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Reflections: The Saints (Misc.)

St. Patrick

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Misc. / Saints



Misc. / Saints

Also See: Saints (Topic Page)

"The saints should be counted among your best friends."

"You have only one chance to become a saint."

"God, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and saints are about our path; they are at our side and see all we do." (St. John Vianney)

"If we possessed a real penetrating faith like the saints we should see our Lord like they did." (St. John Vianney)

"The saints were only sanctified by their great care to follow the inspirations God sent them." (St. John Vianney)

"The heart of the saints is as steadfast as a rock in the midst of the sea." (St. John Vianney)

"[A]s they served Him, so also He will serve them." (St. Theophylact)

"The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are not the ministers but the saints." (Pope Paul VI)

"Come let us adore the Lord, the King of kings, for He is the crown of all the saints." (Invitatory)

"How true it is that there is no glory here on earth which can bear comparison with that of the saints!" (Dom Gueranger)

"The life of a saint is just the imitation of Jesus Christ." (St. John Vianney)

"The saints have buried themselves alive in this life, that, after death, they may not find themselves buried in Hell for eternity." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"We depict Christ as our King and Lord, and we do not strip Him of His army. For the saints are the Lord's army." (St. John of Damascus, Doctor of the Church)

"Sanctity alone merits crowns that endure through all ages of time and for all eternity; for God is the final awarder." (Liturgical Year)

"Let all our earnest desires tend to this: that we may be united with the saints, that together with them we may possess Christ." (St. Cyprian)

"Oh! How glorious is the kingdom, where all the saints rejoice with Christ; clothed in white robes, they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth!" (Antiphon)

"If the saints were asked: 'Why are you in heaven?', they would answer: 'For having listened to the Holy Spirit.'" (St. John Vianney)

"The saints in heaven resemble the angels as to their share of glory, but not as to the conditions of their nature" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Let us recollect that the saints were not of a more excellent nature than ours, but were more orderly and regular: that they were not exempt from sins, but that they took pains to correct their faults." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]n the future coming the Saints will have complete rest; for here they have not rest for the body, but there together with their souls their spiritual bodies partaking of immortality will rejoice in perfect rest." (St. Theophylact)

"Glory be to thee, O good Jesus, both now and for ever; for thou faithfully assistest them that fight the good fight, and rewardest the valiant victor with a crown." (Fourteenth Century Hymn)

"We understand it simply, that every saint who is already with the Lord is greater than he who yet stands in the battle; for it is one thing to have gained the crown of victory, another to be yet fighting in the field." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he difference between the character she [the Church] produces in her saints and the character of the noblest of those who do not submit to her is one of kind and not merely of degree." (Benson)

"The bodies of the saints will therefore rise again free from every defect, from every deformity, and from every corruption, encumbrance, or hindrance. In this way their freedom of action will be as complete as their happiness." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The saints in Heaven love God perfectly. In what, I ask, does the perfection of their love consist? It consists in an entire conformity to the divine will... The accomplishment of the divine will has been the sole end of the saints in the practice of all virtues." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"Blessed are all your saints, my God and King! Who have through travail and in peace of soul all traveled within the ship with you, the tempestuous sea of mortality, and have, at last, made the desired port of peace and of felicity!" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is much more acceptable to God for a man to think of the greatness of his own sins, and how little he is advanced in virtue, and at how great a distance he is from the perfection of the saints, than to dispute which of them is greater or less." (Kempis)

"Hence it belongs to piety to honor the saints, and not to contradict the Scriptures whether one understands them or not, as Augustine says (De Doctrina Christiana ii" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The saints have been traditionally honored in the Church, and their authentic relics and images held in veneration. For the feasts of the saints proclaim the wonderful works of Christ in his servants and offer to the faithful fitting examples for their imitation." (Second Vatican Council)

"Many, who on hearing or reading the favors gratuitously granted to saintly souls are excited to a feeling of holy envy, would shrink back with dismay if they were told of the trials they had to go through before gaining such mystic ascensions." (Liturgical Year)

