Is there anyone in the world today who has not heard about the exemplary life of at least one of the saints? Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent her entire life caring for the poorest of poor in India, turning to and trusting the Lord with the greatest and smallest of tasks. Watch even one documentary about this saint and you will be amazed at the miracles that occurred frequently as a result of her prayers. Pope John Paul II is another modern saint. He is recognized for helping to bring down the Berlin Wall and end Communist rule in Europe. He touched the lives of the great and powerful and the little and forgotten, fearlessly bringing the truth of Christ. “Be not afraid,” was his message to the Church.
1 Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Saints are proof that the holiness that God calls us to is possible. And why shouldn’t we believe it? For we know that with God all things are possible!
How holy are these people? Before a person is declared a saint, their life and writings are thoroughly investigated. Witnesses are interviewed and the local bishop must find them to be worthy of this formal declaration. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints may then accept this application or conduct their own investigation. But then the Church waits on God. No one is declared a saint until God performs two miracles, usually a healing, through this person’s intercession.
Why does the Church declare a person a saint? Is it important that we have men and women officially declared as saints by the Church?
The Catholic Church believes that anyone can become a saint, whether a priest or religious, married or single. The call to holiness is universal and obtainable by anyone. The proof that this is obtainable is in the lives of these saints, these men and women that put their entire trust in God and lived according to His will.
We have assurance that those who the Church has declared saints are with God in heaven. And since we know they are face to face with the living God, with confidence we can ask them to pray for us.
Before his death, Saint Dominic said, “Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.” And Saint Therese of Lisieux said, “I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.”
Have you given much thought to the Communion of Saints? What saints have you turned to for prayers in your time of need? How have they helped you?
Next week I will share the special miracle that happened when I turned in prayer to our Blessed Mother sixteen years ago.
Theresa Linden, author of Roland West, Loner.