Who Are the Saints-in-Making?: Are You One of Them?
Who do you think are the saints-in-making? Would they be the living (those who are still on earth doing extraordinary things for love of God and neighbors) or the dead (those who are in the state of purification in “purgatory” hoping to reach the heavenly home)?
For us Catholics, we are being taught that there are three members of the Church: those who are still on earth struggling to do good in line with God’s rules (Church Militant), those undergoing purification in purgatory (Church Suffering), and those already in heaven, in the Kingdom of God (Church Triumphant). Note that My Useful Tips previously “blogged” on this matter – feel free to browse the subject under Spirituality Category for further reference.
As such, it is best to strive hard to avoid Purgatory or the worst thing Hell while still on earth. It has been reported that the graver and the more sins are committed, the longer the period of expiation and the more the pain. Note that those who are still on earth, i.e., all of us the Church “Militant” are given second chances to repair the damage done in our lives, to sin no more, and be a good follower of Christ.
How about those who have already died but are still in the state of purgatory? St. Robert Bellarmine, one of the Doctors of the Church, once taught that the Church Suffering are much closer to God than the Church Militant. Some say that in Purgatory, even if the pain of the soul is dreadful, the joy and over certainty that they will be with God someday is greater than the pain. The souls in purgatory while expiating for their sins are destined to join God in Heaven once they have completed the purging process and have received God’s forgiveness. As such, they deserve to be labeled as potential “Saints-in-Waiting” than most of us here on earth.
It is understood that for the souls in purgatory to be quickly released from their current state or to at least lessen the burden of their sufferings, they need help from the Church militant specifically to offer prayers for them. The souls of the dead people can no longer pray for their sake. So, they need our prayers, especially prayers from those who are living in the presence of God. Based on the Church’s teachings, if we invest more time: a) praying for the dead (especially those who died in faith and grace but still need to repay for some sins they committed); b) offering Holy Masses for the souls in purgatory; c) reciting the Holy Rosary along with good works, sacrifices and sufferings with grace; and the like, we do not only help the souls shorten their time in purgatory but we gain indulgences as well. Seriously, that’s a two-fold return on investment (ROI) there!
Relative to All Saints Day, I recall in one of my previous engagements abroad (an opportunity of teaching kids on religion and catechism about our faith), we discussed about saints and how they got to be? It was a couple of days before Halloween eve and the kids in school were so excited about it. However, instead of focusing on the fun about Halloween during class, I thought it was best time to highlight the importance of praying for their departed loved ones who are probably still in the state of “purgatory” expiating for their sins. While Halloween festivities appeared more exciting to them, it was more prudent for me to instill in their young minds the importance of honoring the dead through prayers, by attending Holy Masses and offering sacrifices, apart from visiting the graves of departed loved ones, especially on All Souls Day. They may not have understood much about the concept of “purgatory” at that time, however they were able to learn that offering prayers and good works for the dead are important, with the belief that these offerings would help alleviate the agony and sufferings of the souls of their departed loved ones in purgatory.
As I was about to end the class, the Director of the School (the late Fr. Thomas Catania) entered the classroom, listened for a while and shared his thoughts on the topic, leaving our discussion with a very encouraging statement which captured the middle school kids’ attention. He mentioned to them emphatically, “All of you can be “Saints-In-Making” (or Saints-In-Waiting” for that matter)! They were amazed and happy to learn about this.
Indeed, everyone can be potential saints but to achieve this, one would go through a very hard and rigorous process. However, it is attainable as exemplified by certain people who became saints. As Jesus said, “if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. It simply means that if we follow God’s commandments, we will have eternal life or we can go straight to Heaven. However, it’s not that easy. We are not perfect, right? We fight against our weaknesses and personal interests as we go through life which somehow cut our relationship with God. However, God in His infinite love and mercy is giving us so many second chances to do good. If we only ask God’s pardon for our sins and promise Him not to do it again, recite our prayers with acts of devotion including the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, God will surely open wide the treasury of His goodness and compassion. God is so kind that He won’t fail us if we fervently pray to Him and ask for His mercy.
Pope Francis, an hour ago, tweeted on the 1st day of November (Solemnity of All Saints Day) stating that the saints who often count for little in the eyes of the world, are in reality the ones who sustain it, not with the weapons of money and power, but with the weapon of prayer. He once stated that All Saints’ Day is the feast of all of us, a holy occasion to increase our faith and hope. Indeed, we are all saints in making. But everything depends on us. We are called to be holy even in the midst of the world of chaos and challenges. It is definitely possible if we want to achieve holiness. God is there to help us on how to be one, if we wish and allow Him to. Yes, it is hard to get out of our comfort zones and follow the right path to holiness. But we have to. There are no valid reasons not to do it, not to follow the way to and the teachings of Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us: “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity. All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (CCC #2013).
We have known people, ordinary people (famous or not), in one way or another, who have tried emulating and applying the virtues essential to holiness on their daily lives. I know some of them and I was amazed and impressed of their goodness. One was my colleague at the office who served as my mentor (and she eventually acted as our Godmother). She is a pious and prayerful person, sees to it that she prays first and goes to Church to hear mass before going to office. She prays the Holy Rosary, not just one mystery mind you, but the 4 mysteries every day! She has ways on how to do it and on how she can perform her tasks and offer it to God. She is the most cheerful, generous and kindhearted person I have ever met. She practices the virtue of humility and always obedient to her principals, she doesn’t act like she knows more than her peers and most especially the heads. She doesn’t flaunt her achievements. In short, her character (in and out of her professional life) is beyond reproach. She’s definitely a potential candidate for a Saint-in- Making.
For some of us who are still struggling to be holy, it is okay not to be okay at this point in time. We just have to try doing it. God sees our willingness and determination to do it. Let’s be patient and most of all practice the virtue of humility in everything we do. We never know, one day who knows, God will be the one to lift us up and make us one.
Going back to the kids in class, they actually got small packs of goodies as my Halloween treat for them and a reward for being attentive! And what did I get from the saints-in-making? Oh, the gratefulness and big smiles from them gave me joy!
Our Father God in Heaven, Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God, “Breathe in us, that our thoughts may all be holy. Act in us, that our works, too, may be holy. Draw our hearts that we love only what is holy. Strengthen us to defend all that is holy. Guard us so that we may always be holy”. Amen. (Prayer taken from Catholic.org).
All the Saints in Heaven, pray for us. Amen.
O Holy Mary, our hope, handmaid of the Lord, pray for us.
Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You. Amen.
*ctto for the featured photo