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What Is Sainthood And Who Are The Saints? | How Do Saints Help Us? | Christian Prayer And Holiness

Christian Saints | Sainthood | Audio Bible KJV | Oliver Peers

What Is Sainthood And Who Are The Saints? | How Do Saints Help Us? | Christian Prayer And Holiness

Saints are individuals who are recognized by the Christian Church as having lived exemplary lives and being in heaven, in the presence of God. They are considered to be models of Christian virtue and holiness and are often invoked for their intercession in the lives of the living.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a saint as ‘one who is in heaven, in the presence of God, and who is worthy of public veneration’. The Catholic Church has an official process for recognizing and canonizing saints, which involves a thorough investigation of the individual’s life and writings, as well as miracles that are attributed to their intercession.

The concept of saints is not limited to the Catholic Church. Many Protestant denominations have a concept of saints, although they may not have an official canonization process. The Protestant reformers of the 16th century, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, rejected the idea of canonization and the veneration of saints, but they believed in the concept of saints as believers who are in heaven.

Here are 9 examples of how the commandment of honouring saints instructs the life of a Christian today:

  1. ‘The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history’ – Pope John Paul II. This quotation emphasizes the importance of looking to the saints as models of faith and holiness, especially in times of difficulty or crisis.
  2. ‘The saints are not distant heroes, but men and women who lived and died like us, and who, by the grace of God, have been transformed and now live in the immediate presence of God’ – Pope Francis. This quotation highlights that the saints are not distant or unattainable figures, but rather individuals who have lived and struggled just like us, and through the grace of God have achieved holiness.
  3. ‘The saints are not extraordinary, but ordinary men and women who have allowed God to do extraordinary things in and through them’ – Tim Keller, Protestant pastor and author. This quotation emphasizes that the saints are not necessarily people who were born with special abilities or talents, but rather individuals who have allowed God to work in and through them in extraordinary ways.
  4. ‘The saints are not only models of holiness, but also intercessors in our lives’ – Catechism of the Catholic Church. This quotation highlights that the saints are not just examples of holiness to follow, but also individuals who can intercede on our behalf in our lives.
  5. ‘The saints are not just a part of history, but also a part of the Church today’ – Pope Benedict XVI. This quotation emphasizes that the saints are not just figures from the past, but also actively present in the Church today, through their intercession and example.
  6. ‘The saints are not just for Catholics, but for all Christians’ – Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer. This quotation highlights that the concept of saints is not limited to the Catholic Church, but is also relevant for all Christians.
  7. ‘The saints are not only for the past, but also for the future’ – Saint John Paul II. This quotation emphasizes that the saints are not just relevant for the past, but also for the future, as they continue to intercede for us and guide us in our faith journey.
  8. ‘The saints are not just in heaven, but also on earth’ – Saint Theresa of Avila, Catholic mystic. This quotation emphasizes that the saints are not just in heaven, but also present on earth, as they continue to inspire and guide us in our daily lives.
  9. ‘The saints are not just for the individual, but also for the community’ – Saint Augustine, early Christian theologian. This quotation highlights that the saints are not just for the individual’s personal spiritual growth and development, but also for the growth and edification of the entire Christian community. The example of the saints can inspire and guide the entire Church in living a holy and virtuous life.

Suggest Notable Examples Of Saints From Across The Ages, And Explain Their Virtues

  1. Saint Francis of Assisi: Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved saints in the Catholic Church, known for his deep love and devotion to God and his commitment to living a simple and humble life in poverty. He is often depicted holding a bird or a lamb, symbolizing his love for all creatures. He is the patron saint of ecology and animals. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.’
  2. Saint Teresa of Avila: Saint Teresa of Avila is known for her deep spiritual writings and her strong devotion to prayer and contemplation. She is also known for her strong will and determination, which she used to reform the Carmelite order and establish new convents. She is considered a master of the spiritual life and her book ‘Interior Castle’ is considered one of the most important works of Christian mysticism. According to Saint Teresa, ‘The important thing is not to think much but to love much.’
  3. Saint Augustine of Hippo: Saint Augustine of Hippo is known for his deep theological writings and his strong commitment to living a virtuous life. He is considered one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity and his work ‘Confessions’ is considered one of the greatest works of Christian literature. He is known for his deep understanding of the human soul and his insight into the nature of sin and grace. In his own words, ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’
  4. Saint Joan of Arc: Saint Joan of Arc is known for her strong faith and her role in leading the French army to victory during the Hundred Years’ War. Despite her youth, she showed remarkable courage and determination in the face of adversity and was eventually captured and burned at the stake. She is the patron saint of soldiers and France. According to Saint Joan, ‘I am not afraid, I was born to do this.’
  5. Saint Martin de Porres: Saint Martin de Porres is known for his deep charity and compassion towards the poor and the sick. He is also known for his strong devotion to God and his commitment to living a simple and humble life. He is considered the patron saint of interracial harmony and the first person of African descent to be canonized by the Catholic Church. According to Saint Martin, ‘The color of the skin is not important, what is important is the color of the soul: it is either black or white.’
  6. Saint Therese of Lisieux: Saint Therese of Lisieux is known for her deep devotion to God and her ‘little way’ of spiritual childhood, characterized by humility, trust and love. Her autobiography, ‘Story of a Soul’ is considered one of the most important works of Christian literature. She is known as the ‘Little Flower’ and the patron saint of missions. According to Saint Therese, ‘The world’s thy ship and not thy home; thou art not here to rest, but there to steer.’
  7. Saint Ignatius of Antioch: Saint Ignatius of Antioch is known for his strong faith and leadership as the third bishop of Antioch. He is also known for his writings, which emphasized the importance of unity within the Church and the centrality of the EuchariSaint He was martyred during the early days of the Church and is considered one of the Apostolic Fathers. According to Saint Ignatius, ‘Be not deceived, my brethren; if any man follows a maker of schism, he does not inherit the kingdom of God.’
  8. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Saint Mother Teresa is known for her deep compassion and selfless service to the poor and the suffering. She spent her entire life serving the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta, India, and her work continues to inspire many around the world. She is the patron saint of the dying, and her famous quotation is ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’
  9. Saint John Paul II: Saint John Paul II is known for his strong leadership as Pope, his deep devotion to God and his commitment to social justice. He was known for his strong stand against communism, his promotion of interfaith dialogue and his emphasis on the sanctity of human life. He is considered one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century and a great example of a modern saint. In his own words, ‘Saints are the sinners who keep on trying.’

