Friday, May 1, 2015


If you haven't caught on yet from the frequency of their inclusion in my recent quotes posts, I like saints.  What can I say, I'm Catholic?  As a Catholic I see the saints as role models to help us in our faith journey, but I also know that the concept of saints is something which separates Catholic & Orthodox Christians from most of our Protestant friends.  While some liturgical Protestants (Lutherans and Anglicans most notably) do have saints, the role is still a bit different.  So here are a few quick takes about the saints, hopefully it can bring some understanding for my non-Catholic/Orthodox readers and also inspire some of those cradle Catholics who already consider themselves quite knowledgeable :)

(1) Who ARE the saints?
The term "saint" (as used in the Nicene or Apostle's creeds) simply refers to all of the people in heaven.  All of them, even your grandma.  Saint with a capital S, refers to a particular saint who has been canonized in the Church.

(2) Intercession of Saints
"Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness... They do not cease to intercede to the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus... So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." 
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 956 
(3) Icons
"The icons of the saints act as a meeting point between the living members of the Church [Miltant] on Earth and the Saints who have passed on to the church [Triumpant] in Heaven. The Saints depicted on the Icons are not remote legendary figures from the past, but contemporary, personal friends. As meeting points between Heaven and Earth, the Icons... constantly remind the faithful of the invisible presence of the whole company of Heaven; they visibly express the idea of Heaven on earth."
-From a monk at St. Tikhon's Abbey in The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings

(4) Veneration
" Basing itself on the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the seventh eceumenical council at Nicea (787) justified... the veneration of icons - of Christ, but also the Mother of God, the angels, and all of the saints... Indeed 'the honor rendered to an image renders to its prototype,' and 'whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.' The honor paid to sacred images is a 'respectful veneration' not the adoration due to God alone."
- CCC 2131-2132

(5) Saints Point Us Toward God
Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.
- Summa Theologica

(6) Heaven Rejoices
Everyone in heaven is concerned about our repentance & salvation.
"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7, NIV)
"There is rejoicing in the presence of angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10)

(7) Patron Saints
"The patron saint provides a model of charity and an assurance of his prayer."
-CCC 2165

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