What makes a saint?


#1

I hope this is the proper place for this question. If there is a more appropriate place, please let me know. :slight_smile:

My question is:

What does it take for the catholic church to deem someone a “saint?”

This question came to mind while reading this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=77583

If “praying to” a “saint” is the same as asking a fellow Christian to intercede in prayer for you as well, why does the Roman Catholic Church name only certain people saints. while the New Testament calls all Christians saints. For example:

1Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Just wondering.


#2

There are tons of saints that will never be officially recognized by the Church because they do not lead public lives. You might know one! They are awesome to be around, and they make you feel good…their goodness just leaks all over the place and you are affected by their souls!

That being said, we aren’t judge who goes straight to heaven as well as we can’t judge who is going to Hell, but by careful investigation that takes years, and lots of witnessing to miracles, and the good that someone has done…virtually the fruits of their labor will shine and we can safely say that yes, this person was a Saint, and we should model our lives after him/her.

Short answer…Keep the faith…Love God above all, and your fellow man…constantly keep in reconcilliation with God by asking for forgiveness and enduring to the end…and you too can be a Saint!


#3

Thanks for that reply, Lillith. :slight_smile:

I guess my main question is, why does the catholic church not recognize YOU as a saint, because Paul equated the term “saint” with members of the church? It seems the RCC has taken a term used of all Christians and made it into an exclusive term.


#4

[quote=Matt14]while the New Testament calls all Christians saints. For example:

1Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Just wondering.
[/quote]

Real quick before I head off to lunch:

In the verse stated above I don’t read that ALL Christians are saints, I see St. Paul addressing three groups; 1 - “Church of God at Corinth” 2 - “those that have been sanctified…saints” and 3 - “everyone who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


#5

[quote=Matt14]Thanks for that reply, Lillith. :slight_smile:

I guess my main question is, why does the catholic church not recognize YOU as a saint, because Paul equated the term “saint” with members of the church? It seems the RCC has taken a term used of all Christians and made it into an exclusive term.
[/quote]

Because…we cannot know the hearts and souls of all men. Surely Judas was perceived to be good before he did his dastardly deed. We must endure to the end.

1Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus,** saints by calling**, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

We are all called to be saints…that doesn’t necessarily mean that we succeed


#6

[quote=Matt14]Thanks for that reply, Lillith. :slight_smile:

I guess my main question is, why does the catholic church not recognize YOU as a saint, because Paul equated the term “saint” with members of the church? It seems the RCC has taken a term used of all Christians and made it into an exclusive term.
[/quote]

The term Paul uses, “hagioi” “holy ones” does apply to all of us the way Paul uses it.

But the canonization process refers to the determination by the Church that beyond all doubt a person has entered Heaven. We distinguish this limited definition by using a capital “S.”

I think of Mother Teresa. People almost universally referred to her as a Saint while she was still on earth. Her witness was conspicuous – as evidenced by the swiftness with which her cause for Sainthood was introduced for consideration. The rest of us? Well, the verdict is still out.

BTW, those “saints” Paul refers to had all the problems we associate with “sinners.” He sometimes qualifies the term by addressing his audience as “those called to be saints.” It’s a different way of using the word from the canonical way.

I think confusion arises because people in general (not just Catholics) have adopted the narrower Catholic definition of “Saint” – one who is in Heaven – and applied it to the Pauline scriptural references as if those “saints” in Corinth (!) enjoyed the same status as the holy souls in Heaven.


#7

mercygate, that makes sense. :slight_smile:

So basically the catholic church took a term used by Paul and appropriated it in a different way to people they felt sure were holy and entered heaven?


#8

[quote=Matt14]mercygate, that makes sense. :slight_smile:

So basically the catholic church took a term used by Paul and appropriated it in a different way to people they felt sure were holy and entered heaven?
[/quote]

Right. As with a lot of “Catholic” concepts, it’s not either/or, it’s both/and! Don’t forget that capital “S”!


#9

Is that why prayer to Saints (big s :slight_smile: ) is considered important for the catholic church? Because the Saints are more holy than you, and your prayers are more likely to be answered if coming from a holier person?


