10 Quotes on Sainthood from the Saints

Today in the Catholic Church we celebrate one of the great solemnities of the year – The Solemnity of All Saints. It is the solemnity that focuses on all the unknown saints who are now in Heaven. Since holiness is reachable by all and the call to be holy is given to us at our Baptism, it is through the Communion of Saints that each piece of the Mystical Body of Christ assists every other to grow and seek holiness.

Although today is about All Saints, particularly the unknown saints, below are 10 quotes about Sainthood from some of the more well-known Canonized Saints in the Catholic Church –

1. “We can, if we will, become a saint, for God will never refuse to help us to do so.” – St. John Vianney

2. “What saint has ever won his crown without first contending for it? – St. Jerome

3. “Let us become saints so that after having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.” – St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

4. “After seven years in the religious life, I still am weak and imperfect. I always feels, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I don’t count on my merits since I have none, but I trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness.” – St. Therese of Lisieux

5. “The saints live not after the fashion of the world…The dignity of the saints is so great because they are not of this world, but ‘of the household of God.’” – St. Thomas Aquinas

6. “One should not wish to become a saint in four days but step by step.” – St. Philip Neri

7. “A saint was once asked, while playing happily with his companions, what he would do if any angel told him that in a quarter of an hour he would die and have to appear before the judgment seat of God. The saint properly replied that he would continue playing because I am certain these games are pleasing to God.” – St. John Bosco

8. “Though you have recourse to many saints as your intercessors, go especially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God.” – St. Teresa of Avila

9. “All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most saintly.” – St. Francis de Sales

10. “The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.:” – St. Anthony of Padua

All Holy Men and Women of God…Pray for Us 

Mother Angelica’s Insights on the Saints

Today we celebrate one of the great days in the Catholic Church – the Solemnity of All Saints. It is also the first All Saints’ Day when Mother Angelica could be a resident of the Heavenly Kingdom. I say could be since she might be there or still making her way there, but nevertheless, for today’s blog post and the humor that lies within some of these quotes from her, we will say that she is there. And, if she isn’t there by now, God help the rest of us. Ha!

If you don’t know, Mother Angelica was pretty hard on the Saints, particularly the Apostles of Jesus. And although she had a great love for the Saints and wanted everyone she encountered to achieve sanctity as they did, she didn’t sugarcoat their lives, since many of their lives were just like ours – they suffered, they sinned, and they were just miserable at times. She would often speak her mind on the saints, so often she knew that when she did get to Heaven they might have a special place for her. She said,

“I love to pick the saints apart, but I fear there’ll have to be a solitary confinement in heaven, just for me. I’ve been telling the truth about the saints for so many years, nobody will want to talk to me when I get up there.”

I don’t know about you, but that quote made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. Come to think of it, it should have been included in my first blog post about her. With that being said, I am so glad that she told us the truth, the weaknesses, and the shortcomings of the saints for so many years, since it gives me hope that I have a chance “to get up there” someday too.

So for today’s blog post on the Solemnity of All Saints, here are 10 quotes from Mother Angelica on the Saints – some are funny, some will give us hope, and some will allow us to see that the saintly life isn’t all that far from where we are now.

I.  “A saint is one who empties himself and takes on the image of Jesus, so that person and Jesus are look-alikes. We should not aim to be a great saint for the purpose of being a great saint. A saint is the last to admit or know that he is a saint [boldness mine]. A saint’s goal is to get as close to God as he can, not for his sake, for His sake. The aim is to give honor and glory to God, and to totally forget the self.”

II. “Being a saint is being who you were meant to be: a frail human being keeping the Commandments, especially the last one. It’s loving when you are not loved in return. It’s being patient when you want to hit somebody on the head. It’s loving you family as they are, not as you want them to be. It’s not letting the disappointments in your life crush you.”

III. “Canonization is nothing more than the Church saying publicly that they know for sure that this person is in heaven. I mean, there are millions of people in heaven who are not canonized. That why we have All Saints’ Day…”

Communion of Saints Icon

Speaking on not finding saints like her since she like to eat, sleep, sit in bed, sit in comfortable chairs, Mother said,

IV. “But I came to the conclusion that the saints weren’t the problem, it was their biographers. I’ve often said that I wish every biographer of every saint, who did not depict the truth, would go to purgatory for forty years, because they have made the saints unreal. You’d swear these people were holy when they were conceived…the saints would be the first to tell you: they struggled like you do. They ate, and drank and slept, and were frustrated, and victims of injustice. They were like you!…they had their faults and eccentricities.”

V. “Our saints had faults. There’s only one Immaculate Conception and there ain’t any others.”

VI. “The saints suffered. Therese had tuberculosis. Teresa of Avila had cancer of the stomach. Padre Pio had perpetual diarrhea and asthma. Bernadette had asthma too. Mother Cabrini had high fever to malaria she contracted during her travels. Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement” [Boldness mine].

