Pray for us, Saint Snooki
In many Christian traditions, the day after Halloween (aka Hallowe'en, which literally means "All Hallows Eve") is known as All Saints' Day, a holy day for honoring all the saints in Heaven.
Various faiths have differing definitions of exactly what makes someone a saint, but in a nutshell, saints are holy people who can be called on as role models for living a life of virtue.
As a Catholic convert, I can attest that the Roman Catholic Church is particularly fond of our saints. We teach our children about saints and use them as examples for people who lived and died according to their faith. We also call upon patron saints to intercede for us in just about any situation.
One of my favorites is St. Anthony, the Patron Saint of Lost Things. He must be one of the busiest saints up in Heaven. My In-Laws call on him a lot, especially when my kids misplace their remote control or cordless phone.
Or how about St. Isidore of Seville, the Patron Saint of the Internet, who can be called upon to help us make holy choices in our browsing and online interactions. Bet he gets a lot of "Pray for me St. Isidore! I accidentally 'replied all' to the entire PTA when I said Jolene Henderson was a skank."
There are Patron Saints for everything from alcoholism (St. Monica) to zoos (St. Francis of Assisi). Got a specific medical issue? There's a saint for that...like St. Fiacre, the Patron Saint of STDs and fistulas. (I looked that up for a friend.)
I'm wondering how the requirements for sainthood will change over time. Centuries ago, it may have been a little easier to prove one was virtuous and holy. Seems like any old martyr could become a saint...just get your eyes ripped out (St. Lucy of Syracuse) or suffer for three days after a botched beheading in the name of God (St. Cecilia) and you were in the club. (::shudder::)
These days, it's much more complicated. If someone like Mother Teresa (who died in 1997 and is beatified but not yet canonized) is taking this long to become an official saint, what hope do the rest of us slackers have? Pretty bleak, I say.
And besides, our society as a whole today seems focused on virtues so drastically different from those modeled by our saints.
Maybe the Catholic Church needs to lower the bar a little.
Perhaps we need a modern saint we can relate to. Maybe a reality TV star who has changed her lecherous ways and has settled down to live a life of love, devotion, and charity.
I don't know...maybe someone like Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of Jersey Shore fame.
"Hey, if Snooki can turn her life around, maybe there's hope for me!" I can just see it now, can't you? Saint Snooki...the Patron Saint of Reformed Party Girls and Bad Veneers.
I think this could work!
At least until the media catches her pushing a case of beer in her stroller again.
On second thought, maybe martyrdom isn't such a bad prerequisite for sainthood after all. But listen Snooks, baking yourself to death in a tanning bed probably won't count.