Augustine is one of the wisest men in history and a Doctor of the Church. I love him because he is one of the great bad boys of the Church that I think can be a great inspiration for all of us who don’t understand the depth of the mercy of God.
This is one of those “Catholic things,” I know. There are so many saints that you’ll probably find one that has a journey similar to yours. The reason we have Confirmation saints is because we can get encouragement from learning more about them. They have walked this earth just like we are and thy have reached the great prize, Heaven! Heaven should be the goal for all of us, but that takes some effort. Reading the lives of the saints can teach us so much. Here are some things I’ve learned from some of my favorites:
- Pray through the mundane: St. Catherine of Siena was forced to do chores rather than pray. So she decided to pray while she worked.
- The worst sinners make the best saints: St. Francis of Assisi was a mess, and I mean a mess! But by the grace of God, he has become of the Church’s most popular saints.
- It’s okay to aks questions: St. Augustine has taught me that we can ask God questions. We can observed the world and people, ask questions and explore the things around us.
Too many people think the saints are all perfect. The truth is, they all started imperfect, just like us. But by the grace of God, spiritual practices, and supreme virtuousness they were able to become perfect and receive their heavenly prize. God’s grace is in the heart of each of us. We need only listen, and reading the lives of the saints can help!
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Another one of those “Catholic things” I talk about so much is the Saints. We are passionate about our Saints and those outside of the Church are pretty strongly against the Saints. The reason we love the Saints so much, is not because of their own merit and good works, rather, it is because of God’s amazing grace. All the Saints knew their good deeds were dead if done for their own vanity, and were only truly done in love if united to the saving Passion of Christ. The Saints give us an example of hope, they show us what it means to live fully and recklessly for God. I don’t think there is a single one of us who can say we don’t sometimes get nervous about what God is asking us to do, how he wants us to change our lives, or what he may tell us to give up. It is very easy to fall into the temptations of distrust and disobedience. The Saints certainly did! Thankfully, by their example, we can have confidence in the knowledge all things work together for His good.
There are a variety reasons our Protestant brothers and sisters fight so hard against the idea of Saints. One must understand the history of the Protestant Schism to fully grasp the argument. In short, members of the Church were selling indulgences. Indulgences are special graces to reduce or eliminate a person’s time in Purgatory. It is important to note, the selling of indulgences has never been part of Church teaching and has never been an approved practice. It was, however, a common practice, and those in authority turned a blind eye, including the Pope at the time. The result was the Schism. Martin Luther and his fellow Protestants made the decision to remove several books from Scripture including the books of Maccabees and Tobit. Both books reference the importance of praying for Holy Souls in Purgatory, and the angles and Saints praying for the faithful on earth. Because Protestants believe in bible alone they don’t accept the teachings of those who have passed on being able to intercede for others.
Thankfully, the Lord’s word is consistent, and there are still a few places in Scripture we can refer to in order to help defend the Church’s position on praying to the Saints.
I recommend you choose a couple favorite Saints whose stories you relate to or whose patronages you may need.
St. Dymphna: Mental illness
St. Jude: Desperate Situations
St. Isidore of Seville: The internet
St. Anthony: Lost things
St. Rita: Difficult marriages
St. Valentine: Love
St. Gianna Beretta Molla: Unborn children
All popular Saints that would be more than pleased to help each of us on our journey home.