Saints of the saints

By: FR. FRANCIS ONGKINGCO October 27,2017 - 08:59 PM


Come November, we again celebrate all the unnamed saints whose holiness is known only to God. Likewise, we are reminded of our true goal in life: to strive for holiness in order to enter heaven.

And the feast honoring all the blessed in heaven points to one very important lesson: no one can go to heaven alone. Everyone needs a helping hand to get up there. In the first place, our Lord’s unfailing help, for Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Our Lord, however, wanted that there be others to help pave the way for us, accompany us and help us during our earthly sojourn. These are His saints! Among these favorites of our Lord: His blessed Mother, His foster father, St. Joseph, and His Twelve Apostles.

They, however, are not the only ones! There are also the many men and women — known or not — who have lived their lives (each one richly unique) loving God, His church and bringing many souls to heaven with them.

They are also God’s favorites. And we may not realize that these saints did not make it to heaven on their own. They had to rely on other saints to help them become saints!

For example, we know of St. Teresa of Avila’s strong devotion to St. Joseph. She entrusted him with many of their projects and especially when building a new convent. St. John Mary Vianney surprisingly turned to a then not-so-known Roman martyr: St. Philomena. His faithful devotion to her granted him many favors. He then encouraged others to turn to her and a devotion started flourishing in her honor.

Having the saints as our intercessors is not turning them into mere spiritual ATMs. They must be a constant point of reference for the virtues we each personally feel they could help us grow in. They are essentially there to help us, like they did, to identify ourselves more with Christ.

Choosing our saints can be quite simple. The easy ones are the hand-me-down-type saints from our parents or grandparents. It is quite normal to become endeared to a saint or saints simply because it has been a longstanding tradition in one’s family.

Sometimes devotion to a saint grows from some kind of spiritual chemistry with a saint’s life and teachings. This may result from one’s curiosity that was aroused by a story about the saint from a homily or in a book. For example, St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) decided to become a Carmelite nun after reading, in one sitting, the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila.

Then there could be saints whom we become attached to because of our specific profession, vocation or mission in life. Thus, engineers, nurses, architects, etc., each have their saints for their various needs.

Finally, let us not forget that there too are the very close relatives and friends who have gone before us. They may not have been declared saints by the church, yet there is nothing wrong if we do turn to them for their help and intercession. Who, more than they, would have a better understanding of our own aspirations and trials when they have lived physically so close to us?

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TAGS: celebrate, church, company, faith, faithful, favorites, God, holines, known, November, Saints, unnamed

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