Angels vs. Saints - 3rd grade religious ed lesson


#1

Help! My third grade religious education class stumped me - twice in one day!

We were having a conversation regarding the differences between saints and angels. Correct me if I am wrong, but angels are God’s creatures, and saints are humans, correct? Two different things?? Then a student asked me about St. Micheal, the archangel. Hmmmm… why a saint and angel?

Also, there was a student discussion brought up that saints must perform 3 miracles to become a saint. Yet another student brought up the fact that we are all saints in heaven. I’ve heard both. Which one (or both) is accurate?

Thanks for your assistance in advance!


#2

I think part of the problem is that the word “saint” is often used in different ways. I ran into this trouble once in conversation. A friend and I were talking about some difficulties I was having, and I said, “If I don’t become a saint, none of this is worth anything.” She was shocked, and I didn’t understand why. It turns out that when I said “saint” I just meant someone in heaven, but she thought I meant a canonized person!
I think both definitions of what it means to be a saint are correct. In one sense, a saint is anyone who is in heaven. That would include both angels and humans. That would also include humans in heaven who have not performed miracles. In another sense, a saint is someone who has been canonized. To make things even more complicated, the process of officially canonizing people began after early Christians developed devotions to saints such as St. Michael the Archangel, St. Veronica, who wiped the face of Jesus, and others, so not all those who are recognized as saints have been canonized.


#3

[quote=ProudArmyWife]Help! My third grade religious education class stumped me - twice in one day!

We were having a conversation regarding the differences between saints and angels. Correct me if I am wrong, but angels are God’s creatures, and saints are humans, correct? Two different things?? Then a student asked me about St. Micheal, the archangel. Hmmmm… why a saint and angel?
[/quote]

You are correct. Michael the Archangel is refered to as St. Michael, but he is actually an ange, and not a saint. The word saint in this case is used as a reference to his holyness. The Eastern Orthodox for instance call him Holy Michael. Same principal, our way is more confusing to 3rd graders.

There is the Communion of Saints which is everyone in heaven. Also there are Canonized Saints, these we know by name, there are very few in comparison to the entire communion of Saints. Within the Communion of Saints we don’t know who most of them are, but there are a few that we know, and therefore we can look to them as an example of a Christian life, and we can ask for their intersession specifically.

Hope this helps.


#4

[quote=ProudArmyWife]Help! My third grade religious education class stumped me - twice in one day!

We were having a conversation regarding the differences between saints and angels. Correct me if I am wrong, but angels are God’s creatures, and saints are humans, correct? Two different things?? Then a student asked me about St. Micheal, the archangel. Hmmmm… why a saint and angel?

Also, there was a student discussion brought up that saints must perform 3 miracles to become a saint. Yet another student brought up the fact that we are all saints in heaven. I’ve heard both. Which one (or both) is accurate?

Thanks for your assistance in advance!
[/quote]

Angels are “angelic beings” we are “human beings”. Both when in the presence of God in Heaven are *Saints. *Of course all good angels are Saints in a sense because they are always in the presence of God and all bad angels are demons. We only know the names of a few of the angels. This leads into the second question. ALL human beings in Heaven with God are Saints. There are many, many more than the ones that we have named. God has revealed through miracles that certain persons have attained Eternity with Him in Heaven. These are the Canonized Saints.


#5

Proud Army Wife,
Thank You for your question. Those littel one DO listen dont they? And they can stump all of us at times.

My grand son asked me where is the American flag flown 24 hours a day, every day of the year?

There is one and one only.


#6

My money is on the Saints if we are talking football, on the Angels if it is baseball.

Adam


#7

It is NOT that the saint has to perform 3 miracles. It is that 3 miracles have to be attributed to their intercession. (Actually, I think the number was recently reduced to 2).

During their lifetime, they may never have performed any miracles (although it may help or is more impressive when they are great miracle workers).

Saints are anyone in Heaven, but a canonized saint is someone whom the Chuch has officially recognized as having led a saintly life and is undoubtedly in Heaven. One of the proofs/evidence it requires is that 2 (or 3) verifiable miracles can be attributed to their intercession. (Someone is gravely ill with an incurable disease or ailment and they are miraculously healed by prayers for the intercession of the saint to be.)

Other evidence such as proof that they were real people as opposed to myths or fables, testimony of saintly good deeds (as in heroic martyrdom) or testimony that they were especially devout or pious are usually required also,

We may all reach sainthood (we hope), but very few will probably become canonized saints.

Christ’s Peace, WC


#8

[quote=amarischuk]My money is on the Saints if we are talking football, on the Angels if it is baseball.

Adam
[/quote]

I wouldn’t bet on either team, but I think the Angels have a much better shot in baseball than the Saints do in football.

wc


#9

Thank you so much for your replies :smiley:

By the way, I’ll pick the Saints since I don’t really care for baseball.


#10

St. Micheal, the archangel, is neither a saint nor an archangel. He is a Seraphim and the “prince” of angels – being the third most powerful being in heaven behind God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), who holds the first position; and Mary, who is the Queen of Saitns & Angels and holds the second position. See this past discussion on this board where all of this is covered in great detail.


#11

It seems common to preface the archangels’ names with the title of saint. I have also see St. Gabrielle, and St. Raphael (the latter of which is the subject of a little book from TAN), in addition to St. Michael, and I believe that all names may be taken as baptismal or confirmation names and the angels can serve as patron “saints.”

I think generically the word saint has come to refer to those we know are in heaven. The cannonization process is as an examination to determine if the Church can conclude for a fact that a person is in heave. But heaven contains more than those cannonized. The process is expensive and lengthy, and many people are never officially investigated to receive the formal title of saints.


