A Saint in the church is someone who is holy, and venerated by the communion of people that make up the Church. Saint, literally means 'to be Holy', these holy people, these holy saints are worthy of our prayers and worthy of our intercessions. They are not perfect people, they are just like us but faithful and obedient to the will of God. Many people speculate about the saints in the church, often asking why we pray to the Saints, why should we pray to them when I can just pray straight to God. The answer is that we need help. The church venerates the saints as intercessors. I like to use the example of a mail-carrier. The Saints for us, are those who hear our intentions and pray for us since they are declared Holy and with Christ in heaven. If I am suffering, lost, broken or in chaos, then I would want all the help I can get. That means from my family here on earth, my friends and even the Saints who are models of faith. All of these people can pray for us in our suffering and God can offer us His mercy and grace. The fact is that we are all called to sainthood, by our baptism as infants, we share in the goodness of God's love and therefore have an initial invitation to holiness. In our call to holiness not only do we need to know God and love God, but we also should know 5 key principles that can help us obtain true holiness. These I explained during the Junior Rally workshop I gave this past weekend:
The First is HUMILITY:
We should be humble in life and know that we are creatures of God and we need his mercy more then our pride. We should be humble when we do things, we should not let our pride get to us. Humility is about abandoning our pride and understanding our weaknesses. I just graduated with my Bachelors in Theology so it would be weird for me to go into a career of teaching mathematics. One, because I'm not good at it, and two, because that is not my field. Humility is about not thinking of ourselves less, but thinking less of ourselves, as G.K Chesterton once put it. When we are humble, we know and understand that it is not all about ourselves, but about God who sustains and holds everything about us in place.
The second is FAITHFULNESS:
Faithfulness is about trust. Sure, it's good to trust in ourselves having confidence in what we can do. But faithfulness in this case is about trusting in God it is about having confidence in the character of God. Sometimes it is rejecting that notion of 'I am the center of attention' and the problem with the common notionof faithfulness is that the focus many times is on me. Faith is realizing that God is good, deserving of our trust and knowing that God sees what we can't. Faithfulness is recognizing that God is the better driver and he is able to control our lives toward the greater good better then we can because that is what he wants after all! We see in the Old Testament when God commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses in his fear, was not faithful or trusting in God's divine promise. He gave God five excuses and said he couldn't do, I am not fit for this job, he said, pick somebody else. After placing his trust in God, Moses succeeded and led God's people out of Egypt just before he would die. Prior to his death, God would commission Joshua as the successor to Moses. I will touch on him more later. So, we can see that faithfulness requires a trust in God and faith in his divine will.
The third is PRAYER:
Prayer is the most fundamental aspect in the lives of the Saints. What prayer is, is the communication and the bond they had between the Father and themselves. Without prayer there can be no relationship. Think about a common relationship, dating or marriage, in that relationship that has to be a fundamental level of communication, without communication then the relationship either won't exist or if it does already, goes haywire all because of a lack of communication. It is the same with a relationship with God, if we don't have that prayer and communication with God then how can God reveal himself to us, and how can we learn to know and love God. God made us to be holy, He made us so that we can be happy with him. This means that He wants us to pray to him, because He wants that relationship and He wants to reward us because of it. If we look in the New Testament with Jesus and his Father, Jesus was made known the will of the Father because of his Prayer to him. Yes, the Church teaches that Jesus and God are one in the same, however, Jesus still had that human nature and by his prayers to the Father He set an example that we should pray to God so that our will can be made in union with the will of the Father; this is exactly what Jesus did when he said "Let your will be done, not mine" So prayer to the Father, is a fundamental part in our call to holiness.
The fourth is COURAGE:
Going back to the commissioning of Joshua after Moses' death, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous more then any other person in the bible. He instilled in Joshua and reminded him to be strong and be courageous, because I will be with you wherever you go. So I think there is a message even for us, that we should be courageous, we should be bold. This means strong and courageous in our faith, in our prayer lives, we should stand up for what is right and against what is wrong. Who cares if we are young, who cares if we are weak, we should be strong and courageous in everything we do. One message from Saint John Paul II that I see alot is "Do not be afraid" There is a message that we should be strong and remember that God will accompany us always. Many times we might feel like were sent with no direction on where to go, but God is not a clockmaker where he creates us and lets us run on our own. Rather, he creates us, sends us out and accompanies us even after he sends us. So we should be strong and remember Joshua 1:9, "be strong and courageous".
The final is OBEDIENCE:
Obedience being our offering and our giving in to the reality that God is King and Ruler of our lives, yet still allows us to do our own thing. Obedience is us just listening and paying attention. How can we listen to what is going on if we are loud in our lives. Loud with sin and loud with our actions. We are called to obey God, be obedient to him and mindful of who He is. So many times listening is about shutting up and just staying still, even for me I have a hard time just being quiet that I miss what is going on. Psalm 46:10 tells us "be still and know that I am God." When we obey God that is us professing in our hearts that we are trusting and surrendering to the very goodness of God's will. The perfect example of obedience is the Blessed Mother, in her youth she obeyed God, placed her trust in him and surrendered her body as the vessel that would bring Jesus into the world. She is a model for us all and we should pray through her for the same obedience, humility, faith and courage as she. One thing I touched on during my presentation is that obedience starts now, in our homes and with our families. If we cannot be obedient to our families on earth then how can we be obedient to God who is in Heaven. So it starts now.
By our baptism, we are all called to sainthood, we are all called to holiness and to achieve true holiness we should be mindful of God in humility, trusting in him with faith, we should call upon him in prayer, stand up with him in Courage and surrender to him with obedience.
Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Labels: Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic, Christ, Courage, Faith, Faithfulness, Father, God, Holiness, Humility, Jesus, Joshua, Moses, Obedience, Prayer, Pride, Relationship, Saints, Strength, Trust
My name is Vincent Carrasco, my friends call me Vinny. I am a current Grad student from Saint Gregory's University in Oklahoma. I graduated with a Bachelors in Theology. I am currently in formation with the Capuchin Franciscan Friars Minor province of Mid-America as a Novice. I enjoy blogging and bringing out the greater message and bigger picture in life. I have always had a passion for helping those people who have no one to help them. One of my favorite things is seeing someone joyful and happy because of the work or joy that we bring. In my experiences, I give catholic insight, prayers, reflections and thinking that help me grow in my own faith. I hope you enjoy it.