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Reflections: Saints Section (Relics)

Relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

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Also See: Relics (Topic Page)

"Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they spied such a raiding band. So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet." (2 Kgs. 13:21)

"So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them." (Acts 19:11-12)

"The miracles wrought by these dry bones prove, says St. Augustine, that they are not really dead." (Liturgical Year)

"Veneration ought to be shown by the faithful to the bodies of the martyrs and other saints, who live with Jesus Christ. For they were His living members and the temples of the Holy Ghost; he will raise them up again to eternal life and glory; and through them God grants many blessings to mankind. Therefore, those who say that the relics of the saints are not worthy of veneration, that it is useless for the faithful to honor them, that it is vain to visit them memorials or monuments of the saints in order to obtain their aid, are absolutely to be condemned; and, as they have already been long ago condemned, the Church now condemns them once more." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1276 It is good and useful suppliantly to invoke the Servants of God reigning together with Christ and to venerate their relics and images; but before the others, all the faithful shall follow the Blessed Virgin Mary with filial devotion." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The dead body of a saint is not identical with that which the saint had during life, on account of the difference of form, viz. the soul: but it is the same by identity of matter, which is destined to be reunited to its form." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1281 § 1 Important relics or precious images and likewise other relics or images that are honored in some church with a great veneration of the people cannot validly be alienated or perpetually transferred to another church without the permission of the apostolic See. § 2 The important relics of the Saints or Blesseds are the body, head, arm, forearm, heart, tongue, hand, leg, or other part of the body that suffered in a martyr, provided it is intact and is not little." (1917 Code of Canon Law) 

"Can. 1282 § 1 Important relics of the Saints and the Blesseds cannot be preserved in buildings or private oratories without express permission of the local Ordinary. § 2 Non-important relics can be preserved with due honor even in private houses and carried about piously by the faithful." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Moreover, in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished; finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust; nor the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics be by any perverted into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honor of the saints by luxury and wantonness." (Council of Trent)

"Let your charity understand it is not to Stephen we raise an altar in this place; but of Stephen's relics we make an altar to God. God loves these altars; and if you ask the reason: 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' (Ps. cxv.15) In obedience to God the invisible soul has quitted its visible dwelling. But God preserves this dwelling; He is glorified by the honor we pay to this lifeless flesh; and, clothing it with the might of His divinity, He gives it the power of working miracles." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"We keep through every age their bodies decently enshrined, as most precious pledges; vessels of benediction, the organs of their blessed souls, the tabernacles of their holy minds. We put ourselves under their protection. The martyrs defend the church, as soldiers guard a citadel. The people flock in crowds from all quarters, and keep great festivals to honor their tombs. All who labor under the heavy load of afflictions fly to them for refuge. We employ them as intercessors in our prayers and suffrages. In these refuges the hardships of poverty are eased, diseases cured, the threats of princes appeased." (St. Asterius)

"Jerome replies (Ep. 109 ad Ripar.): 'We do not adore, I will not say the relics of the martyrs, but either the sun or the moon or even the angels' - that is to say, with the worship of latria. But we honor the martyrs' relics, so that thereby we give honor to Him Whose martyrs they are: 'we honor the servants, that the honor shown to them may reflect on their Master.' Consequently, by honoring the martyrs' relics we do not fall into the error of the Gentiles, who gave the worship of latria to dead men." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Who does not recognize the power of Jesus' Resurrection in the love and enthusiasm wherewith a whole people welcome your holy relics, O martyrs of the living God? Fifteen hundred years had elapsed and yet your lifeless remains were greeted with a transport of joy, as though you yourselves were there, and living. It was because we Christians know that Jesus, who is the first born of the dead (Apoc. i 5), has risen from the grave; and that you, like him, are one day to rise in glory. Therefore do the faithful honor by anticipation the immortality which, at a future period, is to be given to your bodies, once slain for Jesus' sake: they already see by faith the future brightness which is to be imparted to your flesh; and thus they proclaim the dignity which the Redemption has given to man, to whom death is now but a transition to true life, and the tomb but a resting-place where the body is consigned, as seed to the earth, to be restored in a hundredfold richer beauty." (Don Gueranger)

"It is written (De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xl): 'We believe that the bodies of the saints, above all the relics of the blessed martyrs, as being the members of Christ, should be worshiped in all sincerity': and further on: 'If anyone holds a contrary opinion, he is not accounted a Christian, but a follower of Eunomius and Vigilantius.' ... As Augustine says (De Civitate Dei i,13): 'If a father's coat or ring, or anything else of that kind, is so much more cherished by his children, as love for one's parents is greater, in no way are the bodies themselves to be despised, which are much more intimately and closely united to us than any garment; for they belong to man's very nature.' It is clear from this that he who has a certain affection for anyone, venerates whatever of his is left after his death, not only his body and the parts thereof, but even external things, such as his clothes, and such like. Now it is manifest that we should show honor to the saints of God, as being members of Christ, the children and friends of God, and our intercessors. Wherefore in memory of them we ought to honor any relics of theirs in a fitting manner: principally their bodies, which were temples, and organs of the Holy Ghost dwelling and operating in them, and are destined to be likened to the body of Christ by the glory of the Resurrection. Hence God Himself fittingly honors such relics by working miracles at their presence." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Relics (Church Talk Reflections) | Communion of the Saints | Altars (Church Talk Reflections) | Saint Facts | Honoring & Intercession of the Saints | Prayers to Saints / Prayers in Honor of the Saints | Martyrs / Martyrdom

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