"But where did the saints find the courage and constancy to overcome themselves, to despise the world, renounce its pleasures and amusements, and endure heroically all the troubles and trials of this life? It was in the study of Jesus Christ crucified." (Muller)

"All the efforts, all the works and merits of the saints must be attributed to the praise and glory of God, because no one can please God with anything that is not His very own gift...all good things must be attributed to the source from which they proceed" (Indiculus, c. 435 - 442)

"Would that at the present day there were many more who cultivated these virtues as did the saints of former times, who by their humility, their obedience, their abstinence, were mighty in work and word, to the great benefit not only of religion but also of public and civil life." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Jesus is in the Church as the first fountain of grace; the Blessed Virgin is there as the channel through which graces are given to the faithful. The Saints are the streams which contain each one its portion of this same grace. All graces are in the fountain as their prime source." (St. John Eudes)

"The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by tremendous yearning." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"It is of the saints that Scripture says: 'The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and the torment of death shall not touch them' (Wis. 3:11). In fact, their death is more like dreaming than dying. God is life and light, and those who are in the hand of God are themselves life and light." (St. John of Damascus, Doctor of the Church)

"In that He says that the bundles of tares are to be cast into the fire (Mt. 13:30), and the wheat gathered into barns, it is clear that heretics also and hypocrites are to be consumed in the fires of hell, while the saints who are here represented by the wheat are received into the barns, that is into heavenly mansions." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"For all men of every condition, in whatever honorable walk of life they may be, can and ought to imitate that most perfect example of holiness placed before man by God, namely Christ Our Lord, and by God's grace to arrive at the summit of perfection, as is proved by the example set us of many saints." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"...we worship and adore the Creator and Maker alone, as God who by His nature is to be worshipped. We worship [that is give great honor] also to the Holy Mother of God, not as God, but as God's mother according to the flesh. Moreover we worship [honor] also the saints, as elect friends of God, and as having gotten ready audience with Him." (St. John of Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

"The prophets also do we love, because they too have announced the gospel; and they hoped in Him and awaited Him. In Him and by their faith in Him they were saved, being united to Jesus Christ. They are saints worthy of love and worthy of admiration, approved by Jesus Christ and numbered together in the gospel of the common hope." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

 "Let us, children of the Church, love and practice devotion to the saints, and remember how God, who demands our homage, requires us to pay that portion of it which consists in honoring Him in those whom He has crowned. Now the first homage which we ought to pay to God in His saints is, to study to know them. One of the evils of our times is, that the saints are not sufficiently known" (Dom Gueranger)

"Gregory argues as follows (Dialogorum iv,25): 'If there is no doubt that Christ is in heaven, it cannot be denied that Paul's soul is in heaven likewise.' Now it cannot be gainsaid that Christ is in heaven, since this is an article of faith. Therefore neither is it to be denied that the souls of the saints are borne to heaven." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]here are certain goods which man cannot ill use, because they cannot have an evil result. Such are those which are the object of beatitude and whereby we merit it: and these the saints seek absolutely when they pray, as in Psalm 80:3, 'Show us Thy face, and we shall be saved,' and again in Psalm 119:35, 'Lead me into the path of Thy commandments.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"These are they whom the world in its folly abhorred; while they, the faithful followers of thy name, O Jesus, merciful King of the heavenly citizens, despised the world as barren and devoid of fruits and flowers. For thy sake they scorned the rage of men, their savage threats and cruel stripes: the fiercely rending hook, vanquished by their courage, left the brave heart untouched." (Liturgical Year, Hymn)

"Because that life eternal shall be equal to all the saints, a denarius is given to all (Mt. 20); but forasmuch as in that life eternal the light of merits shall shine diversely, there are with the Father many mansions; so that under this same denarius bestowed unequally one shall not live longer than another, but in the many mansions one shall shine with more splendor than another." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"He who pretends to admire the good works of a saint must at the same time admire the homage and love due to God. Therefore either imitate that which you praise or do not permit yourself to praise that which you do not care to imitate. He who admires the good works of the saints must also distinguish himself by the holiness of his own life." (Roman Breviary, 7th of November, Lesson IV)

