My wife and I are very conscious of what our young children watch on television and pretty much stick to commercial-free, rated-G programming. We don’t subscribe to the thought that adult content goes ‘over their heads’. So what captivates their attention and thirst for action? The Lives of the Saints. The last several days have presented us with some greats: St. Agatha, St. Paul Miki and companions, St. Apolonia, St. Scholastica, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Eulalia.
After reading to my children the accounts of the early Christian Martyrs Agatha, Appolonia and Eulalia, they were enthralled and even told their friends and teachers. Harsh interrogations, burned with hot irons and torches, flesh torn with hooks, rolled in burning coals and broken glass, teeth smashed out: all signify greater purpose, supreme love of God above all, and teach us virtue. The Lives of the Saints are a treasure trove for all of us which captivates our attention, inspires us toward virtue and love of God.
Such graphic tales (and pleasant ones as well) elicit great questions from children and offer a unique opportunity to teach them about our Faith. Why did these young women undergo such torture and death? Upon hearing the account of St. Benedict’s vision of his twin sister’s (St. Scholastica) soul turning into a dove and flying heavenward: What is a soul? Why is it invisible? Oh, that’s what lives forever with God in Heaven after our body dies!
The very reason the Church honors men and women with Sainthood is to provide us with examples of how to live a Christian life, how to love God, and ways to grow in virtue. Who are our heroes? Who do our children seek to emulate? Ditch Sponge Bob and Hanna Montana and pick up Butler’s Lives of the Saints!