FAQ on Saints

This is a syndicated post from Aggie Catholics. [Read the original article...]

A Saint is someone who has died that the Catholic Church declares is now in heaven. This is what we might call a Saint with a capital “S”. Those of us in the grace of God here on earth might be called saints with a small “s”. This is because the word “saint” can be used in different ways. St. Paul frequently refers to those he writes his letters to as “saints”. This is merely someone who lives in the grace of God.

With that being said, the Catholic Church holds up, as examples of holy lives, certain men and women as Saints. Can they hear us? How do they become Saints? Why do we pray for them? All this and more found below.

This is all very relevant, because this Sunday the Church will declare John XXIII and John Paul II as Saints!

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Why Pray To Saints? Can They Hear Us?

I would like to first point out that the Saints are not God. So, Catholics do not worship or adore the Saints. We worship God alone. To pray to a Saint is to ask them to intercede on our behalf, just as we would a friend on earth. 

The book of James says this:
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” – James 5:16

Now, who is more righteous than those perfected in heaven? Thus, we ask the Saints to pray for us, because the Bible tells us they have powerful prayers.

There are several reasons that Catholics believe that the Saints in heaven can hear our requests for their intercession. First, let us start with the Biblical evidence.

“And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, `I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” --Matthew 22:31-32

—-Note that Jesus is telling us that those in heaven are alive. But, they now have a new and higher way of living. They have been glorified in Christ once they enter into heaven. In fact, it could be said that they are much more alive than those of us still on earth.

“And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:3-5

—-Here, during the Transfiguration, Jesus talks to Moses and Elijah, who are very aware of what has been happening on earth. So, from this we can come to the conclusion that death does not separate those in heaven from those on earth.

Remember Paul teaches that we are all members of Christ’s body, the Church.
The Book of Hebrews echoes this when it teaches that those who have gone before us into heaven still witness what happens on earth.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us” Hebrews 12:1

What I believe is the most amazing evidence from the Bible of the Saints in heaven hearing our prayers is from the book of Revelation.

“When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.” –Revelations 5:8

—-We see that the elders and four living creatures (who represent the Saints and Angels in heaven) are offering the prayers of those on earth before Jesus. I don’t think it could get much clearer. In Revelation 8 there is another incident of heavenly intercession.

“Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with burning coals from the altar, and hurled it down to the earth. There were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” –Revelation 8:3-5

Lastly, we have evidence from Christ himself.

“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, `Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:7-10

—-Those in heaven could not rejoice over a sinner repenting on earth unless they knew about it.

One more reference of Christ talking about this subject is found in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. Those who have suffered bodily death, still are asking for help for those on earth (intercession) with knowledge of what is happening.

Getting to the question outside the Biblical evidence, we can support the fact that those in heaven can hear our prayers because it fits with what we know about God and human beings. Just as no person can achieve heaven on their own power, so a Saint in heaven cannot hear prayers of those on earth from their own power. But, being glorified in Christ they now are partakers of the divine nature. This means they participate in the grace of God to a greater degree than we can even imagine. While God is the only one who by nature is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – the Saints in heaven can in some way share in these traits. The number of prayers offered is finite, so to be able to “hear” all prayers wouldn’t take the gift of omniscience, but rather just raising our nature to a higher level.

We must also remember that the heavenly existence is no longer bound by time. There is no time but eternity in heaven. Therefore, we must not try and answer a question of this nature by using our own limited understanding of how things work in this life.

Based on the overwhelming evidence from Scripture, the constant Tradition of the Church as well as the fact that it is theologically acceptable, we can be assured that the Saints in heaven can hear our prayers and are praying for us.

This is why we pray to Saints.

The Church also know we need examples of holy men and women to look up to and to try to imitate. This is why we declare some of them Saints.

John XXIII and John Paul II pray for us!

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What is the Process for Declaring Someone a Saint?

This video answers that question:

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Other links of interest:

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Web Programmer – Systems Analyst – Faith Direct (Alexandria, VA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

WEB PROGRAMMER – SYSTEMS ANALYST
Technology, FT Employee
Faith Direct (Alexandria, VA)

Alexandria-based online giving company that serves non-profit clients is searching for an entry-level Information Technology professional to help develop and maintain its web applications. This position will collaborate with our senior web developer and work closely with operations staff to ensure applications are fully tested and meet customer/staff needs. Our systems are built on the Linux-Apache-PHP-MySQL stack.

