4 Ways The Saints Enjoyed Themselves Without Harming their Souls.
1. St. Alphonsus Ligouri enjoyed himself at the theatre by taking off his glasses...
He was very fond of music, and since the only way he could hear it easily was on the stage of his native Naples, which often featured promiscuous tableaux, he found a way around the situation... He had the advantage of being near-sighted. So when he went to the theatre, he sat well back in a box away from the stage and, once the curtain went up, he took off his spectacles. He could listen without seeing and thus he was not harmed.
It's admirable for the innocent way he enjoyed himself without thundering against the stage and destroying Neapolitan pleasure. Not all good men could be so tolerant.
Source: Saint Watching by Phyllis McGinley
2. St. Catherine of Siena found it impossible to eat food but was nourished by the dregs of suffering and found them sweet. Here is a story of how she drank pus from a woman's breast who was suffering from breast cancer.
One of Catherine's favorite metaphors was the image of "eating souls," which for her meant absorption rather than destruction-taking others into one's own self and being joined to them. The food of the soul, she liked to say, is other souls.
There is a story that St. Catherine was assigned to a Mantellata named Andrea, abandoned by her family and dying of breast cancer. Catherine's cheerful demeanor grated on her bitter patient, who took pleasure in casting doubt on Catherine's reputed Chastity. Catherine insisted she was virginal, but the woman's malicious stories spread to the other Mantellate and even got back to Lapa, who railed at Catherine for agreeing to help "that stinking woman." Discouraged, Catherine appealed to God in prayer. It seemed to her that Jesus appeared holding two crowns, one of gold and one of thorns. He asked her, "Would you prefer to suffer in this life or the next?" She reached up and pulled the crown of thorns down on her head.
Andrea eventually softened, stopped her rumor-mongering, and accepted Catherine's ministrations. It made the job somewhat easier. However, Catherine couldn't help feeling disgust when she had to clean the woman's oozing, infected breast. In principle she dearly wished to embrace suffering in whatever form it appeared, but this nauseated her. One day after she cared for the woman, she gazed down at the small bowl containing foul water mixed with pus and effluent from the wound. Holding it in her hand, she considered a way of overcoming her disgust. Suddenly she raised the bowl to her lips, tipped it, and drained its contents. Years later she told Raymond she never tasted anything so sweet. It was a sort of gesture legends are made of: the one who found it impossible to eat food was nourished by the dregs of suffering and found them sweet.
Source: Catherine of Siena, a Passionate Life by Don Brophy
3. St. Teresa of Avila believed that joy was as essential to sanctity as faith or good works.
She used to leave her prayers in order to visit with her community when they begged for her company. She set the nuns dancing to castanets on feast days and encouraged laughter and music as heartily as she discouraged sullen faces and sin. She is often quoted, protesting, "From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord deliver us!"
Source: Saint Watching by Phyllis McGinley Read More