Sunday, 4 August 2013

My ideal saintly family

In my ideal world, I am allowed to choose people to be my blood relatives. If you were my friend in that ideal world, I would love to introduce the following men and women as my family:

My grandparents

Jorge Mario (Pope Francis): he is the wise, warm, and ever-smiling opa. His laughter contains all the joys in the world and he loves all his children and grandchildren with heart-melting, soul-building love. He never doubts, knows his ways, but is always patient with people, especially with his three children: Joseph, Francis, and John Ronald.

Teresa (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta): an equally patient and warm woman, Oma Teresa is the female version of Opa Jorge Mario. She is quick to help those in needs, and she understands the values of family. She may be old but her mind is as young and daring as an ordinary teenage girl.

My parents

Francis (St. Francis de Sales): my father is a patient and calm man who can be surprised by nothing. He seems to have so profound an understanding of many human problems that whatever bizarre deeds and thoughts we have can be understood easily by him. He can be stern too, however, because he is very adamant that we go to Confession regularly and particularly when our attempted sarcasm is not very holy.

Martha (St. Martha): my mother Martha is an active type of woman who likes to serve her family and guests. She does not like to be idle and always succeeds in finding things to occupy her mind and her hands. Sometimes she wonders why her husband and her children can spend time reading and writing in solitude, but she nevertheless takes pride in their achievements.

My siblings and me

Thomas (St. Thomas Aquinas): Thomas is my nerdy religious brother who is too smart for anyone. I admire and even envy him a little, with loving filial envy. He's like a walking encyclopaedia; every question and doubt I have, he apparently has thought about and answered it before it got to me. The most awesome thing is how he still keeps his humility, calling his work "straw" compared to what will be revealed to him. He's really that cool. Oh and he's also a dog person.

Me: Caught between two brilliant thinkers and prolific writers, I can't help borrowing a bit from both. Sometimes I don't know what to do about my overly-talented siblings. Needless to say, I'm their #1 fangirl. While I sometimes have to endure Thomas's "tall" language albeit fascinating explanations on things, Gilbert keeps me sane with his ridiculously logical sarcasm.

Gilbert (G. K. Chesterton): My funny younger brother. His wit often annoys the serious Thomas, although they essentially agree to the same things. Unlike Thomas who studies theology at college, Gilbert begins his writing career by sending jokes and satires to local newspapers. While Thomas decides to pursue religious life as a Dominican priest, Gilbert is off to a good, happy, fat life with steak, wine, and cigar.

Cecilia (St. Cecilia): In a family of writers, Cecilia is the pretty little enigmatic child because she is the only one with musical talent. As the youngest child she often feels insecure because her friends keep asking her which side of the family she gets her talent from. Well there's one in every family, right?

My uncles and cousins

Joseph (Pope Benedict XVI): Uncle Joseph is the eldest of my father's siblings. He is the grumpy-looking but kind-hearted uncle. My grandfather, Opa Jorge, often tells him to relax a little bit and go out and play with his nephew Karol, but Uncle Joseph prefers to be inside his vast home library surrounded by his thick books and equally thick cats. He tweets sometimes, though, and he always has excellent advice for everyone. I always go to him whenever I feel the need to nourish my mind with sound perspectives on life.

John Ronald (J.R.R. Tolkien): Uncle John Ronald is my father's younger brother. He tends to be quiet like Uncle Joseph but is more laid back. He enjoys storytelling and his eyes always seem to wander to faraway lands only he can imagine. I like visiting his house because it always smells like tobacco from his pipe, and his small library is full of classic literatures from around the world. Uncle John Ronald is also a closet-cartographer and linguist; he makes detailed maps of imaginary countries and invents languages of strange nations. Spending a day in his house is like spending a day in a world of elves, dwarves, and giants who speak with depth and substance.

Elizabeth (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton): my Aunt Elizabeth is probably the picture-perfect homemaker. I cannot imagine her doing anything that is not of a motherly role. Aunt Elizabeth homeschooled all her three children. She also has a talent in nursing: she works part-time as a volunteer at a nearby hospital and retirement house. In my opinion, she works better than most of the nurses there.

Karol (Blessed Pope John Paul II): Karol is my favourite cousin. He's older than me but we share the same energy level and enthusiasm about nature and poetry. We like to take long walks in the gardens and some serious hiking. Karol participates in a lot of sports like swimming, cycling, and running, but he also values his down time by the lake. I love the way he describes beauty and love: it is, in itself, so beautiful.

Dominic (St. Dominic Savio) and Maria (St. Maria Goretti): Dominic and Maria are the goody two-shoes twins whom everyone loves. They are not too sporty like Karol, but they have his calm and contemplative nature. Like any other little kids, Dominic and Maria often talk in their own "kid's language", probably discussing about stories, games, and last Sunday's homily.

My brother Gilbert's family

Brigid (St. Brigid of Kildare): Brigid, my sister-in-law, is Gilbert's cheerful wife. She shares Gilbert's love of good classy wine and she even composes a poem about beer. She takes joy in everyday life and she lives by the principle that everything is a miracle. Brigid sometimes brews her own beer, especially when welcoming Joan's friends from the military.

Joan (St. Joan of Arc): Joan is my tomboy niece. She joins the military where she becomes a grade-A soldier under her boss Michael (St. Michael the Archangel). Her military friends include George (St. George), Martin (St. Martin of Tour), and Longinus (St. Longinus), whom she often invites home for dinner, much to the excitement of her younger brother Lawrence. In her free time, she likes to learn French language and culture, and fights with the neighbourhood's thug Moses (St. Moses the Black).

Lawrence (St. Lawrence): Lawrence idolises the heroic personality in his sister Joan. He loves it if Joan comes home with his military guy friends because then Lawrence can learn some battle tactics from them. Lawrence is a self-proclaimed rebel and pyromaniac and he often uses his love for fire to cook delicious barbecue for his family.

I also make a pedigree diagram of my saintly family. Yes, I'm *that* geeky.

PS. I know Chesterton, Tolkien, our Pope Emeritus, and Pope Francis are not saints (yet), not even declared servants of God (yet), but their works are such an inspiration for all souls, especially the Catholic souls!

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