The Role of Saints

In pondering our devotional life as Christians, we should consider the Saints.

The Saints are people who have dedicated their lives in a public way to serving God through service of others. The Catholic Church has publicly recognized some people as Saints — but there are vastly more than those. Everyone who is martyred for the faith is by definition a Saint.

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held (Revelation 6:9)

When we die we can still intercede for those still alive on earth and we still know of events on earth through our interaction with the souls of the living in the spiritual realm.Those in purgatory are hindered in this ability — they need assistance from others as much as they can assist others.

In studying the way in which the Saints related to the Church we can understand what our proper role in relating to the Church should be. A few observations:

  1. Many of the Saints did things which the Church now forbids. Examples are: (1) the hermits, and (2) the founders of new orders.
  2. Their relationship with God was very personal and not defined by Church traditions and customs.
  3. Some were the victims of jealousy by their superiors — even by popes — who hampered their ability to use their gifts.
  4. Many had miraculous powers.
  5. All were loyal to the Church.
  6. All had a strong relationship to the Eucharist.
  7. Many had a defining moment in their lives in which they chose to dedicate their lives to God.
  8. Some were cranky or flaky.
  9. They avoided sin at all cost.
  10. Some were extreme fanatics, for example, Catherine of Siena who stopped eating.
  11. Many took risks which resulted in early death.