Catholicism: the Reason for My Hope Part VI

The Saints and the Mystics of the Church

What are saints but the heroes of faith? They are declared by the Church to be holy men and women who led heroic lives to keep themselves in the state of holiness or in some cases gave their lives to defend their faith; those faithful martyrs. They are the few who are the rarest of humans; who dared to attempt in this life what Christ challenged His followers to do, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.”[1] Though they fell over and over in life, most of these men and women came as close as we could ever dream, to doing just what Christ had asked of us: reaching spiritual perfection.

The Catholic Church gives the proper veneration and honor to these heroes of the faith. As the world gives honor to its heroes, the Church gives honor to Hers. Our Catholic children have the most proper and appropriate heroes to hold in esteem and to guide their lives.

To become a saint is not a simple matter because the Church requires of God his stamp of approval, His seal of authenticity if you will, on the heroic nature of any declared saint of the Catholic Church. Each must have at least one miracle attributed to them before their death and another attributed to their intercession after their death. Now that is a tall order but God is up to the task, having stamped His approval on a multitude of saintly heroes over the course of these 2000 years. They have been ratified by their miracles and in some cases by the miracle of becoming incorruptible; that is, their body does not decay after death.

The biographies of these individuals and their own spiritual writings have given us a library of valuable spiritual help and encouragement. No other church has so many spiritual heroes to draw upon. Their stories give us encouragement in facing trials and what to do when we fail those trials. Their prayers help us fashion our prayers to God, leaving our needs in His hands while praising Him and praying for others. They are the warriors in the spiritual battles against evil in this world and have shaped countries, continents and the history of our Church. They have taught us how to teach the faith by living the faith as it was meant to be lived.

These are the people who walk this earth as other Christ’s; “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me.”[2] They effectively, “. . . put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.”[3] They are what we are all supposed to aspire to in the Christian life. They fought the good fight and ran the good race having persevered to the end and winning the crown. God loves a saint.

As Scott Hahn has said, the best way to honor an artist is admire his art. In this way God is honored when we give honor to those who are His finest handiwork of human beings. And how much more true is this of Mary, the Mother of God; The Saint among saints. She is the singular boast of our broken nature. Only she, among the history of man was found worthy to be spared the stain of original sin, won for her by the grace of Christ’s redeeming death, at the moment of her conception; she who is ever-virgin and sinless and stainless though she possessed a human nature. She was chosen by God before all ages and she gave her will entirely over to His request. She is a singularity and God is pleased when we give her the heightened honor that she deserves. For she is God’s finest handiwork of the human creature; it is to honor her to praise God for His gift of her to mankind. Without her yes, where would we now be? Would we still be awaiting the Messiah and someone who might be worthy to bear Him, care for Him and protect Him as an infant? We need not worry of such things for she used Her will to do only His will. Hail Mary, full (not just partially filled) of (God’s) grace.

The mystical saints are the few who have tried to explain to us what is unexplainable. They try to speak the unspeakable, and describe the indescribable. However mystical are their writings, one gets a sense of the mysteries that are revealed to those who are so disposed to seek God through mystical prayer. Their writings are so sublime that they fill the reader’s soul with joy and grace. You, as a reader, know that you are listening to someone who truly spoke to God and what an indescribable grace it is to see Christ through such a thin veil. They are a rare breed who reaches the level of mystical prayer which is described as spiritual union: the marriage of their souls to Christ’s. It is a bliss filled encounter that transforms these saints into love itself, just as God is Love Himself. Their writings serve as a proof that the God of our prayers is truly God and truly present to us. No protestant church has such sublime heroes to lead them to an assurance so gratifying to the ordinary soul.

So now you have my reasons for hope in Christ as found through the intellect and through the spirit. They were all delivered to me via the Holy Catholic Church who is now and will remain forever the Mystical Body of Christ (with Christ as Her head) and the future Bride of the Bridegroom (with Christ as the Head of the espoused pair). Our human marriages only reflect the Wedding Feast of Heaven where the Church becomes one with Christ: like our earthly weddings, “two in one flesh.”[4]


[1] Matthew 5:48

[2] Galatians 2:20

[3] Ephesians 4:24

[4] Genesis 2:24

14 thoughts on “Catholicism: the Reason for My Hope Part VI

  1. What a lovely conclusion to a wonderful series my friend – and how right to bring in Our Mother, who so often gets missed out when we talk about Saints – but she is the foremost among them. Thank you for this series, I have really profited for reading it, and I am sure others have too🙂

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  2. I’ll mirror Jessica’s comments; this was a great series, thanks for writing it. You have been prolific the last few days; I haven’t read your blog since Thursday night or Friday morning, and I had a bit of catching up to do this morning.

    Couple of comments/questions:

    Is there a text you recommend on the history of the Catholic Church? I would learn more of the history of our Holy Mother Church.

    It is indeed sad that Protestants are cut off from so much of the Christian faith. We have all the Holy Fathers, all the Saints, all the Sacraments, and much more, to teach us and give us strength in our faith. The average Protestant would be doing good to name just one famous minister or inspired person of faith from before he was born. They could maybe tell you of Luther or Calvin, but not of any details.

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    • Here’s a couple of other entries to consider on history: The Catholic Church,The First 2000 Years by Martha Rasmussen, Ignatius Press

      Fr. John Laux’s “Church History.” It’s published by Tan. I think they are both easily available.

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      • Thanks for the recommendations. I looked them both up on Amazon, and plan to pick up Martha Rasmussen’s book…hopefully from the library.

        In looking up her title, I came across a wealth of other titles, some of which I’ll have to check out. Have you read any of the books written by Diane Moczar? She has several titles that popped up while looking at the ones you mentioned, and they look like interesting and compelling reading. Of course, I don’t know whether or not they have the Imprimatur, and/or how sound they are, but on the surface, they look to be good reads.

        Sigh….I now have an greatly expanded reading list for the next year, including about ten books written by Pope Benedict XVI. The series he’s written on important Church figures, “Holy Women”, “Doctors Of The Church”, and others, are at the top of the list.

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        • I know Diane’s name but I must tell you my memory of all the reading I did in the past is fading with age. Now, I’ve kept the meat of what I read stored someplace, but the specifics I usually can’t pull up. You can’t go wrong reading all the stuff you can by our Pope. He is an insightful theologian. Just read them slowly and let them marinate a bit.

          Sounds like you’re going to be busy for a while.🙂

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  3. Thanks. As far as history goes, I would start with this article on New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07365a.htm

    You cannot go wrong on anything written by Hillaire Belloc. As far as a comprehensive History of the Church, many recent entries that I have seen are pretty abysmal. Anything from Tan Publishers, Ignatius Press, Roman Catholic Books or the old publishers of Sheed and Ward will be authentic history and authentic Catholicism. There are other publishers as well but this should get you started.

    Yes, I too was just overwhelmed by the depth of the Catholic faith: the saints the mystical theology, moral theology that is simply missing on the most part from any other denomination. Not only that, our earliest historians, the Early Church Fathers, ratify our traditions. All of their works can be accessed on my Resources Tab. There is so much to read out there! 🙂

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  4. That is lovely. I love the saints…they are amazing. I agree with what Jessica said, Mary does get left out, so it is good you thought to include her. Somehow she seems even holier than a saint…the title “Mother of God” seems to raise her above that in a way, yet she is still a saint. Thank you for sharing.

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