Skip to comments.All Saints' Day [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 10/29/2011 5:16:40 AM PDT by sayuncledave
Today Im going to say a word about All Saints Day. Quite often, people will ask about saints, and how the Catholic Church sees the saints. As a matter of fact, a lot of people misunderstand what the Catholic Church teaches about saints. Ive heard non-Catholics say to me, You worship the saints, but we worship Jesus.
Thats not quite true. The saints are not worshiped. The saints are human beings, they lived on the face of this earth. But they are people whom the Church has declared to be saints. That is to say that the Church acknowledges that because of the sanctity of their lives, the way they cooperated with Gods grace, the Church by the authority she has been given by Jesus Christ has declared them to be saints, and so we honor them as such.
But the saints are not people that we worship. Only God is worshiped. And, of course, we come as Catholics to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of our faith. But we realize that, as a community of believers, we are all the body of Christ, baptized into the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we realize that in baptism, death and sin have been defeated. Jesus Christ has conquered death and sin. We are one with Jesus forever, and so we speak about the communion of saints: all those who were baptized here on this earth and those baptized who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith who now enjoy the fullness of the kingdom.
The saints are people, as I said in the beginning, whom we acknowledge that have made it to heaven, you might say, and the Church officially recognizes that. Now there are some saints that we have specifically declared as canonized. For example, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Benedict, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Saint Therese of Avila, Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Gertrude, Saint Agnes, Saint Cecilia. These are the saints we even have what we call a litany of saints but the Church acknowledges that there are many saints in heaven whom we have not officially canonized, so we have a special day for all the saints, where we honor all the saints who are in heaven. Its a way of saying Well done, good and faithful servant. Its a way of patting our brothers and sisters on the back and saying, Good job. Youve been a good example for us and were going to try to emulate you, try to imitate you and follow in your footsteps.
Also, we believe that the saints continue to intercede for us in heaven. Just as they prayed for the Church on earth, so now they pray for the Church in heaven. So well often say, Saint Anthony, pray for me. Saint Jude, pray for me. Saint John the Evangelist, pray for me. Just as I might say to you, Oh, Im going to take an important test, would you say a prayer for me? Or, Im going to have surgery next week, will you pray for me? Well, we say to the saints, These things are coming up in my life, will you please say a prayer for me? I believe that your prayers are efficacious. Youre in heaven now. And so please intercede for me.
So thats a sense of how the Church holds the saints in honor and we affirm them and we also wish to follow them.
All Saints Day, Nov. 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation. See your local parish for Mass times.
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