I am picking my own word and saint for 2021. Most years I use the generators created by Jen Fulwiler for this because it is an awesome tool. But this year the word that keeps coming to me is “intention” so I felt like that meant I needed to pick my word and saint of the year intentionally.
Intention means a lot to me in this phase of my life because so much of my life has been totally out of my control. I did not know I had the power to make choices. I was still making choices, though, and choices always have consequences. I have lacked the resources to make a lot of intentional choices. Now I see that really the most important resource is faith in God. That cannot ever be kept from me.
Every choice I make in 2021 will be made with the intention of following God’s will.
“Is this something that I am willing to stand before God and defend?” will be the question that I ask to discern things. Up until now I have thought of God’s will as a mystery to solve like some people try to figure out the future with tea leaves. But after all my classes in theology and philosophy I now understand that God’s will is pretty easy to figure out. Is what I am doing healing me? Is it holy? Does it honor who I am and what I believe?
And also choosing to show up and the full me without being ashamed of anything about myself.
I laugh really loud and a lot. I am silly. I love to dance. I love my favorite red shoes. All of this is about not trying to impress anyone. Anytime I get into the space of trying to impress others or make them like me, I end up being a weird version of myself who does not do whatever it is that God called me to do in that situation.
My saint choice is St. Catherine of Siena, but not for the typical reason that most people like her.
I love her quote about setting the world on fire, but honestly we have turned it into a cliché from the overuse of it. I recently read her biography and the story that stood out to me is one where she felt so relatable. Someone brought a girl who was showing signs of possession to St. Catherine so that she could pray over the girl. Well, the Saint tried to escape out the back door and wanted nothing to do with it. She said “I have plenty of my own demons, why are you bringing me more to deal with?”
I laughed so hard when I read that.
I hate the term “Catholic influencer” — for a lot of reasons — even though as a public Catholic who writes for a living, there is some influencing happening. The responsibility of that is something I take seriously. It means that there are times when my messages and emails are from people asking for help in ways that I am not professionally qualified to offer. So, I feel like St. Catherine in those moments: trying to get out the back door. In the end, she prayed over the girl and kept her in her house until the demons were banished.
I am asking for her intercession to be able to help others in their darkest moments when what I really want to do is run out the back door.
I hope all of you are having a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Leticia Ochoa Adams writes from Texas, on life, death, grief, suicide, faith, motherhood, doubts and whatever (else) happens to be on her mind.
Cover image credit: Giovanni Cerretani – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0