After Our Blessed Mother it seems that many would count St. Joseph as the greatest saint. I don’t have a problem with this, per se, but what about St. John the Baptist? Christ praises him VERY highly (Mat. 11:9-11) and he was born without original sin (as he was filled with the Holy Spirit and thus infused with sanctifying grace the moment Our Lady, pregnant with Our Lord, arrived at the home of St. Elizabeth). The Church celebrates only three birthdays: the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas), the Nativity of Our Lady, and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Thoughts?
Just as a side note, as I understand it devotion to St. Joseph is emphasized in the West while the East places greater emphasis on St. John.
Well, Pope Benedict XVI declared this year the Pauline Year…so maybe we should also consider St.Paul.
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Luke (RSV) 7:20)
It’s a tough question for how does one define greatness? Maybe the greatest saint was the one who through his/her own humility never received any recognition by fallen man whom this person ministered to?
After the Blessed Virgin Mary my opinion is that St. Joseph is the greatest saint.
After that Enoch and Elijah because they both went directly to Heaven and will be the two witnesses against the anti-christ at the end of time.
After that would be John the Baptist. He prepared the way for the Lord.
After that Moses–he gave the law and was at the Transfiguation.
After that St. John because he realized more than any other apostle that God is love and he is the only one not to die a martyr’s death.
After that St. Peter the first bishop of Rome.
After that the rest of the apostles not including Judas.
After that Mary Magdalene–she was forgiven alot but she loved much more.
All of this is just pure speculation–Jesus once told the disciples when they were arguing over who would get to seat at his right hand or his left that it was not up to Him but would be for those whose place it had been appointed.
There very well could be tremendously gret saints in the Kingdom of Heaven that we have never heard of–and what might seem to us as the greatest might not be the case–God doesn’t judge appearences.
Some non human saints will be the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Another person who will be there will be Melchizedek who is a priest forever wirthout Father or Mother–Jesus’ priesthood is of the order of Melchizedek.
And lastly in the rankings of human saints–our original parents–Adam and Eve may indeed be high on the list–just because they fell doesn’t mean that afterwards they didn’t live righteous lives and since they had been directly created by God and had intimately known His presence–the rest of their lives might have indeed been saintly!
And don’t forget the animals! While they do not have souls we are told that the Lion will one day lie down with the Lamb!
Everything created by God in Heaven will shine with its upmost intended potential and perfection!
God is so great the thought of Heaven should make us all weep and praise His name!
St. John the Baptist would be the most holy right after St. Joseph.
Our Lord was subject to St. Joseph.
St. Aloysius was a great saint too: books.google.com/books?id=XIcEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR1&dq=croiset+1863#PPA109,M1
“…It seems to me that there can be no glory in Heaven like that of Aloysius. I say it again, Aloysius is a great Saint…” --St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi
Do you really think that St John the Baptist or St Joseph really care about rankings? Then neither should we! What is important is that they are in heaven period… not which was greater then or now.
Pleas enlighten me. What is the purpose of identifying the next greatest saint to the Mother of God? What is its significance to our salvation?
The Church apparently sees significance in distinguishing between saints. St. John the Baptist is given three feasts while most are only given one or none. St. Joseph is given a solemnity while many simply have an optional memorial. Greater saints are worthy of greater devotion. That is why it matters.
Saint John the Baptist is the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets - and he lived on the verge of the dawning of the New Testament. That is what is meant by the verse that calls him the greatest born among women.
I cast my vote for the greatest Saint after the Virgin Mary for Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
In an article written by Father Basil Cole, O.P., he writes:
While Redemptoris Custos reminds us that there is a kind of primacy of the interior life, it clearly indicates that for Joseph he was “in daily contact with the mystery ‘hidden from ages past,’ and which ‘dwelt’ under his roof…” (25a). If each act of Christ’s human actions caused grace for us either by merit or by a certain efficacy, then the floods of graces had to be given to Joseph, not only for his mission as minister to Jesus and Mary, but also for his daily spiritual life in general. Joseph’s fatherly love was also influenced by Jesus’ filial love, which in turn prevailed upon the fatherly affection of Joseph. Each minute spent with Jesus was like receiving a continuous Holy Communion. Thus, Joseph’s contemplative love of divine truth overflowed into his life of selfless love for his wife and son, and reciprocally, his mission-driven life overflowed into this contemplative life.