#10

Matt14…You are a very pleasant person to converse with :slight_smile:
Although I know you don’t agree with these things, your tone is most polite.

I have an analogy that might be useful. The body of Christ is a huge iceberg. At the tip of that iceberg you will see the living members, but if you are to look below the water, you will see the vast majority of the church. Just because you can’t see those members below the water does not mean that they don’t exist…they are still the body of Christ.

And closer to God than we are…with access to His wisdom…who better to pray for me? I still ask other folks to pray for me, and I constantly pray for my husband…but If I have a hugh request…I’ll ask for some assistance from my namesake for instance St. Teresa of Avila…


#11

[quote=Matt14]Is that why prayer to Saints (big s :slight_smile: ) is considered important for the catholic church? Because the Saints are more holy than you, and your prayers are more likely to be answered if coming from a holier person?
[/quote]

Well, as James says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (That’s the KJV – I still love it). So yes, we do trust our intentions to the holy ones. And since they are “holy” and they are with God, perfected in charity, we know that their love is perfect, their will is one with his, and their prayer “availeth much.”

I am glad to see that you are not wandering off into the nonsense of thinking that Catholics do not “go directly to God” in prayer, because, of course, we pray to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all the time! :slight_smile: You get big points for that!


#12

[quote=Matt14]I hope this is the proper place for this question. If there is a more appropriate place, please let me know. :slight_smile:

My question is:

What does it take for the catholic church to deem someone a “saint?”

This question came to mind while reading this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=77583

If “praying to” a “saint” is the same as asking a fellow Christian to intercede in prayer for you as well, why does the Roman Catholic Church name only certain people saints. while the New Testament calls all Christians saints. For example:

1Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Just wondering.
[/quote]

Check this out: We are all called to be saints. I raised this question during RCIA and was taught that there are two ways to refer to saints. 1. Believers of Christ on earth. 2. Believers of Christ in Heaven. Check out this definition and then click on the link to read the Saint of the Day - we learn a lot about our faith by holding fast to this tradition (like St. Paul told us to do).

“Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.”

St. Wenceslaus or “Good King Wenceslaus” is today’s saint:

americancatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/default.asp

Peace,

Kevin

<>


#13

[quote=Lillith]Matt14…You are a very pleasant person to converse with :slight_smile:
Although I know you don’t agree with these things, your tone is most polite.
[/quote]

Thank you. :slight_smile: There is no reason why we who follow Christ can’t discuss things in love. I’m enjoying being here, and learning a lot in the process.

I have an analogy that might be useful. The body of Christ is a huge iceberg. At the tip of that iceberg you will see the living members, but if you are to look below the water, you will see the vast majority of the church. Just because you can’t see those members below the water does not mean that they don’t exist…they are still the body of Christ.

Yes, this makes sense, and I would agree totally.

And closer to God than we are…with access to His wisdom…who better to pray for me? I still ask other folks to pray for me, and I constantly pray for my husband…but If I have a hugh request…I’ll ask for some assistance from my namesake for instance St. Teresa of Avila…

It’s this part I guess I disagree with, though I understand why catholics feel this way. For my part, I guess I rely on John’s statement here:

1Jo 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
1Jo 5:15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

You see, I believe this teaches that God hears us in whatever we ask according to His will. Therefore, I just don’t see a need to go to someone who is more “holy” than us.

But, that’s my view. :slight_smile:


#14

[quote=mercygate]Well, as James says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (That’s the KJV – I still love it). So yes, we do trust our intentions to the holy ones. And since they are “holy” and they are with God, perfected in charity, we know that their love is perfect, their will is one with his, and their prayer “availeth much.”

I am glad to see that you are not wandering off into the nonsense of thinking that Catholics do not “go directly to God” in prayer, because, of course, we pray to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all the time! :slight_smile: You get big points for that!
[/quote]

LOL I see no reason to dwell on those rabbit trails. I know catholics pray to God. Some of the most active and charitable people I know are catholics, and I can see their hearts are for Christ.

But as I mentioned above to Lillith, I guess since John says God hears us in ANYTHING we ask according to His will, he hears us, so I don’t see the need for praying to people in heaven in addition to my prayers to God.