"Can. 1186 To foster the sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial veneration of Christ's faithful the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, the Mother of God, whom Christ constituted the Mother of all. The Church also promotes the true and authentic cult of the other Saints, by whose example the faithful are edified and by whose intercession they are supported." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1278 Likewise laudably, those things being observed that ought to be observed, there should be selected Saints for nations, dioceses, provinces, confraternities, and other religious families and moral persons and places so that, with assenting confirmation of the Apostolic See, they are constituted patrons; but not so with Blesseds without a special indult for same from the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1277 § 1 It is licit to venerate with public cult only those Servants of God who are listed by the authority of the Church among the Saints or Blesseds. § 2 The cult of dulia is owed [to those] canonically listed in the book of the Saints; listed Saints can [have this dulia] everywhere and by any cultic acts of this sort; but Blesseds cannot [have this] except in the place and manner that the Roman Pontiff grants." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1255 § 1 To the most Holy Trinity and to each of its Persons [and] to Christ the Lord, even under the sacramental species, there is owed the worship of latria; to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the cult of hyperdulia; and to the others reigning with Christ in heaven, the cult of dulia. § 2 Also to sacred relics and images there is a veneration and a cult owed to the respective persons to whom the images and relics refer." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The Church is most successful in this work of sanctification when it is possible for her, through the mercy of God, to hold up to the imitation of the faithful one or other of her dearest children who has made himself conspicuous by the practice of every virtue. This work of sanctification is of the very genius of the Church, since she was made by Christ, her Founder, not only holy herself but the source of holiness in others." (Pope Pius XI, "Rerum Omnium Perturbationem", 1923 A.D.)

"Although it is the custom of the Church occasionally to celebrate some Masses in honor and in memory of the saints the Church teaches that sacrifice is offered not to the saints, but to God alone who has given them their crown. Therefore, 'the priest does not say: 'I offer this sacrifice [of the Mass] to you, Peter and Paul', but giving thanks to God for the victories of the saints, the priest implores their help that they may pray for us in heaven, while we remember them on earth." (Council of Trent)

"To every age has He been made manifest to us as obedient even unto death; in every age the apostle's dictum has its force: 'Those who are Christ's have crucified their flesh with its vices and concupiscences.' Would to God that more nowadays practiced these virtues in the degree of the saints of past times, who in humility, obedience and self-restraint were powerful 'in word and in deed' - to the great advantage not only of religion, but of the state and the public welfare." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae", 1899 A.D.)

"Gregory proposes and solves this very difficulty (Dialogorum iv,25): 'If then,' he says, 'the souls of the just are in heaven now, what will they receive in reward for their justice on the judgment day?' And he answers: 'Surely it will be a gain to them at the judgment, that whereas now they enjoy only the happiness of the soul, afterwards they will enjoy also that of the body, so as to rejoice also in the flesh wherein they bore sorrow and torments for the Lord.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When we read the lives of the saints, and find that persons who were in the ordinary walks of life practiced extraordinary virtues, we are inclined to think that they were not exposed to great temptations, or that the misfortunes they met up with in the world made them give themselves up unreservedly to God's service. Such interpretations of the actions of the saints are shallow and false, for they ignore this great fact, that there is no condition or state, however humble, in which man has not to combat the evil inclinations of his heart, and that corrupt nature alone is strong enough to lead him into sin." (Dom Gueranger)

