January: A Month for Saintly Teachers
Does every diocese in the world celebrate Catholic Schools Week during the last week of January or just mine? It’s certainly the perfect time to do so. After all, the calendar of saints practically demands that we celebrate the teaching profession in late January.
Saint of the Day
May 23: Saint Michael of Synnada
Saint Michael of Synnada was just a young man when he moved to Constantinople (modern Turkey) in the late eighth century. He studied under one future saint (Tarasius) and became friends with another (Theophylact) at that time. He lived as a monk, was ordained a priest, and then was named bishop of Synnada.
As a prominent bishop of the Church, Michael attended the Second Council of Nicaea in the year 787. Over the next two decades, he served on important diplomatic missions for the Byzantine emperor to a Muslim caliph, the pope, and Charlemagne, the king of the Franks. When a new Byzantine emperor began mercilessly punishing those who used icons to pray—a heresy later known as iconoclasm—Michael was put in prison in the year 815. His friends, Saint Tarasius and Theophylact, also suffered persecution for their opposition to the emperor’s iconoclasm. Michael survived imprisonment and died in 826 of natural causes.
Saint Michael, help me to find holy friends.
Want to read about a saint every day? The “Saint of the Day” blog posts for the entire month of June on this web site are designed to help you do that. Every day of the month of June, there’s a blog post about a holy man or woman you’ve probably never heard of, but who is formally acknowledged as a saint or blessed of the Church. Just like the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, these blog posts show you how to start (or interrupt or finish) your day with a brief, inspirational life story of a saint. Each biography concludes with a short prayer to help you identify some aspect of that saint’s life that might help you in your own spiritual life.
(Note that none of the saints in these blog posts are included in the book, Saints: Becoming an Image of Christ Every Day of the Year, but they are present in the Church’s latest official list of saints, the Martyrologium Romanum, dated 2004.)
As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, there is nothing new under the sun, and the problems we face today are often startlingly similar to the problems that holy men and women of the past faced in their own lives. Other blog posts discuss saints celebrated in the current month or who have something to teach us about our current difficulties, such as dealing with an epidemic or how to handle suffering.
The saints and blesseds of the Church teach us that holiness is possible for anyone, in any state of life, and in any historical time period. We only have to be open to God’s grace so that He can form us into images of Jesus Christ.
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