HEROES AND HEROINES

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, O.P.

When I use the word “saints” (lower case), I refer to a group of people all of whom are baptized with water and the Spirit, those in Heaven, those awaiting purification, and those special persons whom we hold up as heroes and heroines of holiness. In this case, holiness means Christ told us to love one another as Christ loves us, and these people are raised up by the Church Universal as those whom we publically acknowledge being Saints (upper case).

From earliest times in the catacombs, Christians have venerated those who have given their lives for Christ, either through martyrdom or by virtuous living. The Church Universal provides special status to those whom we venerate as having in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) to a heroic degree. We call that canonization (the word canon meaning list).

We are all saints belonging to the communion of saints. Some are designated Saints (upper case) meaning they are special. In the Calendar of Saints, we honor and venerate (not adore) those whose lives were exceptional examples of how to love others as Christ loves us. The Eastern Church has its calendar of Saints as does the Western Church (Rome). Saints belong to the Hall of Fame, to use a sports analogy. Here are my top ten Saints.

St. Thomas Aquina, O.P. https://dominicanfriars.org/saint-thomas-aquinas-2/

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“Better to illuminate than merely to shine.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“To love is to will the good of the other.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“A man’s heart is right when he wills what God wills.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

“If you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

THE HALL OF FAME

Saints (upper case) are those whom the Church Universal deems worthy of emulating, which is a big word for being a hero or heroine in loving others as Christ loves us. One of the best ways to know what Scriptual references mean is to actually have people live the Scriptures. John 20:30 gives us the reason for Scriptures. Scriptures are stories and examples of how to love as Christ loves us.

One way I look at Saints is to compare it with the Football Hall of Fame. People vote on who should be in that rarified air of excellence. We honor these athletes because of their skills. Saints are elected to sainthood because they were so good at trying to love God with all their minds, their hearts, and all their strength. From earliest times (John the Baptist), we have venerated the Saints as worthy of our attention. Each Saint is assigned a calendar day for being remembered at the Eucharist. Just like the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, we visit the Saints each Eucharist and learn how they were selected as being worthy reminders of what it means to love Christ as he loves us. We do not adore Saints, nor do we believe that they are God. They are, by Faith, a reflection of God’s image and likeness, as are we.

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