Let me think a bit about SAINTHOOD





St Peter’s Square
Saturday, 1 November 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we are celebrating with great joy the feast of All Saints. Visiting a botanical nursery garden, one is amazed by the variety of plants and flowers, and often one is drawn to think of the imagination of the Creator who has given the earth a wonderful garden. A similar feeling of wonder strikes us when we consider the spectacle of sainthood: the world appears to us as a “garden”, where the Spirit of God has given life with admirable imagination to a multitude of men and women Saints, of every age and social condition, of every language, people and culture. Every one is different from the other, each unique in his/her own personality and spiritual charism. All of them, however, were impressed with the “seal” of Jesus (cf. Rv 7: 3) or the imprint of his love witnessed through the Cross. They are all in joy, in a festival without end, but, like Jesus, they achieved this goal passing through difficulties and trials (cf. Rv 7: 14), each of them shouldering their own share of sacrifice in order to participate in the glory of the Resurrection.

The Solemnity of All Saints came to be affirmed in the course of the first Christian millennium as a collective celebration of martyrs. Already in 609, in Rome, Pope Boniface iv had consecrated the Pantheon, dedicating it to the Virgin Mary and to all the martyrs. Moreover, we can understand this martyrdom in a broad sense, in other words, as love for Christ without reserve, love that expresses itself in the total gift of self to God and to the brethren. This spiritual destination, toward which all the baptized strive, is reached by following the way of the Gospel “beatitudes”, as the liturgy of today’s Solemnity indicates (cf. Mt 5: 1-12a). It is the same path Jesus indicated that men and women Saints have striven to follow, while at the same time being aware of their human limitations. In their earthly lives, in fact, they were poor in spirit, suffering for sins, meek, hungering and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the sake of justice. And God let them partake in his very own happiness: they tasted it already in this world and in the next, they enjoy it in its fullness. They are now consoled, inheritors of the earth, satisfied, forgiven, seeing God whose children they are. In a word: “the reign of God is theirs” (Mt 5: 3,10).

On this day we feel revive within us our attraction to Heaven, which impels us to quicken the steps of our earthly pilgrimage. We feel enkindled in our hearts the desire to unite ourselves forever to the family of Saints, in which already now we have the grace to partake. As a famous spiritual song says: “Oh when the Saints, come marching in, oh how I want to be in that number!”. May this beautiful aspiration burn within all Christians, and help them to overcome every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation! Let us place, dear friends, our hand in Mary’s maternal hand, may the Queen of All Saints lead us towards our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits “from every nation, people and language” (cf. Rv 7: 9). And already now we unite in prayer in remembering our dear deceased, who we will commemorate tomorrow.


any input from you on the highlighted sentences?


I apologize if I am immodest, but the highlighted sentences confirm my personal experience.
I give you an example.
In 1986 I was working as a builder in the South of France when an acquaintance of mine writes me a letter from England asking me if I could go up to Devon help a sick friend of hers.
Since I had little money I went hitch-hiking in late Fall.
When I got to the man’s house he told me he didn’t need me anymore and that if I wanted to stay at his place I had to rebuild his barn and that he wouldn’t pay me nor feed me.
I accepted.
The man was an occultist and he actually gave me breakfast only, during which he wanted to teach me magic. He had a lame leg
I politely but firmly discussed the matter with him pointing out to him all the errors of occultism.
What else would a true Catholic have done in my place?
I rebuilt his barn and took care of the whole farm for 5 months, eating only a little soup with wheatgrains in it and the sour apples that the neighbour let me pick from his trees.
It was a challenge to me: proving that Christianity is much better than any magic.

I know you wouldn’t believe me but he then said he was going to give me vitamins because I was not eating well enough.
He gave me some pills but I think it was something other than vitamins because in the end I had lost all my strength: I wasn’t even able to hammer a nail.
I had no suspicion that he could have been giving me some dangerous drug but in the end I just decided I was going to fast and I fasted for three days.
“AH”, he told me, "you are having a good clean-up"
It never crossed my mind that he could have been trying to harm me.
Anyway, three days of fasting gave me back my strength. I suppose I had eliminated the drug he had given me.
Then he drove away to London and I escaped.


