The Lives Of The Saints (Part One Of Two)
This audiobook contains informative, instructive and interesting information about our Heavenly Friends, Saints! They give us the example how to live on earth so that we will be with them for eternity.
According to the Catholic Church, a saint is anyone in Heaven, whether recognized on Earth or not, who form the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). These “may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5)” who may have not always lived perfect lives, but “amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord”. The title Saint denotes a person who has been formally canonized—that is, officially and authoritatively declared a saint, by the Church as holder of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and is therefore believed to be in Heaven by the grace of God. There are many persons that the Church believes to be in Heaven who have not been formally canonized and who are otherwise titled saints because of the fame of their holiness. Sometimes the word saint also denotes living Christians.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the church’s liturgical traditions.”
In his book Saint of the Day, editor Leonard Foley, OFM, says this: the “[Saints’] surrender to God’s love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of Jesus that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration. They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ.”
The Catholic Church teaches that it does not “make” or “create” saints, but rather recognizes them. Proofs of heroic virtue required in the process of beatification will serve to illustrate in detail the general principles exposed above upon proof of their holiness or likeness to God.
On 3 January 993, Pope John XV became the first pope to proclaim a person a saint from outside the diocese of Rome: on the petition of the German ruler, he had canonized Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg. Before that time, the popular “cults”, or venerations, of saints had been local and spontaneous and were confirmed by the local bishop. Pope John XVIII subsequently permitted a cult of five Polish martyrs. Pope Benedict VIII later declared the Armenian hermit Symeon to be a saint, but it was not until the pontificate of Pope Innocent III that the Popes reserved to themselves the exclusive authority to canonize saints, so that local bishops needed the confirmation of the Pope. Walter of Pontoise was the last person in Western Europe to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope: Hugh de Boves, the Archbishop of Rouen, canonized him in 1153. Thenceforth a decree of Pope Alexander III in 1170 reserved the prerogative of canonization to the Pope, insofar as the Latin Church was concerned.
One source claims that “there are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the Roman Martyrology and Orthodox sources, but no definitive head count”.
Alban Butler published Lives of the Saints in 1756, including a total of 1,486 saints. The latest revision of this book, edited by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater, contains the lives of 2,565 saints. Monsignor Robert Sarno, an official of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints of the Holy See, expressed that it is impossible to give an exact number of saints.
The veneration of saints, in Latin cultus, or the “cult of the Saints”, describes a particular popular devotion or entrustment of one’s self to a particular saint or group of saints. Although the term worship is sometimes used, it is only used with the older English connotation of honoring or respecting (dulia) a person. According to the Church, Divine worship is in the strict sense reserved only to God (latria) and never to the saints. One is permitted to ask the saints to intercede or pray to God for persons still on Earth, just as one can ask someone on Earth to pray for him.
A saint may be designated as a patron saint of a particular cause, profession, or locale, or invoked as a protector against specific illnesses or disasters, sometimes by popular custom and sometimes by official declarations of the Church. Saints are not believed to have power of their own, but only that granted by God. Relics of saints are respected, or venerated, similar to the veneration of holy images and icons. The practice in past centuries of venerating relics of saints with the intention of obtaining healing from God through their intercession is taken from the early Church.