Saints have a unique way of entering into our lives and helping us know more about Jesus Christ simply by the way they lived their lives. Let me recount how I chanced upon the wonderfully simple and grace filled life of St. Isidore, whose feast the church celebrates today.
Our CFCI community in Chennai has the practise of hosting the annual All Saints day celebration. We get the kids dressed up as their favourite saint and join together as a community to celebrate the lives of the saints and thank God for them.
In the year 2015, we decided that the parents should lead by example and hence we decided to dress up as saints and preferably relatively unknown ones at that. Thus began my hunt to search for a saint whom I could introduce to the community. This also gave me an opportunity to read more about the lives of the saints. During me hunt, I chanced upon St. Isidore, the farmer. I will share with you a few things I learnt from his life.
Love is all we need
Born in the year 1070 into a family which was poor in possession but rich in faith, St. Isidore was raised up near Madrid, Spain. His parents instilled in him a deep sense of love for the Lord and neighbour. They lived their faith by caring for one another as well as for the livestock and other animals. Whatever little they had, St. Isidore was taught to give it to someone who needed it more. All of God’s creations are meant to be nurtured and loved.
As parents, we are given the responsibility to raise our children just as St. Isidore’s parents did. How wonderful would it be instil in our children the thought that with Jesus with them, they don’t need anything more?
Be in touch with God
St. Isidore was a man who was always in touch with God. He was a man of prayer. Not a day passed without him being part of daily mass. Even at the expense of earning the wrath of his co-workers, St. Isidore never missed to be part of holy mass and be in communion with the Lord. On a busy day, the first thing I forgo is my daily prayer. The life of this saint helped me realise that the busier I am, the more I must seek out the Lord to give me the grace and the strength to go through the day.
Find joy in the monotony
Right from his youth, St. Isidore was put at the service of a wealthy landlord Juan de Vargas. He stayed with him right through his life. As a farmhand, St. Isidore’s day was filled with toil. He found himself working under extreme conditions and doing repeated and mundane chores. Yet, he found his calling in his work. He praised and thanked God for his work daily.
I often find myself complaining that Monday to Sunday looks the same all through the year. What I often don’t realise is that I am called to serve God through the work I do. The daily monotony of our lives is a way to sanctify ourselves. Offering our daily struggles as a sacrifice pleases God. As St. Jose Maria Escriva writes,
“Sanctifying one’s work is no fantastic dream, but the mission of every Christian — yours and mine.”
God will provide
St. Isidore put God first in his life. Daily mass was the source of his strength. His co-workers complained to their master that he was a regular late-comer since he went for daily mass. His master came to the fields to have it checked. To his shock, he found 2 angels ploughing the field along with St. Isidore thus providing 3 times more productivity.
Trust in God and offer up your day. The Lord will send his angels to cover for you.
Raise a family for God
St. Isidore was married to Maria Torriba who has been beatified by the Church. Through their simple lives and hard labour, they served God as a couple. They had a son who died in his youth. Even after his loss, they did not lose their love for God. They continued to serve him through their love for their neighbours and animals. Just like them, we are called to build each other up in our faith. Each of us in the family are called to be saints.
May the life of St. Isidore inspire us to give God priority in our lives and bear witness to Him using the simplest things in our life.
St. Isidore, pray for us.