St. Rita: for the 'impossible causes' and baseball woes
I don't usually ask St. Rita to intercede for me on ordinary problems. But every now and then, I come up against a problem that simply can't be solved. I look at it from every angle and see no way through. That's when I know that it's time to take it to prayer -- and it might be time to ask my patron saint for help.
St. Rita happens to be a patron saint of the impossible. There are times when it feels like she might be just the right heavenly friend to ask for help. That's when I bring a problem to her.
Saints are our friends and intercessors, and we can ask for their assistance whenever we want. But I like to reach out to St. Rita for specific reasons. She carried so much while on earth -- she had a difficult marriage and two sons who wanted to avenge their father's murder. After they died and she was left alone, she entered religious life.
What a difficult life and what a holy life. I feel like complicated messes are something St. Rita can understand. And she has been a faithful friend in precarious times.
During some of the most difficult days of the pandemic, I asked her to intercede on a specific issue -- one that seemed to have no solution. And bit by bit, the waves parted, doors opened, dots connected, and there was the answer. It was so clear. It was so beautiful. It was so perfect. I was deeply grateful, and I knew St. Rita had been asking Jesus to do his best. And wow, he blew me away.
I think of that often, especially around St. Rita's feast day on May 22. When we are struggling with an unfixable situation, we can feel overwhelmed and defeated. But it's at times like that when we can reach out to friends and ask them to pray. That's when you might think of asking St. Rita to pray, too. After all, nothing is impossible for God.
Now, to a lesser extent, and in a much less formal way, St. Rita is also considered to be the patron saint of baseball. So, although I normally don't turn to her for small requests, I have to admit that there are times I've turned to her while I'm sitting on the bleachers, hoping my son would make it through a difficult at-bat.
St. Rita had two sons herself. I don't care whether the team wins or loses, but I want my son to feel good about himself on the field. I have a feeling St. Rita understands that. Maybe she enjoys the little league-related requests mixed in with the heavy, impossible life-changing ones.
But where I like to turn to St. Rita the most is when life hands you a situation that seems to have no solution in sight. Asking someone else to join me in prayer -- whether on earth or in heaven -- always helps me feel better about the road ahead.
And sometimes (more often than I would expect), I discover that what seemed impossible wasn't impossible after all.
St. Rita of Cascia, pray for us!
RITA BUETTNER IS AUTHOR OF THE CATHOLIC REVIEW'S OPEN WINDOW BLOG.