I particularly loved this quote by Mother because I can be grouchy and I’m Italian too –

VII. “Did you ever see a statue of grouchy state? I saw one once. It was the most gorgeous statue I ever saw. It was Padre Pio, who was a grouch, you know…he was a typical Italian grouch – which I can relate to!…See that’s my kind of saint. I want a saint who struggles like I do. There’s no such thing as perfection. There is only the struggle for holiness.”

VIII. [St. Peter] “was so holy that his shadow healed (Acts 5:15). Can you imagine a shadow healing? He was a big, blustery fisherman – just like you, without the fish. He was a man who always spoke before he thought. He was convinced he could do everything better than everybody else, then he forgot to do it. Peter should give us great hope.”

IX. “If you are going to be holy, for God’s sake, aim for the top. I wouldn’t aim to get in the gate. Your faults and weaknesses and sins have absolutely nothing to do with achieving holiness. Many a great sinner became holy.”

X. “I think these are times for great holiness and great saints, greater than any time in the past because there is more evil, more temptation. The fighter is greater…God is not mocked and this world is not going to pot. You can save it. You can change it by being faithful to the duties of your state of life with holiness.”

I pray that some, and even all, of these quotes have given you some hope in your striving for holiness and being saints – I know that have done so for me! One of the reasons why I like Mother Angelica is because of the plain way she speaks – straightforward, no nonsense, and she loves Jesus.

All Holy Saints of God…Pray for Us.

Source:

Angelica, M., and Raymond Arroyo. Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Communion of Saints

Today is the Solemnity of All Saints, the day we celebrate not only the canonized Saints of the Church, but all those unknown saints who are now in the Heavenly Kingdom. Holiness is within everyone’s reach and we all strive for it. We are called to Universal Holiness from the day of our Baptism to the day of our death. The Mystical Body of Christ grows in holiness through the help of the Communion of Saints.

With this being said, let us look quickly at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the Communion of Saints –

The Church is a “communion of saints”: this expression refers first to the “holy things” (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which “the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about” (LG 3). [#960]

The term “communion of saints” refers also to the communion of “holy persons” (sancti) in Christ who “died for all,” so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all. [#961]

“We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers” (Paul VI, CPG § 30) [#962]

For a more complete understanding of the Communion of Saints in the Catechism, I would suggest you also read paragraphs 954-959. If you want to learn more about the Canonized Saints of the Catholic Church, check out the many blog posts I have written on them in the category – Saints and Angels. You could also visit the Saints and Angels section on Catholic Online.

Communion of Saints Icon

All Holy Men and Women…Pray For Us.

The Universal Call to Holiness and Sainthood

As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, it’s important to reflect on the very fact that we are all called to live lives of holiness, just as the saints before us did. Today’s solemnity not only calls us to remember the canonized saints of the Church, but all those souls that have reach the Heavenly banquet and are in the presence of the Word Incarnate, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, we celebrate the Communion of Saints! The Communion of Saints are composed of us on Earth – the Saints Militant, those in Purgatory – the Saints Suffering, and the those in Heaven – the Saints Triumphant.

Every Christian is capable of becoming a saint. St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 – “you become imitators of us…you became a model for all believers.” The word saint comes from the Latin term, sanctus, which means holy. The process of becoming a saint and holy is known as sanctification. For all Christians, seeking sainthood is not an option, but an obligation! We are obligated to seek holiness and perfection. We may not attain it, but we must still try to reach it.

St. Paul

Our aim in life is to be holy in imitation of Jesus, who is all holy. He is our perfect model in all things, most especially in holiness. Again St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” The beautiful thing for each of us is that we have many great examples of holiness over the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church.

Holiness is an attribute of God that describes his complete separation of the profane. For us as human beings, holiness is looking and dedicating oneself to God. It’s being the best version we can be and living a life focused on God. The call to holiness comes from God for he is the source of all goodness. Being holy does not mean praying on your knees all day every day, its living our current lives for God and modeling our life after Jesus Christ and his Saints.

Mosaic Image of Jesus

So who is called to holiness in the Church and when are we called? All Christians are called to live lives of holiness. Our call to universal holiness begins at our Baptism, which gives us sanctifying grace, sharing in the life of God. Sanctifying grace assists us to share in the life of the Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When we are baptized, we are claimed by God and become his adopted sons and daughters. We enter into a filial (sonship) relationship with God. It is through the Sacrament of Baptism that we again are “bought back” from the sin of our first parents – Adam and Eve, when they fell from original holiness (term coined by Blessed John Paul II) into original sin. In Baptism, we received the Three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.

As noted above, God is the first to call us to holiness. All baptized people – laity, religious, and clergy, are called to universal holiness. As God’s chosen ones, people who strive to live lives of holiness, we must open our hearts to mercy, humility, kindness, meekness, and patience.

We will be recognized as followers of Jesus Christ when we align our wills with the will of God in both word and action; when we seek the will of God the Father in all things, this happens through a daily prayer life and having a good spiritual director/confessor; when we have a devotion to the glory of God; when we serve our neighbor before ourselves; and when we accept the crosses that are given to us by Jesus Christ. As Christians and followers of Christ, life will tough and suffering will occur, but we should offer up our suffering to save the souls of others. The greatest of the saints endured suffering as well. We should never get discouraged!

