up under the subtle but real persecution Christians undergo in this country as it wends it's way toward atheism and suppression of Christianity.

These are only a very few of the many thousands of saints who have gone before us and provide role models for us. More information about various saints may be found HERE and HERE. I commend their lives to my readers.

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