How Is It That Miracles Are Attributed To Saints – And Required For Canonization?

Miracles are attributed to saints as a way of demonstrating that they are in heaven and able to intercede on behalf of those who pray to them. Miracles are considered to be extraordinary events that are beyond the laws of nature and are attributed to the intercession of the saint. These miracles can take many forms, such as healings, conversions, or other types of supernatural events.

In the Catholic Church, miracles are required for canonization, which is the process of declaring an individual to be a saint. The canonization process is a long and thorough investigation of the individual’s life and writings, as well as miracles that are attributed to their intercession. The process is overseen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which conducts an investigation into the candidate’s life, writings and reputation for holiness.

The investigation includes a thorough examination of the individual’s writings and their impact on the Church, as well as the testimony of witnesses to their life, including those who have been directly affected by miracles attributed to the individual. Once the investigation is complete, the Congregation presents its findings to the Pope, who makes the final decision on canonization.

Note that not all miracles are accepted as evidence for canonization. Miracles are rigorously examined by theologians, doctors and other experts to determine their authenticity and whether they are truly supernatural.

Note that canonization is not the same as beatification. Beatification is the first step towards canonization, it means that the person is considered blessed and can be venerated by the faithful. However, only canonized saints are considered to be in heaven and can be invoked with confidence.

How Does The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints Consider Sainthood?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, has a different understanding of sainthood than many traditional Christian denominations. In the Mormon Church, the term ‘saint’ is used to refer to any member of the Church who is considered to be in good standing and has been baptized.

The Mormon Church does not have a formal canonization process for declaring individuals to be saints, as the emphasis is on the belief that all members of the Church have the potential to become like God through their faith and good works. In this sense, the Mormon Church teaches that all members are capable of achieving sainthood in this life.

Additionally, the Mormon Church teaches that deceased members of the Church who were faithful in life can become ‘exalted’ in the afterlife, meaning they become like God, this is also considered a form of sainthood.

Mormon Church emphasizes on the importance of family and community, and encourages members to live virtuous lives and to follow the teachings of Jesus ChriSaint Through this emphasis on living a virtuous life, the Church teaches that all its members can achieve sainthood in this life and potentially exaltation in the afterlife.

The Mormon Church also holds that the living can serve as proxies in performing saving ordinances such as baptism for their deceased ancestors, in this sense, the Church believes that the deceased can also achieve salvation and exaltation in the afterlife through the ordinances performed in their behalf.

In summary, the Mormon Church considers sainthood to be a potential that all members can achieve through their faith and good works, and places an emphasis on the ability to become like God through the ordinances and teachings of the Church.

Do Other Churches Have Perspectives On Sainthood?

The many Christian churches and denominations/congregations have their various perspectives on sainthood:

  1. The Eastern Orthodox Church has a similar understanding of sainthood to the Catholic Church, with a formal canonization process and a focus on the intercession of the saints. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church also places a strong emphasis on the doctrine of ‘theosis,’ which teaches that through the grace of God, human beings can become ‘partakers of the divine nature’ and be united with God in a way that is similar to the saints in heaven.
  2. The Anglican Church, which developed from the Church of England, has a more nuanced understanding of sainthood. The Church recognizes some saints who have been officially canonized by the Catholic Church, but it also recognizes other saints who may not have been officially canonized but are considered to be holy and worthy of veneration.
  3. Protestant denominations, such as Lutheran and Calvinist churches, reject the idea of canonization and the veneration of saints, but they still believe in the concept of saints as believers who are in heaven. They also place an emphasis on the idea that all believers have direct access to God through faith in Jesus Christ, and that the saints in heaven are not necessary intermediaries.
  4. Pentecostal churches, which emphasize the importance of personal spiritual experiences and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, may have a different understanding of sainthood. They may not have a formal canonization process and may not focus on the intercession of the saints, but they may recognize certain individuals as having lived exemplary Christian lives or having a strong anointing of the Holy Spirit.