By: Chrysa Smith
‘Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and needs to be found.’
This is a little ‘ditty’ MaryFran will utter for things like finding parking places. Funny, leftover Catholic dogma doesn’t really resonate as a serious prayer with me, but perhaps a plea? I giggle at it, I’ll be darned if it doesn’t work every time we’re in the car together.
So, it was no joking matter today. Because in a desperate moment–a moment when I couldn’t begin to find a favorite silver necklace, I said the prayer. I looked everywhere logically possible at least six times. But as I was reciting it, I could hear my inner voice saying ‘come on–really?’ Did it anyway, and for some reason, opened the makeup drawer, pulled out my travel bag and voila–there was the necklace.
Now in a Catholic dictionary, there is probably no listing for ‘Totally Catholic.’ But, as many of you can attest to, there is most certainly a definition. And that includes going to mass, confession and daily prayer. It also means having certain religious articles in your possession. Those would be rosary beads, prayer veils, holy cards, mass cards, scapula (really?), crucifixes, statues of Mary, perhaps holy water and prayer books. It also was the basis of my upbringing. And although I’ve strayed ever so slightly in my later years, a lot of those comforting rituals help navigate those little frustrations in life. Bless a little circumstance. And I began to think about how many of them I still do.
Whenever I slice into a new loaf of bread or cake, I bless it with the knife. Maybe I’m giving it ‘last rites’ as I hone down on it with the blade. Whenever I pass some ‘road kill’ on the side of the highway, I quietly say a little prayer or visualize a blessing (maybe that’s just weird.) When I hoped to sell my house some two decades ago, I planted St. Anthony upside down in the corner of my yard (Poor guy gets all sorts of weird jobs). This is all in addition to the usual wearing of a little cross or religious symbol on a necklace or bracelet. And sending some love out to St. Jude (the saint of impossible causes)—motherly concerns direct to Mary.
Whatever we learned early on really sticks, whether theologically sound or just fun. And with all life dishes out, simple as a parking spot; serious as an impossible cause, I say whatever gets you through your life, or even one night, is alright by me.