#12

I’m sorry to seem harsh, but what in the heck is anyone doing teaching religious education class who does not know the difference between an angel and a saint and especially someone who does not have the resources immediately at hand to find the answer to such an elementary question? If this is posing such a problem for this teacher, what will she do when really difficult problems come up?

This points out one of the primary problems in our religious education in this country: the teachers know hardly much more than the students! This is outrageous! Again, sorry to sound harsh; but it is imperative that we have teachers who know their Faith before they start teaching our youth! At least this teacher knows that she does not know, and that is a very good beginning! There must be 100 who just try to wing it for every one who cares enough to ask!


#13

That wasn’t a nice thing to say.

People come here to share what they know and learn what they don’t. Better to be humble and research a question and provide the best possible answer to the students than to be arrogant and remain ignorant and provide the students with an incorrect answer.


#14

I thought it was a valid quetion, as you can find angels’ names listed, with the title of saints, in Catholic books of saints.


#15

Sorry about the way I phrased my post. Of course it is better to come to a Catholic forum to learn an answer than not to find out the answer anywhere else or to give incorrect information. I was just so very shocked by the system, not the person or the question.

It is not very efficient to have to tell RE students that they have to wait until next week while the teacher finds the anwer. Why are there not reference books in the classroom where the answer to that question can be looked up immediately? And if there are such books, does anyone bother to teach the teachers how to use them?

We seem to be in an educational crisis these days, not only in the public school system, but in our Catholic schools as well. We cannot wink and say that we must not point out the reality because in the process we might hurt some feelings. It is obvious from looking at Mass attendance and listening to teens and looking at statistics that our Catholic youth do not know anything about their Faith. This may be a reflection of society in general; but we cannot afford to say that and turn to other important business.

Teaching about the Faith is the most important business there is. It is what Jesus did all of His public life, as an example to us. He told us that we have a duty to teach the world. We pray for the “poor” foreign missions and we pat ourselves on the back when we give a few dollars so that the ignorant Third World can learn what we have known for over 2000 years. The ironic thing about that is that the Third World is now more Catholic than Americans are! They learn and they want to learn. They have good teachers, who give their lives to instructing. But we have to rely on untrained volunteers who rely on the internet for their knowledge! It is very, very sad. And we should not tiptoe around the problem.


#16

you had darn well better be a catechist in your parish with the strong opinions and strong background in the faith you have demonstrated here and on other threads. please do not bash the people who volunteer to teach the kids no one else wants to teach, and are doing their best by coming to a place and people they trust for answers to their legitimate questions.


#17

[quote=Patjoe] … we have to rely on untrained volunteers who rely on the internet for their knowledge! It is very, very sad. And we should not tiptoe around the problem.
[/quote]

Would you rather have the students taught by “untrained volunteers who rely on the internet for their knowledge” but are willing to give up their time to educate those wanting to learn about the Catholic faith or would they be better off with no teachers because no volunteers were willing to come forward because they couldn’t measure up to the knowledge level expected of them by someone else?

People who volunteer their time to help others should be encouraged and applauded for their efforts – not discouraged and made to feel that their contribution is not wanted or welcomed.


#18

[quote=Patjoe] But we have to rely on untrained volunteers who rely on the internet for their knowledge! It is very, very sad. And we should not tiptoe around the problem.
[/quote]

Two weeks back I gave a message about Saints in a Fellowship I belongs. All the referrences I rely on the internet for my messages and I am not shame about that. Where I do my service, Catholics are even scare to participate in prayers. Those who are coming also not ready to give any messages. The only option is few persons with lake of knowledge are come forward to do it include of me. Please don`t discourage us.
Thanks.


#19

There was a spelling mistake in my last post, so I sent again.


#20

Wow - Patjoe, I am quite shocked, and insulted, at your response. Anytime you use I don’t mean to, BUT… you mean to do what ever is in front of the BUT in the sentence.

Although this has nothing to do with my original question, I will answer your posting.

Perhaps you should come to where I live and teach religious ed since there aren’t enough volunteers to even cover the classes that we have which results in rather large class sizes.

I am a certified teacher as well as having a Masters degree in Counseling. Therefore please don’t lecture me on how to teach children. As a convert to the faith, I may not have the strongest Catholic background yet we should ALL continue to be learning about the faith. I tell my students straight up that I was an adult convert, including baptism, and tell them my story - as well as tell them I don’t know all the answers, but I will try to find them out for them.

I discussed this specific question with my husband, who comes from a strong Catholic family that includes many priests, nuns, and bishops, only to stump him - Therefore I came to the forums. These forums are for postive question and answering, correct? If you have a side comment that is not directly related to the question in the posting, post a new thread about your comment/concern. Overall I find this forum to be a great source of knowledge and a wonderful place to learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know.

As for resources, we have tons at our Church. We don’t meet in our Church since there are no classrooms there and we are not associated with a school - we meet on a college campus classroom. We cart all our supplies (art, books, prayer centers, etc.) ourselves to and from home each week - with smiles on our faces :slight_smile: . I brought some books with me, since I am a prepared teacher. None of these books addressed this issue. So I would need to go back and get a different book, which would have resulted in another week of waiting anyway.

We have an excellent certified DRE. She is usually available, only this day she was covering a class herself. It is not appropriate to interrupt someone else’s lesson just so you can have an answer for your class, so I posted the question here.

As per the lesson… We have textbooks, including teachers guides. Our lesson in the text focused on saints. The students led an expanded discussion on saints and angels. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the difference between angels and saints - it was St. Michael question that threw me. I never really thought about St. Micheal - what a great question for a third grader to pose in front of his peers. It shows that they were processing the information and applying it to their existing knowledge base. And that, my friend, is true religious education.


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