"Many measuring the commandments of God by their own weakness, not by the strength of the saints, hold these commands for impossible, and say that it is virtue enough not to hate our enemies; but to love them is a command beyond human nature to obey. But it must be understood that Christ enjoins not impossibilities but perfection. Such was the temper of David towards Saul and Absalom; the Martyr Stephen also prayed for his enemies while they stoned him, and Paul wished himself anathema for the sake of his persecutors. Jesus both taught and did the same, saying, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"What good, then, am I doing in that I do not consent to wicked concupiscence? I do good, and I do not perfect the good; and my enemy, concupiscence, does evil, and it does not perfect the evil. How do I do good, and not perfect the good? I do good when I do not consent to wicked concupiscence; but I do not perfect the good, so as to be entirely without concupiscence. Again, therefore, how does my enemy do evil, and yet not perfect the evil. He does evil because he moves me to evil desire; but he does not perfect the evil because he does not drag me to the evil. And the whole life of the saints is involved in that war." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"Or; The Master of the household, that is, our Maker, has a vineyard, that is, the Church universal, which has borne so many stocks, as many saints as it has put forth from righteous Abel to the very last saint who shall be born in the end of the world. To instruct this His people as for the dressing of a vineyard, the Lord has never ceased to send out His laborers; first by the Patriarchs, next by the teachers of the Law, then by the Prophets, and at the last by the Apostles, He has toiled in the cultivation of His vineyard; though every man, in whatsoever measure or degree he has joined good action with right faith, has been a laborer in the vineyard." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"That we with equal zeal may tread the footprints of the saints, the Church proposes to our contemplation their life and actions. She offers us the rose, the violet, and the lily: emblems of the triple way leading to the heavenly reward. The rose by its ruby color signifies the martyrs; the violet's purple flower the confessors. The lily proclaims the lover of virginity: by these three ways, then, must we follow our God. Let true patience make us suffer as martyrs; and by continual abstinence let us be confessors. May constant purity preserve us virgins; but if any have fallen, courageous continence will save them. May the saints, whose feast we celebrate, come to our assistance; that by their intercession we may be enabled to attain the heights of heaven. Amen." (Sequence)

"We have lauded this affectionate solicitude for the people and declared it to be the special duty of both the secular and regular clergy. But in the fulfillment of this obligation let there be the greatest caution and prudence exerted, and let it be done after the fashion of the saints. Francis, who was poor and humble, Vincent of Paul, the father of the afflicted classes, and very many others whom the Church keeps ever in her memory were wont to lavish their care upon the people, but in such wise as not to be engrossed overmuch or to be unmindful of themselves or to let it prevent them from laboring with the same assiduity in the perfection of their own soul and the cultivation of virtue." (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901 A.D.)

"The Faithful should, therefore, understand that the Church keeps an official register of the actions, and maximums, and virtues of the saints, who are her glory; there she has chronicled, through all these [many centuries], the wonders which God has wrought in them and by them, and the blessings she has received through their intercession. This admirable history of the saints is known under the name of 'the Legends of the Breviary'; a history which the Church is ever writing, for God is ever adding to the number of His saints: a history which the learned admire for its great beauty of style, and in which the children of the Church find that unction which has such power over the heart, and which the Catholic Church alone can put into human language." (Dom Gueranger)

"How consoling it is to see a just man die! His death is good, because it ends his miseries; it is better still, because he begins a new life; it is excellent, because it places him in sweet security. From this bed of mourning, whereon he leaves a precious load of virtues, he goes to take possession of the true land of the living, Jesus acknowledges him as His brother and as His friend, for he has died to the world before closing his eyes from its dazzling light. Such is the death of the saints, a death very precious in the sight of God. But, on the other hand, see how shocking is the death of the wicked. The least evil is the loss of all the good things of this world; the separation of body and soul is more dreadful still, but the worst of all is the devouring flame, the gnawing worm that never dies." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable [Eucharistic] Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honor of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered - in accordance with an apostolic tradition - for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions." (Pope Leo XIII, "Mirae Caritatis", 1902 A.D.)