It was nice of you for helping the man. I was wondering if you were really taking care of your health at the time or you only ate “eating only a little soup with wheatgrains in it and the sour apples that the neighbour let me pick from his trees.”


Gotten out of there ASAP for your own physical and spiritual safety! I wouldn’t risk being around anything dealing with the occult.

That was my first thought before I even read the scary ending of your story where you had to escape.


I was perfectly healthy at that time


Dear brothers and sisters,

I found this document in the Vatican Website. It is about America but most things apply to Europe too. It talks about how to improve our Catholic community and about Holiness too.
If you want to read the whole document, here is the link:


1- We recommend that more attention be given to the role of the Holy Spirit in the new evangelization of America, presuming that the general theme of encounter with the living Jesus Christ will be maintained.
2- We recommend that a new treatment of the ecumenical dimension of this evangelization be prepared, stressing the real but imperfect communion we share with other baptized Christians, our special relationship with the Orthodox Church, and our organic relationship with the Jewish people. Synod ecumenical statements should carefully distinguish between evangelical Christians on the one hand, and “sects and new religious movements” on the other. In this light, it is important for the Church to carefully examine the reasons why Catholics are attracted to evangelical churches or to other new religious movements, and use this as a basis for reexamining our current pastoral and theological focus.
3- We recommend that Synod statements present a more comprehensive treatment of indigenous peoples, with greater attention to both the positive and negative aspect of the “first evangelization”, and to the need to express our solidarity with them in their current struggles for justice and cultural identity.
4- The “life issues” should be distinguished from the treatment of family life, given that they require unique educational, media, and public policy efforts, and belong properly to the question of solidarity in justice.
5- There is a need to treat more systematically the question of human freedom, situating it within its necessary (and all too often neglected) relationship to truth and to moral responsibility.
6- In the treatment of women and family, attention should be given to the call to motherhood, expressed both physically and spiritually, without neglecting the significant contributions of women in religious life, education and health care. As well, the role of men as fathers should be underscored, stressing the equal and mutual responsibility they share with their wives for the creation of a community of life and love.
7- The role of the lay faithful in the evangelization of secular society should be recognized and supported with a deep catechetical and spiritual formation in both fundamental Christian doctrine and its application to social and professional life. In this light, a brief and accessible synthesis of Catholic social teaching could be prepared which stresses its intrinsic links to the new evangelization.
8- Given that sections on the laity and consecrated life already exist, we recommend that a section on ordained ministry be included, which would address issues of priestly formation and the particular roles of deacons, priests, and bishops in the new evangelization.
9- We recommend that the great contribution of Catholic education be recognized, and the importance of maintaining its clearly Catholic identity.
10- The uniqueness of the African-American experience in the Americas needs to be recognized by a more extensive treatment of the question of slavery, its lingering effects in many areas of our society, and the pervasive effect of racial divisions in our society.
**. . . . . … . **
The Group also reached consensus on the issues of further developments in lay ministries, a clearer reflection on the importance of inculturation (both liturgical and catechetical), better use of the means of communication, and a systematic reflection on the complex question of the international debt. It also recommended that an alternative model of organizing the material might be considered, one which takes into account the reality of communion as a central theme, as gift of God, foundation and goal, conversion as a means or way to this communion, and solidarity as a fruit or expression of communion put into action

** . . . . . . . … . **
As regards “neoliberalism”, the Fathers recognized that market economy had real values, but it is not acceptable for the market to have a value above the value of a human being and the real good of the people. This has produced many marginalized people, poor people, excluded people, and not only individuals but also peoples and whole continents. The basic problem is that economy has been converted to a way of measuring everything. It is important to recover value, capacity and the influence of politicians so that they and not economists decide the fortune of a peoples. The economy must be subjected to politics and morals.
Passing to the concept of globalization, they specified that usually this is used to refer to a free world economic market without ethical references of a social nature. This meaning cannot be accepted by a Christian. In an ecclesial environment this is used more to refer to intercommunication and interdependence in the world today. The Pope spoke of “globalization in solidarity”. This meaning is related to different Christian concepts without leading to an expression of the fullness of “communion”.
**. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . **.
The causes leading Catholics to leave the Church were analyzed, citing some examples:

  • We have not managed to evangelize the cultural roots of our people.
  • Evangelization has been insufficient, often without human promotion.
  • Faith and commitment are superficial.
  • An organized campaign financed to destroy the Catholic Church because of its criticism of neo-liberalism.
  • A lack of feeling, depth and participation in our liturgical celebrations


I also found this definition of Holiness from The Catholic Encyclopaedia:


(A.S. hal, perfect, or whole). Sanctitas in the Vulgate of the New Testament is the rendering of two distinct words, hagiosyne (1 Thess., iii,13) and hosiotes (Luke 1:75; Ephesians 4:24). These two Greek words express respectively the two ideas connoted by “holiness” viz.: that of separation as seen in hagios from hagos, which denotes “any matter of religious awe” (the Latin sacer); and that of sanctioned (sancitus), that which is hosios has received God’s seal. Considerable confusion is caused by the Reims version which renders hagiasmos by “holiness” in Hebrews 12:14, but more correctly elsewhere by “sanctification”, while hagiosyne, which is only once rendered correctly “holiness”, is twice translated “sanctification”.
St. Thomas (II-II:81:8) insists on the two aspects of holiness mentioned above, viz., separation and firmness, though he arrives at these meanings by dint of the etymologies of Origen and St. Isidore. Sanctity, says the Angelic Doctor, is the term used for all that is dedicated to the Divine service, whether persons or things. Such must be pure or separated from the world, for the mind needs to be withdrawn from the contemplation of inferior things if it is to be set upon the Supreme Truth – and this, too, with firmness or stability, since it is a question of attachment to that which is our ultimate end and primary principle, viz., God Himself – “I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels. . . nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39). Hence St. Thomas defines holiness as that virtue by which a man’s mind applies itself and all its acts to God; he ranks it among the infused moral virtues, and identifies it with the virtue of religion, but with this difference that, whereas religion is the virtue whereby we offer God due service in the things which pertain to the Divine service, holiness is the virtue by which we make all our acts subservient to God. Thus holiness or sanctity is the outcome of sanctification, that Divine act by which God freely justifies us, and by which He has claimed us for His own; by our resulting sanctity, in act as well as in habit, we claim Him as our Beginning and as the End towards which we daily unflinchingly tend. Thus in the moral order sanctity is the assertion of the paramount rights of God; its concrete manifestation is the keeping of the Commandments, hence St. Paul: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness [sanctimoniam, hagiasmon]: without which no man shall see God” (Hebrews 12:14). The Greek word should ne noted; it is generally rendered “sanctification”, but it is noteworthy that it is the word chosen by the Greek translators of the Old Testament to render the Hebrew (rendered as Ayin-Zayin), which properly means strength or stability, a meaning which as we have seen is contained in the word holiness. Thus to keep the Commandments faithfully involves a very real though hidden separation from this world, as it also demands a great strength of character or stability in the service of God. **
It is manifest, however, that there are degrees in this separation from the world and in this stability in God’s service. All who would serve God truly must live up to the principles of moral theology, and only so can men save their souls.
But others yearn for something higher; they ask for a greater degree of separation from earthly things and a more intense application to the things of God**. In St. Thomas’s own words: “All who worship God may be called ‘religious’, but they are specially called so who dedicate their whole lives to the Divine worship, and withdraw themselves from worldly concerns, just as those are not termed ‘contemplatives’ who merely contemplate, but those who devote their whole lives to contemplation”. The saint adds: “And such men subject themselves to other men not for man’s sake but for God’s sake”, words which afford us the keynote of religious life strictly so-called (II-II:81:7, ad 5um)


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