But again, that’s me. :smiley:

PS I still love the KJV too, though I use NASB mostly online, and NKJV for teaching in person.


#15

[quote=Matt14]I hope this is the proper place for this question. If there is a more appropriate place, please let me know. :slight_smile:

My question is:

What does it take for the catholic church to deem someone a “saint?”

This question came to mind while reading this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=77583

If “praying to” a “saint” is the same as asking a fellow Christian to intercede in prayer for you as well, why does the Roman Catholic Church name only certain people saints. while the New Testament calls all Christians saints. For example:

1Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Just wondering.
[/quote]

Those are two different questions :slight_smile:

What makes a Saint ? - a life of Christian charity lived to an heroic degree.

Why the distinction ? Because while all Christians are holy on the ground of belonging to, and being members of, Christ the Holy One of God; that is, all are holy objectively: not all show forth this Holiness in their lives; that is, not all are holy subjectively. Yet all are in Christ - they do not form a different Church from us.

Those who, by the grace of Christ working powerfully in them, show forth His Holiness in their own lives, are the capital S Saints; they are not “supersaints”, but saints who are being the saints that God intended - for, whereas so many of us are semi-converted, and so largely Christian in name, but not in truth, they are far more fully “in tune” with God. So they are different in degree, not in kind, from the rest of us. They are more mature in Christ than we are.

Canonisation does not create Saints - it is the end of a process of discerning whether or not someone with is reputation for Christian holiness is really holy, or not; it is a recognition of what God has done in the person canonised. The Church can’t create holiness - any more than it can create the universe. What it can do, by the power and grace of the Spirit of God by Whom it is indwelt & guided, is recognise God’s works - of which the sanctifying work of God of the Holy Spirit in a human person is an example. (Many processes for canonisation fall by the wayside - we are not talking of those.)

The Saints recognised by the Church, are only those whom the Church knows by name - there will be many who are known to God alone. All, known or not, are honoured in common in the feast of All Saints, on November 1. ##


#16

[quote=Matt14]LOL I see no reason to dwell on those rabbit trails. I know catholics pray to God. Some of the most active and charitable people I know are catholics, and I can see their hearts are for Christ.

But as I mentioned above to Lillith, I guess since John says God hears us in ANYTHING we ask according to His will, he hears us, so I don’t see the need for praying to people in heaven in addition to my prayers to God.

But again, that’s me. :smiley:

PS I still love the KJV too, though I use NASB mostly online, and NKJV for teaching in person.
[/quote]

. . . and if you were Catholic, you would not NEED to seek the intercession of the Saints. I have always had a sense of friendship with the Saints, even before I converted, but I rarely pray to them. VERY rarely. Maybe that’s a defect for a Catholic, but I don’t think so. If you read the writings of the great Saints – those masters of the spiritual life: Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, they refer very little to anybody except Jesus, and God our Lord.

(P.S. I don’t “do” “N” versions of any Bible. Too much messin’ with the basic language. I favor the RSV because it is closest to the Hebrew & Greek. It’s virtually a trot to the Greek.)


#17

[quote=mercygate]. . . and if you were Catholic, you would not NEED to seek the intercession of the Saints. I have always had a sense of friendship with the Saints, even before I converted, but I rarely pray to them. VERY rarely. Maybe that’s a defect for a Catholic, but I don’t think so. If you read the writings of the great Saints – those masters of the spiritual life: Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, they refer very little to anybody except Jesus, and God our Lord.

(P.S. I don’t “do” “N” versions of any Bible. Too much messin’ with the basic language. I favor the RSV because it is closest to the Hebrew & Greek. It’s virtually a trot to the Greek.)
[/quote]

I second that Mercygate!!! I rarely, can’t remember when the last time was, that I asked for intercession. I haven’t even asked a church member to pray for me in a long time…I’m having a really good life…

BUT…when my daughter was in the hospital really sick…I contacted my Church and asked for every prayer possible…and I asked for the prayers of Saints! No holds barred…called the legion out…


#18

[quote=mercygate](P.S. I don’t “do” “N” versions of any Bible. Too much messin’ with the basic language. I favor the RSV because it is closest to the Hebrew & Greek. It’s virtually a trot to the Greek.)
[/quote]

Not to get off on a side issue, but having studied Greek and Hebrew myself, it seems to me that the NASB is much closer to the original Greek of the NT. I prefer the NKJV for many reasons, but mostly because it favors the Majority Text in most cases, and gives footnotes of variances from the Critical Text and Textus Receptus. The NKJV is nearly the same as the KJV, with the addition of the footnotes and without the “thee’s” and “thou’s.”

