St Vincent Madelgarius

Abbot (entered heaven in 687)

Dear Gary,

Are the leaves starting to turn color yet?  Ah, how I wish I could take a walk down the oak lane in autumn just as we used to do.  But our Lord has seen fit to surround me with the drab scenery of carpet-covered cubicles for yet another fall.  Maybe this is a penance for spending too much time in the museums and the parks when I was free (thought I doubt it).  Or maybe it’s penance for those of my nephews and nieces who heedlessly feast their eyes on pictures, shows, and Web sites that stir up their base passions (probably closer to the mark).  Well, however I can do some good for the Kingdom before I kick the bucket, I am glad to do it.

I wanted to remind you to be sure to say a prayer to today’s saint before the sun goes down.  St Vincent Madelgarius (Vincent of Soignies in his native Flanders) has always reminded me of your family.  He and his wife (St Waldetrudis) had four children who are also venerated as saints.  When their children had grown up, Waldetrudis joined the convent, and Vincent founded a monastery.  If your parents (may they rest in peace) had lived to see you and your siblings graduate from college, they may have dedicated the rest of their lives in some similar fashion.

I have often reflected on an obvious Christian phenomenon that we tend to overlook, one that today’s family of saints highlights.  Namely, that holiness is passed on from saint to saint.  You can’t find a true lover of Christ who didn’t find the Lord through the influence of someone else, and most often Jesus’ greatest lovers were disciples of other great lovers.  Just like the passing of light from candle to candle on Christmas and Easter Eve, we have received the living flame of light from one who went before, and that person received it from one who went before him, and so on, all the way back to the Twelve Apostles, and to our Lord himself.

It occurs to me as I stare at the waning fluorescent bulb above my workstation that I am holding a candle, and that I need to pass that flame on.  I hope fire can travel by Internet… And now it also occurs to me: I would be in the dark if just one of the people who passed the flame down my line had blown out their candle, or kept it to themselves.  I thank God that they didn’t; and I pray to God that you (and all your cousins) won’t.  Let’s keep the long light line going, you and I, and let’s ask St Vincent to help us.  Hope to hear from you soon.

God bless,

Uncle Eddy

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