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Saturday, October 3, 2009

What is a Saint?

From: Our Catholic Faith (A Manual of Religion) p 394

The model of Christian perfection is our Lord. The saints, who imitated Him steadfastly, are also patterns of perfection. This aiming, "to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy," this seeking to be like Christ - "another Christ," is to strive for Christian perfection.

"the Church,,, is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as 'alone holy', loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy spirit for the glory of God.' The Church, then, is "the holy People of God," and her members are called "saints".

From: Catechism of the Catholic Church p.2013

"All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity." All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that...doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.

From: Lives of Saints p. 9-10

“Saints are human and lovable.”

“It is true indeed that some Saints performed miracles while they were still alive; it is true that many of them could have moments in which they seemed to have no feelings at all. But this is looking at the Saints only from one angle.  The truth is also that many Saints did not perform any miracle while they were still alive, for miracles are given through them not for their own sake, but in view of their service to their fellowmen.  It is also a fact that Saints have intense feelings.  It is enough to look at the martyrs and their unflinching courage.”

“Even this image of the Saints, however, would still just be another angle.  The greater part of the lives of the saint is passing 24 hours a day as we do, experiencing the same sun and the same season as we do…For the greater part of their lives, they are very much like us.”

“What makes them different from us?  Fundamentally, one thing is clear – they have lived their lives fully.  They have found a purpose and have set their whole lives on that purpose.  They have found other people, and they were ready to respond to the real needs of people.  They have experienced God and spent their days in His presence.  In short, the Saints have discovered love and know that to live they have to be transformed into love.  Yes, for Saints, to live fully means to love.  That’s why they are the most lovable humans.”
“….Their love is one, that is the love of God and neighbor, but their lives are many according to their diverse temperaments, cultures, circumstance and historical conditions.  This should be an encouragement for us.  It means that however diverse are the conditions in which we find ourselves, we can still imitate the Saints.  When the Church canonizes a Saint, She is proclaiming before the world an exemplary life which the faithful can imitate.  After all, we, too, are human, and seek to live a life fully alive, fully in love.”

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