Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Never Call Me A Saint"

Dorothy Day spoke those words, I believe, out of her great humility and distaste for worldly honor. She was the first to admit some of her glaring human faults, even in the midst of those whom she helped, as her diaries [The Duty of Delight, Robert Ellsberg, ed., Marquette University Press, 2008] well attest. Somehow, I suspect that, in God's eyes, the magnitude of suffering she experienced during her life more than made up for them.

Dorothy died on November 29, 1980, and on a card found in her final journal St. Ephraim the Syrian's Prayer of Penance summed up her deep religious spirit: "O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed from all ages to ages. Amen."

Despite her strong feelings about not wanting to be considered a "saint", the U.S. Catholic bishops decided recently to push her cause for canonization. A long-time admirer of Dorothy Day since my college days, I'm with the bishops on this one. Her very human life and example can only give tremendous inspiration to many thousands of us ordinary folks who have known spiritual failure as well as abundant blessing. Join me in praying for the time when we can ask the intercession of "Saint" Dorothy Day.

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