My friend (and former preceptor) Dana (at ten thousand places) is visiting Rome and is blogging about her trip there. I was really struck by her travel blogging-turned-reflection that she posted when she visited Santa Maria sopra Minerva. She relates her experience at the tomb of St. Catherine of Sienna:
I found myself asking Catherine to help me live my vocation as a theologian well. And yet even as I phrased the prayer, I found myself asking her to help me use my time and intelligence wisely in the service of the Church. The funny thing is that this was a motto of the old Athena program (“Use your time and intelligence wisely and this will ensure that you will think.”)
I think there is a part of me that is quite jealous of the experience of many Roman Catholics and Orthodox have in encountering the saints in this way. Whether or not Methodists can have this, one rarely hears Methodists talking about such experiences. Dana speaks of St. Catherine as more than just someone from the past to look up to, but more as a friend. Sometimes I wish Methodists have this.