Primary Responsibilities

Provide manual and automated testing for web applications
Gather information and conduct research to meet users’ needs and translate them into technical requirements
Develop code fixes and simple enhancements
Develop new application features
Required Skills and Experience

2+ years post-secondary education in computer studies or equivalent experience
Experience with developing web applications in PHP
Familiarity and experience with SQL Databases
Experience writing website markup in HTML and CSS
Ability to work from Linux command line, or willingness to learn
Ability to work in a team to prioritize and balance multiple projects at the same time
Self-starter with outstanding organization
Good interpersonal and communication skills
Creativity and *smarts*
Preferred Skills

JavaScript, especially JQuery
Apache configuration
Functional knowledge of Linux server administration
Photoshop or graphic design experience
Modern Web UI design experience (HTML5, CSS3, mobile & responsive design)
Experience with Subversion or similar version control software
Unit testing experience (especially SimpleTest or PHPUnit)
Knowledge of MVC architecture and PHP implementations (especially CodeIgniter)
E-commerce development experience
About Faith Direct

Since 2003, Faith Direct has been the leading eGiving company for churches nationwide. Our turn- key solution utilizes both technology and marketing to achieve superior results and service for the growing number of church clients and users. More information can be found at: www.faithdirect.net

How to Apply

Send cover letter, resume and salary requirements via email to: [email protected] (2)

Do not be ‘afraid of joy,’ Pope encourages

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

Vatican City, Apr 24, 2014 / 11:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis rebuked Christians who are “afraid of joy” and “mournful,” encouraging them to remember that Jesus Christ accompanies them.

“We’re afraid of being close to Jesus because this gives us joy,” he said in his homily during Easter Thursday Mass at the Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican, Vatican Radio reports.

He said there are Christians whose lives “seem to be a perpetual funeral” and who “prefer sadness to joy.”

“They move about in the shadows, not in the light of joy,” he said, comparing them to night-time animals like bats.

The Pope joked that there are “Christian bats who prefer the shadows to the light of the presence of the Lord.”

Instead, the Pope advised, Christians should look to the joy of the Resurrection.

“Do you talk with Jesus? Do you say to Jesus: ‘I believe that You are alive, that You are risen, that You’re near me. That You will never abandon me’?” the Pope asked.

“A Christian life should be this: a dialogue with Jesus, because – this is true – Jesus is always with us, always there alongside us with our problems and our difficulties, with our good works.”

He suggested that mournful Christians have been “burnt by the drama of the Cross” and feel that it is better to keep God at a distance.

“We ask the Lord to do for all of us what he did for the disciples who were afraid of joy: to open our minds,” Pope Francis said, citing the Gospel reading from Luke in which Jesus opened their minds “to understand the Scriptures.”

“Let Him open our minds and help us understand that He is a living reality, that He has a body, that He is with us, that He accompanies us and He has won,” the Pope said.

“We ask the Lord for the grace to not be afraid of joy.”

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Lk 24:35-48 More Than A Feeling: Experience

This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]

Thursday within the Octave of Easter
(Click here for readings)

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of the bread.

Not too long ago, I was asked to give a talk to our 8th graders about Confirmation.  When the time came for questions, I was bombarded by the kids.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Actually, I was very proud of them.  They asked fantastic questions.  I felt like they had paid attention to what I had said and it caused them to reflect and react.  One question in particular stood out among the rest:  “What do you do when you don’t feel God?”

More than a feeling.   “Excellent question!” I said. ”You all know the song, ‘Feelings,’ right?  Well they didn’t.  I was wrong.  I was way off on my timeline, and the kids just starred at me as if I had two heads on my shoulders. 

“Whoops!  I guess that was a little before your time.  What I meant to say was ‘More than a feeling’”   Their heads shot up.  Thank God they had heard of the group “Boston”!    

This is what I told them.

Well, feelings are fine, but they are not as essentials to our faith as the facts of our faith.  And so if we want to get to know the Lord better, then we better get our facts (and faith) straight. 

What are some of the facts.

Fact: The Lord came into the world for us.  Fact: He preached for us.  Fact: He even lived and died for us. Fact: He rose from the dead. Fact: He forgave our sins and now insists that we forgive those who trespass against us. Fact: He gave us a new commandment:  ‘love one another as I have loved you.’  Fact: He gave us his body and blood to eat and drink. Fact: He insists we give more of our selves to others. Fact: He put Peter in charge of His Church.