Just a thought, FWIW.

I appreciate your good comments. :slight_smile:


#19

[quote=Matt14]Not to get off on a side issue, but having studied Greek and Hebrew myself, it seems to me that the NASB is much closer to the original Greek of the NT. I prefer the NKJV for many reasons, but mostly because it favors the Majority Text in most cases, and gives footnotes of variances from the Critical Text and Textus Receptus. The NKJV is nearly the same as the KJV, with the addition of the footnotes and without the “thee’s” and “thou’s.”

Just a thought, FWIW.

I appreciate your good comments. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Shucks! I thought I deleted that P.S. – not relevant to the thread.:o


#20

A Saint (S) is anyone who the Church discerns is in the presence of God in Heaven. Partly through God’s own disclosure.
So far everone has mentioned “people”, but, for today, we celebrate the non-human Saints. They are the 3 Great Archhangels:
Michael
Gabriel
Raphael
Michael protects; Gabriel announces; Raphael guides.

This is the Prayer to St Michael the Protector said after the Traditional Latin Mass by the whole congregation:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -

  •      by the Divine Power of God* -
       cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
       who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.          Amen.
    

There is no doubt that God uses his emissaries to interact in the world doing His will.
A good example is YOU.
Now I ask, how many have you Baptised “in the name of…” and thus brought into the Church? See, that is God’s work DIRECTLY through you. YOU performed God’s will for someone who COULD NOT do it themselves. They could pray til the end of time, and they still could not baptise themselves. Why did God MAKE us dependent on another human for our salvation?

We read in Scripture many examples of these angels acting for God to man. They are quite well informed about our needs by God through their “partaking of the Divine Nature” as Scripture says.

Somewhere in Hebrews we have this "great cloud of WITNESSES… who are they, and what are they “witnessing”, and why described as a “cloud”, and why mention them at all?

Souls do not go commatose when they reach heaven. In Rev. we know that they realize that the martyrs were not yet avenged. How did they know that?

We respect God’s emissaries simply because He gave them to us as an aid beyond our own capabilities, (I could call that a form of “material” grace) much like a man uses a leverage bar or hydraulic jack to amplify his own God given strength, yet without them in certain situations, he would be unable to do what needs to be done.

We know that intercession, even for the Apostles, was asked for. Who was closer to God on earth than the Apostles? Yet they pleaded for the intercession of fellow humans. Why? Weren’t their prayers directly to God sufficient? If not why not? If so, then nonsensical idea.

Anecdotal:
I prayed for finding a lost Rosary off and on for about 9 months. They were special as they were used by my deceased father (whoops, my DAD). The beads were mahogony and the links were sterling.

Well, one day it came to me that St Anthony was our patron of things lost, and I was becoming reconciled they were gone for good. I gave a short prayer to him, explained my loss, and my reason for wanting to have them back.

Less than 2 hours later, I had a task to perform that caused me to look into an old travel briefcase that I have used many times in the last 9 months. This time when I opened it, that Rosary were dangling in clear site from a shallow lid pocket.

Does God want us to use ALL the gifts He has given us, including His emissaries? You bet your life.

I don’t know have easily you are moved emotionally, so the following may not affect you as it did me.
There is a Classic B&W (1945) movie called Song of Bernadette. I think Jennifer Jones received the Academy Award for her part.
You can often still rent it in the bigger rental stores. Get it and watch it, preferably more than once over several months. You will see into how the Church determines a Saint from an “acting as an adversary” point of view.
I’m a mean cowboy, and this movie still brings the tears flowing. You’d think I’d get over it after so many times watching it. But nooooo, I watched it again last nite and needed paper towels.

God has Blessed Matt
You found a treasure chest on this Forum. Keep digging. There are spiritual diamonds, rubys and lots of sapphires.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.