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  • Sarah Raad

Imitation

The Saints can see God and imitate Him. How holy is that!

The Innocence (Bouguereau)

A few weeks ago, it was officially “Book Week” in the education system.


Most parents of primary school aged children would know that for Book Week, primary school aged children often dress up as their favourite book character and parade around their school for a day in costume carrying their favourite book in hand.


I still remember Book Week from when I was a little girl... My favourite year was when I was allowed to dress up as “Annabella Jones” from “A Proper Little Lady”. I loved that book with all my little 8-year-old heart, and I still remember it very well – so well in fact, that I bought a copy of that book for my own children when they were younger so that I could share one of my favourite stories with them.


And I loved that year’s Book Week most of all, because that year I was allowed to dress up in one of my mother’s old dresses, which was to me simply the most beautiful gown imaginable. I was allowed to wear my mother’s sky-high maroon stilettoes all day long, and experienced my first day of terribly sore feet (and fell in love with gorgeous shoes at the same time). And I was allowed to walk in the parade in front of the entire school, feeling so very beautiful and carrying my very favourite book in all the world!


This year, Book Week – like most things – was very different. At my children’s school, the children were not asked to dress up or participate in a parade as we were stuck with home schooling, but thankfully, my children decided to make Friday of that week their own Book Parade Day. The boys were easy enough to sort out. A Harry Potter costume and a Caterpillar onesie were more than enough to keep them happy. But for my daughter, our Book Week parade was an entirely different affair!


You see, my daughter wanted to dress up like Daphne the Diamond Fairy from her simple little picture book by the same name. To be honest, my daughter is far too old for such a book, but this does not stop her from loving it. After all, which girlie little girl would not love reading a book about a beautiful diamond fairy who sparkles like diamonds and gem and performs magic to create marvellous gowns made from such diamonds for all of her friends?


Now the question became, which dress should my daughter wear to become like Daphne?


After all, my daughter is very canny, and she knew that her most beautiful dress in all the world is her First Holy Communion dress – which also happens to be her very favourite dress in all the world and one which she shall not have another opportunity to wear. It is white and long and frilly and beaded and it has the most magnificent twirling skirt you could imagine – which is the most important thing for my 8-year-old daughter in assessing a dress. And so, after only a little persuasion, I allowed her to wear her First Holy Communion dress to her daily zoom meeting with her teacher on Friday of Book Week.


Let us just say that we had one very excited 8-year-old girl in our house that day! All day she said over and over, “Mum, I just want my teacher to say that I look just like Daphne the Diamond Fairy.”

And it started me thinking… You see, listening to her excited chitter chatter all day long and her anticipation of her teacher’s reaction, it occurred to me that this is exactly how it should be for me – and for all of us.

You see, for my little girl, Daphne the Diamond Fairy is simply the most beautiful thing she has ever seen or could ever think to see or imagine. So, it only makes sense that she wants to look and act exactly like Daphne – because Daphne is the ideal!


If only I were a little more like my daughter! After all, I see the saints, I see the angels and I see God Himself. Perhaps my vision is a little flawed, perhaps I cannot understand the magnanimity of my Lord and God, but I can definitely understand enough to know that He is surely the most beautiful Thing I could ever see or think to see or imagine…


I listen to stories of the saints too… And there is such beauty there!


I heard a story the other day about Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta who spent hours using a tweezers to remove every single worm from the skin of a dying man who she collected out of a garbage bin on the street and took back to her hospital in her arms so that he could die with dignity. The man asked her why she bothered to take such care with him and she answered, “…because I see Jesus in you…”


She could see her God there… and because she could see Him, she could imitate Him, just as my daughter imitated Daphne. And that is why, across the whole world – among Catholics and non-Catholics alike – people saw something wonderful in Mother Teresa of Calcutta…


They see wonderful things in so many of the Saints… Because the Saints see God and they imitate Him…


If only I could do the same… If only…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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