"True miracles cannot be wrought save by the power of God, because God works them for man's benefit, and this in two ways: in one way for the confirmation of truth declared, in another way in proof of a person's holiness, which God desires to propose as an example of virtue... In the second way miracles are not wrought except by the saints, since it is in proof of their holiness that miracles are wrought during their lifetime or after death, either by themselves or by others. For we read (Acts 19:11,12) that 'God wrought by the hand of Paul... miracles' and 'even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs... and the diseases departed from them.' In this way indeed there is nothing to prevent a sinner from working miracles by invoking a saint; but the miracle is ascribed not to him, but to the one in proof of whose holiness such things are done." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Penance then is, as it were, a salutary weapon placed in the hands of the valiant soldiers of Christ, who wish to fight for the defense and restoration of the moral order in the universe. It is a weapon that strikes right at the root of all evil, that is at the lust of material wealth and the wanton pleasures of life. By means of voluntary sacrifices, by means of practical and even painful acts of self-denial, by means of various works of penance, the noble-hearted Christian subdues the base passions that tend to make him violate the moral order. But if zeal for the divine law and brotherly love are as great in him as they should be, then not only does he practice penance for himself and his own sins, but he takes upon himself the expiation of the sins of others, imitating the Saints who often heroically made themselves victims of reparation for the sins of whole generations, imitating even the divine Redeemer, who became the Lamb of God 'who taketh away the sins of the world' (lo. i. 29)." (Pope Pius XI, "Caritate Christi Compulsi", 1932 A.D.)

"Yet the Lord bids us pray for our persecutors... Stephen prays for those that stoned him, because they had not yet believed in Christ; but the Apostle Paul does not pray for Alexander though he was a brother, but had sinned by attacking the brotherhood through jealousy. But for whom you pray not, you do not therein pray against him. What must we say then of those against whom we know that the saints have prayed, and that not that they should be corrected (for that would be rather to have prayed for them), but for their eternal damnation; not as that prayer of the Prophet against the Lord's betrayer, for that is a prophecy of the future, not an imprecation of punishment; but as when we read in the Apocalypse the Martyrs' prayer that they may be avenged. But we ought not to let this affect us. For who may dare to affirm that they prayed against those persons themselves, and not against the kingdom of sin? For that would be both a just and a merciful avenging of the Martyrs, to overthrow that kingdom of sin, under the continuance of which they endured all those evils. And it is overthrown by correction of some, and damnation of such as abide in sin. Does not Paul seem to you to have avenged Stephen on his on his own body, as he speaks, I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

"In the course of the liturgical year, besides the mysteries of Jesus Christ, the feasts of the saints are celebrated. Even though these feasts are of a lower and subordinate order, the Church always strives to put before the faithful examples of sanctity in order to move them to cultivate in themselves the virtues of the divine Redeemer. We should imitate the virtues of the saints just as they imitated Christ, for in their virtues there shines forth under different aspects the splendor of Jesus Christ. Among some of these saints the zeal of the apostolate stood out, in others courage prevailed even to the shedding of blood, constant vigilance marked others out as they kept watch for the divine Redeemer, while in others the virginal purity of soul was resplendent and their modesty revealed the beauty of Christian humility; there burned in all of them the fire of charity towards God and their neighbor. The sacred liturgy puts all these gems of sanctity before us so that we may consider them for our salvation, and 'rejoicing at their merits, we may be inflamed by their example.' It is necessary, then, to practice 'in simplicity innocence, in charity concord, in humility modesty, diligence in government, readiness in helping those who labor, mercy in serving the poor, in defending truth constancy, in the strict maintenance of discipline justice, so that nothing may be wanting in us of the virtues which have been proposed for our imitation. These are the footprints left by the saints in their journey homeward, that guided by them we might follow them into glory.' In order that we may be helped by our senses, also, the Church wishes that images of the saints be displayed in our churches, always, however, with the same intention 'that we imitate the virtues of those whose images we venerate.' But there is another reason why the Christian people should honor the saints in heaven, namely, to implore their help and 'that we be aided by the pleadings of those whose praise is our delight.' Hence, it is easy to understand why the sacred liturgy provides us with many different prayers to invoke the intercession of the saints." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

Also See: Saint Facts | Honoring & Intercession of the Saints | Prayers to Saints / Prayers in Honor of the Saints | Prayers of the Saints

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* Saints (Topic Page)

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