Because of these factors, Josephologists assert that Saint Joseph deserves not simply dulia or the ordinary respect and reverence due to the saints and angels but proto-dulia because he is probably the highest of the saints and angels, after his wife, by reason of his closeness to Jesus and Mary. In some sense, all holiness of the New Covenant flows from this marriage as the recipient of the Incarnation. In some ways Joseph participates in the dignity of Jesus and Mary, which in turn evoked many graces for his life. Leo XIII wrote in the encyclical letter Quamquam Pluries that Joseph protects and defends “with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ” (28b). Given the fact that he guided and protected the Holy Family, the logic of things is such that in heaven he would do precisely the same for the mystical body of Christ on earth.
Therefore, the more we love, revere and honor him, the more we dispose ourselves to receiving many graces from his Son through Mary. Just as Jesus and Mary depended upon him, we by praying to Joseph imitate them. His intercession for us increases as we love him, and so he facilitates our growth in the life of the Spirit making it somewhat easier as we surrender to his role here as our patron. Devotion to him does not lessen our love for Mary and Jesus, but rather offers us new possibilities of loving his Son and Mary even more. Redemptoris Custos reminds us that the great mystic, Saint Teresa of Jesus, promoted devotion to Saint Joseph precisely because she wanted to become an authentic contemplative (25a).
(Saint Joseph’s Role in the Spiritual Life, Father Basil Cole, O.P., Homiletic and Pastoral Review – March 2007)
Maybe we should do something like March Madness - have a bracket of the top 64 saints of all time and vote them off vs. each other and see who wins. :o
IMHO, Moses is quite possibly greater than the BVM
In fact, ISTM there is a case for suggesting that he is the very greatest of all Bible Saints. The only ones at all comparable to him IMO are St. Paul & Abraham.
Moses was a:
*]man of prayer
*]Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:[/LIST]Now Moses:
*]Exd 32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, “Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
*]Exd 32:2 And Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
*]Exd 32:3 So all the people took off the rings of gold which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
*]Exd 32:4 And he received the gold at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
*]Exd 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
*]Exd 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
*]Exd 32:7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves;
]Exd 32:8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’"
]Exd 32:9 And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people;
]Exd 32:10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation."
]Exd 32:11 But Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
*]Exd 32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
*]Exd 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.’”
*]Exd 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.[/LIST]IOW - he was offered the opportunity to be a second Abraham: & he declined it.
It gets even better -
*]Exd 32:30 On the morrow Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
*]Exd 32:31 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.
*]Exd 32:32 But now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."
*]Exd 32:33 But the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
*]Exd 32:34 But now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
*]Exd 32:35 And the LORD sent a plague upon the people, because they made the calf which Aaron made.[/LIST]His own people threatened him. On one occasion, he was opposed by his own brother & sister. He underwent trials that would have tested a Christian Saint - & all this was BC, not AD. I wish the Roman Rite commemorated him - the Eastern Rites do
IMO, there is no one like Moses: he’s incomparable.
The Orthodox Church recognises Mary the Theotokos and John the Forerunner as those who sit at Christ’s right and left hand in His kingdom, the places which the sons of Zebedee, James and John had sought after. Just look at the iconostasis of just about any Orthodox Church.
Well, if the Litany of the Saints is any indication, the order would be such :
Archangels and Angels
St. John the Baptist
Patriarchs and Prophets
St. James (of Zebedee)
St. John (Apostle)
So the greatest human saint after the Holy Virgin would be St. John the Baptist.
A fundamentalist POV…(check scripture)
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
One answer to the question would forget all the Saints, even Moses, since none of them is anything whatever without God’s grace. Maybe the question implied by the title is ultimately meaningless.
Of course, in Heaven such questions of rank are meaningless, except maybe for the Virgin Mary. Everyone is happy just to be there. But I understood the question as : To what saint, after the BVM, does the Church give the highest praise.
The BVM is Immaculate Conception (never had a taint of sin in her whole life)
I too wondered about whether St. John the Baptist is greater than St. Joseph, but it is clear to me that St. Joseph is indeed greater. St. Jospeh suffered more than any martyr, yet died a happy death. It was only Jesus and Mary who suffered more than Joseph, hence Jesus and Mary are greater than Joseph. I won’t go into the details about St Joseph’s suffrage, but…
From REDEMPTORIS CUSTOS (Guardian Of The Redeemer) “an APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION” , Pope John Paul II writes:
Pope John XXIII, who had a great devotion to St. Joseph, directed that Joseph’s name be inserted in the Roman Canon of the Mass—which is the perpetual memorial of redemption—after the name of Mary and before the apostles, popes and martyrs.
In otherwords, St. Joseph is named in Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon). Eucharistic Prayer is the greatest prayer of the church. The mass is the greatest prayer ever. St Joseph is named right after Mary in this prayer.