First of all, I am not scheduled to preach this weekend, so I have not prepared a homily. However, if you’d like a reflection on Trinity Sunday, please check out this post that I wrote for a previous Trinity Sunday. It says pretty much what I would say if I wrote a new one this year!
Secondly, as some of you are aware, I am also the spiritual director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak. Please check out the link for more information about the Mission. We at the Mission are working with Bishop Tencer of Reykjavik, Iceland, to prepare a formal petition to ask the Holy Father to declare Saint Thorlak the Patron Saint for people with autism and related conditions. We are now gathering testimonials as part of this petition.
Anyone can, on their own, choose Saint Thorlak (or any saint) as their personal patron. It would be a great affirmation of the dignity and the place of autistic people in the Church, however, if the Holy Father were to declare someone a Patron Saint for autistic people.
Okay. Fair enough, you say. So, why Saint Thorlak?
Saint Thorlak, in his lifetime, exhibited a number of traits that are characteristic of people on the autism spectrum. I could easily relate to him in a number of ways as I read his story. Other autistic people have had similar experiences. We recently heard from a psychologist who states that, in his assessment, Thorlak did exhibit a number of personality traits typical of autistic people, and may very well have been autistic himself. We have received a number of testimonials from autistic people who tell us how Saint Thorlak has inspired them and helped them with their anxieties and other challenges. I personally have come to know Saint Thorlak as not only an intercessor in time of need but also as a dear friend who shows me his love in many ways and who helps me feel connected with the Communion of Saints.
If you or someone you know is autistic and has benefited in some way from the intercession of Saint Thorlak, we would love to hear from you! Please send us your testimonial at email@example.com or by using the Feedback feature of this blog.
If you are autistic but have not known about Saint Thorlak, I encourage you to check out the Mission website for more information, to read the biography Thorlak of Iceland, and, most importantly, to pray and ask for his intercession when dealing with the many challenges of life on the spectrum. If you know someone who is autistic, we encourage you to introduce that person to Saint Thorlak. You can also check out this post from the Mission website for more on Thorlak as a good candidate to be the official Patron Saint of people on the spectrum.
I plan to write a post soon on the place of autistic people in the Church. I want to look at it as a two-way street: how can the Christian community best reach out to its autistic members and their families, and, just as importantly, what autistic Christians have to offer the community as a whole. If you have any thoughts or experiences to share, please send them to me through the Feedback feature of this blog.
Finally, I ask your prayers as we assemble the items needed for our petition to the Holy Father. May this all be not only to make Saint Thorlak better-known and better-loved, in his beloved Iceland and everywhere, but also (and most importantly) to the greater glory of God – as more and more people on the spectrum discover how the love of God, so powerfully exemplified by Saint Thorlak in his lifetime, can heal their feelings of isolation and show them how their autism can be a great gift of Divine Love to themselves and to the whole Church!