The Creed (along with religion classes) are an excellent resource to get to know the facts of our faith.  But facts will only take us so far.  We all know that if you want to learn how to drive, then you have to get behind the wheel.  Reading a drivers manual is simply not enough.  You need to have a driving experience. 

The same goes for the Lord.  If you want to get to know the Lord better in your life, then you need to experience His presence in your life; that is, you need to have a personal encounter with the Lord.  

Personal experience is more than a feeling.  It means witnessing firsthand what the Lord has done, and done for you.

Our Lord (and our faith) demands such experience, and this experience goes well beyond feelings.  In fact, it may actually contradict our “feelings.”

St. Paul put it best when he wrote (about his experiences with the Lord): ’It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me’ (cf. Gal 2:20). 

How do we get an experience of the Lord?  Take His Life and live it. (6)

It’s the Little (Liturgical) Things

This is a syndicated post from The Chant Café. [Read the original article...]

One of the Holy Father’s constant themes in his daily homilies is Christian joy. True Christians, according to Pope Francis, radiate joy. They cannot help themselves–it is an inevitable result of the encounter with Christ. This teaching is deeply scriptural, particularly in the letters of St. Paul, and in the teachings of saints such as St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila.

This Easter I’ve been thinking a lot about the various liturgical remembrances that foster joy for me personally. This morning at the daily Mass, for example, the priest decided to say the Easter sequence, which is an option every day of the octave in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. For me, little special moments like this feel like a breath of fresh air, or like a dewy spring morning, or like a loving smile.

Sometimes it may seem like liturgists are hung up on rules and regulations: “You MUST sing the proper introit! You MUST begin the Communion chant at the priest’s Communion!” I can understand why these things might seem irrelevant to the Christian life. However, for me personally, they are not constricting rules, but guidance that leads to joy and freedom. I often wish I had more of the consoling contact that comes from the beautiful liturgical words that slip by so quickly even if we note them, and take them in hand, and ponder them through the day.

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History Teacher – Benedictine College Preparatory (Richmond, VA)

This is a syndicated post from CatholicJobs.com. [Read the original article...]

HISTORY TEACHER
Education: Middle/High School, FT Employee
Benedictine College Preparatory (Richmond, VA)

Benedictine College Preparatory is looking for a part-time or full-time History teacher for the 2014-2015 school year. Teachers are expected to support all aspects of the Benedictine education, keep accurate lesson plans and grade book, attend mandatory school events, and prepare conceptual lessons that include review of foundational knowledge, a structured presentation of new concepts, and varied assessment methods to gauge student understanding. The preferred candidate will have experience in teaching, enthusiasm for youth, and enjoy a single-sex Christian environment. If interested, please e-mail cover letter and resume to Michael Bumbulsky, Associate Headmaster, at [email protected] (4)

Vatican Spokesmen Urge Caution in Evaluating Pope’s Phone Call to Woman Living With Divorced Man

This is a syndicated post from ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome. [Read the original article...]

Various news sources are reporting that Pope Francis has told an Argentine woman who has been civilly married to a divorced man for 19 years that she can receive Holy Communion. Allegedly, Jaqui Lisbona of Saint Lawrence, Argentina, had written a letter to the Holy Father after her pastor denied her from receivin…

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Doubts Increase Over Pope’s Reported Phone Call on Divorce-Remarried Communion

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By CNA/EWTN NEWS | VATICAN CITY — Media frenzy over an alleged phone call Pope Francis made to a divorced and remarried woman allowing her to receive Communion has seen a rise in conflicting details — and has been lamented by the Vatican as causing… (7)

Popes Exhibit Prophetic Vision, Care for Others, Love of the Cross

This is a syndicated post from ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome. [Read the original article...]

John Paul II and John XXII were characterized by their prophetic vision for the future, their love for others, and their willingness to embrace the cross. This according to Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, director of the Institute for continuing Theological Education and adjunct spiritual advisor at Rome’s Pontifical…

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John Paul II: Principal Teacher for Our Time

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By FATHER RAYMOND J. DE SOUZA | In interviews during the mid-1990s with George Weigel for the definitive biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger identified two distinguishing characteristics of John Paul’s… (9)

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