“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (1. Corinthians 6:2)
“All the good we do,” says a great spiritual writer, “Jesus Christ does in us.” Accordingly, “we may say that [Jesus] has done, in a manner, all the good works of the Saints….” Thus, “when we keep the feast of some Saint, we keep the feast of Jesus Christ, who is the author of all the sanctity of the Saints” (Father L. Lallemant, The Spiritual Doctine, p.262).
Another great spiritual writer, Father Weiss, tells us that in “His Merciful Providence God sent each saint to remind the world of its duties and to save it from its corrupt life. The saints…are selected as instruments of salvation by the compassionate Doctor of the nations [Jesus].” For “those who receive the saints, they are a great means of salvation. A people will never fall hopelessly into corruption as long as they have a single saint” (The Mystical Evolution, Vol. II, p. 373).
The great Father Olier adds:”In a certain sense the Feast of All Saints seems to me to be greater than that of Easter or the Ascension because this mystery perfects our Lord. But Jesus as Head is not perfect except in union with all His members, who are the Saints. This Feast is very glorious…for all the excellence of the perfection of the saints is nothing more than an emanation of His Spirit poured forth on them” (Id at 501).
Father Weiss explains that “the saints have always been the most faithful sons of the Church….The more united anyone is to the Church, the more certain he is of union with her Founder and Lord, the author of all graces and the model and end of all sanctity. The more tightly one is bound with the mystical body of Jesus Christ, the more he adheres to this divine Head….” (Id at 485).
And on this subject of the importance of the Saints, Father Faber warns us to not underestimate the dignity and power they hold:
“The honor of God …is deeply implicated in the worship paid to the saint. In some sense [God] is more jealous of it than of His own; less patient of levity with [His saints] than with Himself, and frequently punishes persons for this [levity]. The saints themselves have entered into the dispositions of God, and, with a sort of vindictive holiness, hard for us in our present state to understand, resent familiarities and impertinences…. Faith is the chief ingredient in a true devotion to the saints; faith is the reality of their power, and of their relationship towards us. It is a great sign of a man being supernatural when he fears to offend a saint. The favors of the saints form a great department of the Divine Mercies, and play an important part in the sanctification of holy men…. Weakness of prayer is one of the feeblenesses of our times, through want of faith and fear; this is one way to set them right. We always fear those in whom we have confidence. We cannot ever put confidence in those whom we do not in some way fear” (From: Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, Volume I, pages 381-82).
PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATION: Here is an instance where modern technology is truly advantageous. Since devotion to the saints gives glory to God, it is sage advice to put a high premium on devotion to the saints! I might add that two modern saints of extraordinary significance indicated that they intended to do a lot of good for us in the church militant once they got to Heaven (i.e., the Church Triumphant) – and these two saints are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina Kowalska. “Love never remains idle.” So here is how this simple devotion works. You have the “Saint-of-the-Day” email sent to your email account. I use the Saint of the Day email from franciscanmedia.org. You open the email and read the short bio of the Saint of the Day, paying attention to that saint’s particular spirituality and virtues (learning to imitate the saints, according to your own life situation, is one of the best things you can do!). You then thank that saint for his or her awesome service to Jesus and his church, and you then petition that saint for a share or increase in one or more of the virtues that saint exemplified during his or her life (such as fortitude during trials, devotion to the poor, perseverance in prayer, kindness to enemies, great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, etc). Devotion done…much learned…fresh graces merited! God honored. You will be blessed by this devotion. “God is great in His saints” (see 2 Thes. 1:10).
Remember, in a very real way, the Feast Day of a Saint is the Feast Day of Jesus Christ. Glory be to God for the Saints!
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
P.S. In addition to the internet, the Church Calendar will also tell you the name of the Saint whose Feast is being celebrated on a given day. I try to look at my wall calendar when I get up in the morning. The next Saint Feast Day on my calendar is St. Hilary, an early Bishop, on January 13, followed a few days later by the great Saint Anthony. Do you think Saint Anthony could help you?
Image: Saint John on Patmos by the Limbourg brothers. Date: between 1411 and 1416. According to Wikipedia, “Rev. 5:8 presents the saints in heaven as linked by prayer with their fellow Christians on earth.” Public Domain, U.S.A.
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