Saints

Saint Stephen and Saint Catherine by Stefano di Sant`Agnese“You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

“Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).

For Christians, faith is not a solitary act, but a family affair. Being in the Church makes us members of a great family that extends beyond space and time, including not just believers on earth, but also the Angels and Saints in heaven, and the Holy Souls in purgatory, who will one day enter heaven as well.

Catholic-Christians especially honor the Angels and Saints. It is important to clarify that Catholics do not worship them, however. Catholics worship God alone! We pray to the Angels and Saints, basically asking them to pray for us. After all, if we are in the habit of asking those on earth to pray for us, why would we not ask those in heaven to do the same? While we also, of course, go to God Our Father directly in prayer, we do not go to Him alone. We are accompanied always in prayer by the Virgin Mary, our Mother in Christ, and the Saints, our brothers and sisters.

In the Bible, we see the Saints in heaven praying for us (cf. Rev. 5:8; 6:10). The term “saint,” which means “holy one,” is sometimes used for believers on earth as well, though only in an imperfect way. The Apostle Paul, for instance, addresses his letters to those “who are called to be saints” (Rom. 1:7), yet at the same time admonishes them to avoid sin (cf. Rom. 6:1 ff.). Obviously, that believers on earth still struggle with the capacity to sin means we are only saints with a small “s”–saints in the making. We have not yet reached the perfect level of sanctity those in heaven enjoy.

Out of His great love for us, God calls His children to come live and be happy with Him in heaven! You, too, are called to one day be a Saint. How can this be possible? you might ask. You will become a Saint in the same way that Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul, John, Patrick, Francis, Catherine, Teresa, and Alphonsus did: by the grace of Almighty God working in your life. Primarily, we receive God’s grace through Baptism and the other Sacraments (cf. John 3:5; 6:54; 20:23, et al.). We also receive grace through prayer, Scripture reading, and by sharing God’s love with others

(cf. 2 Tim. 3:16; Jas. 2:24). Grace comes to us freely by the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember always His words to us, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).