Question for All Saint's Day

This came to me from one of those analytical-type 3rd graders that smells inconsistancy like a shark smells blood in the water. Apparently in PSR they are learning about saints. His teacher explained that a saint is different than an angel as a saint is a human who has gone to heaven, has a body, and will one day have a glorified body, while an angel is a different purely spiritual being. He wants to know why they always pray at the begining of class “St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle,” and is Michael the Archangel an angel or a saint? It caught me off guard and I clumsily told him that “saint” doesn’t always mean “Saint”, but sometimes it just means “holy”. Anyone have a better explainantion?

I think you have it right. A “Saint” as we call them are individuals that we know are in heaven, who praise God unceasingly. All of the angels would therefore be saints, we just don’t know their names! There are also many human saints in heaven, more than the church has named (hopefully), but we don’t know exactly who because there has been no proof of their intercession in the form of a miracle.

I would expand on your comment by taking the opportunity to explain that these prayers and ideas aren’t written in English, but are just translated into English for us to use. I would look up the Saint Michael prayer in Latin, maybe looking on the internet with the child with me, modelling how to look it up, and would help them read a few words of it in Latin, talking about what the words mean. I would send them away repeating a couple of words in Latin to themselves, if they’re the sort of child I think they are :wink:

In a question to father in another thread he explains that all that are in heaven are saints.:twocents:

Sounds like your original answer was good enough and sufficient information for a young child. No need to second guess you answer. Good enough is good enough.


In Latin, saint and holy are the same word, just as sky and heaven are.

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