I recently became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. If you don’t know what an actuary is I’ll save you some googling. An actuary is the most important job in the world.
In order to become a Fellow I needed to pass several exams, do a few modules and attend a few conferences. Seems easy enough but I’ll save you some more googling and tell you that the exams are the hardest exams in the world. Some very (very) smart people are able to complete all of the fellowship requirements in just a few years, however the average person takes between 6 and 10 years to complete all of the requirements. Many more people never finish at all. But I did. Thank God! And the saints! And that is the point of this post.
During my studying I prayed a lot, every day, and I became really familiar with intercessory prayer, too. I asked many different saints for their intercession in many different situations. I asked for help staying awake. I asked for help with confidence. I asked for help improving my math skills. I asked for help finding the answers. Everyone knows that prayer to St. Anthony, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony please come downsomething’s lost and can’t be found.” Well I said that prayer during exams for help finding actual answers. It didn’t always work.
I talked to a few specific saints all the time. Others, I talked with periodically.
If I read somewhere that a Saint helped a person or found something left in the back of a church I figured “hey, they may be able to help me too”. So I prayed. That may not be the best way to do it, but I learned a lot about saints, faith and prayer. Now I know Saints don’t really grab your pencil or pen and pick the answers for you. They might, but I doubt it. I did find, though, invoking their names and asking for help gave me confidence and comfort. I did not always get the exact help I was hoping for and I failed more exams than I would have liked to, but my friendship with the saints helped me to accept those failures and keep going.
So, having said all that, I give you a semi-inclusive list of the Saints I talked to over the last 10 years.
I have also visited the Saint Anthony Shrine website often over the past several years. I liked to post prayer requests online and read and pray for others who have posted.
In addition to the canonized and celebrated, there were a few other people I asked for help.
I often asked Grandpa R and Grandpa M to help me stay calm and on the upper level exams give me the gift of gab. It wasn’t always about writing a perfect answer in so much as writing a coherent and convincing one. Both gentleman had that gift, and I’m pretty sure both helped me.
I also asked my Grandma Rogers for help. She was the first person I remember with prayer cards. When we went to Mass with her, she always sat up front (which we never did when we went without her) and she would take out these cards. Now I don’t remember reading them or knowing exactly what to do with them but I remember she “used” them at some point during every Mass I went to with her. And she also always had tic-tacs. And we use to try to steal them. During Mass. But I mean come on, they’re tic-tacs. Orange ones. Delicious.
As I was writing this post, I had to look up some of the saints and remember what they are the patron of. I don’t remember how I learned about some of them and some I don’t often include in my prayers anymore, but I think that’s okay. Much like people, I think saints come and go in our lives. God is always there and the Saints help you understand that. Different Saints teach different things about our relationship with God depending on where we are and what we are doing. Ever since I began to include them in my life 10 years ago I have been comforted to know there are saints to look to, ask for help draw me closer to God.