Bishop Thomas J. OlmstedMost Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, once said,

“Christ does not call us to be popular, or even successful. He calls us to take up the cross each day and follow him. There is only one ultimate failure in life: not to be a saint [italics mine]. Nothing else in life matters, compared to the treasure of Christ’s love.”

As we know, Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church with Saint Peter as the head. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride. With this understanding, the Church heeding the call of Jesus Christ calls us to live lives of holiness.

Holy Eucharist in MonstranceThe three means of holiness and the saintly life are the Sacraments, Spiritual Direction, and Spiritual Reading.First, although all the Sacraments are channels of grace, it is through Reconciliation, which reconciles our relationship with God when the relationship is severed (i.e. mortal sin), but also helps us to overcome sinful inclinations and avoid future sins. The Holy Eucharist, the greatest of all the Sacraments and the “source and summit of the Christian faith” [Lumen Gentium #11] gives us our daily bread and strengthens us with the grace of the Word Made Flesh, in the Holy Mass and outside of Mass in Holy Adoration.

The sacrament of reconciliation

Second, spiritual direction, which can occur within or outside of Confession, overcomes the habits of sin. A good spiritual director can help us grow in our faith by praying with us, showing us ways to pray, and helping us to discern God’s will in our lives. A spiritual director is like a coach who is there to help us to improve our spirituality.

Third, spiritual reading encompasses reading the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, The Lives of the Saints, The Office of Readings, and other works written by the Saints and other Catholic authors that lead us to know God more in our spiritual life.

So as we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, let us remember our own sanctity and the obligation we all have to become saints. St. Therese of Lisieux said, “You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”

Communion of Saints Icon

All Holy Men and Women in Heaven…Pray For Us!

What a Day to Become a Priest

On November 1, 1946, Karol Wojtyla was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Joining the “underground” seminary while the Nazi Empire still ruled Poland, Wojtyla knew his calling; his vocation was that of a Catholic priest. As many of you know, November 1, is the Solemnity of All Saints. This must have been a glorious day in the life of Karol Wojtyla and the other men ordained with him since it is the day the Church celebrates the lives of the many saints that lived lives of heroic virtue. One of the saints that impacted Wojtyla’s life is the great mystic – St. John of the Cross. St. John impacted his life so much that one of his two doctoral dissertations was written on his subject of faith.

After studying in Rome, he returned to Poland and was a parochial vicar (associate priest) of various parishes in Krakow as well as a chaplain to university students.  Since Catholic priests were forbidden to associate with university students, many of his students warmly called him “Uncle” instead of Fr. Wojtyla to protect him from the socialistic regime of Russia that occupied much of Eastern Europe. After more years of study and his second doctorate dissertation, he became a professor of Moral Theology and Social Ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin until he was ordained the Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow.

Even as Pope of the Catholic Church, Karol Wojtyla (Blessed John Paul II) loved being a Catholic priest. His great love for the Holy Eucharist was witnessed many times over during this 26-year pontificate. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and often taught on the Lives of the Saints. His impact on the Catholic Church and the priesthood will resound for decades to come.

In his Letter to Priests on Holy Thursday 2005, he says, “We priests are the celebrants, but also the guardians of this most sacred mystery. It is our relationship to the Eucharist that most clearly challenges us to lead a “sacred” life. This must shine forth from our whole way of being, but above all from the way we celebrate. Let us sit at the school of the saints! The Year of the Eucharist invites us to rediscover those saints who were vigorous proponents of Eucharistic devotion (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, 31).

Many beatified and canonized priests have given exemplary testimony in this regard, enkindling fervour among the faithful present at their celebrations of Mass. Many of them were known for their prolonged Eucharistic adoration. To place ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, to take advantage of our “moments of solitude” and to fill them with this Presence, is to enliven our consecration by our personal relationship with Christ, from whom our life derives its joy and its meaning.”

When I read this quote from Blessed John Paul II, it reminds me of the many great men, the new breed of holy priests; that are answering the call to sacrifice their lives for the Catholic Church. It’s a blessing to know so many here in the Diocese of Phoenix and to work for two that exemplify the words of Blessed John Paul II – Fr. Kilian McCaffrey and Fr. Chad King. May Blessed John Paul II, on this great solemnity of All Saints, intercede for our priests.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Saints and Popes on the Holy Rosary

Since this coming Thursday is the Solemnity of All Saints (November 1), this “Mondays with Mary” will conclude this month of the Holy Rosary with a post on what the saints and Popes have said about the Rosary and the Hail Mary. Don’t forget that this Thursday, All Saints Day, is a day of obligation for all Catholics. This is one of those days that we must go to Mass. We really should always want to go to Mass since the Holy Eucharist is the greatest source of God’s grace for us and it is the “source and summit” of our faith. Remind your family members and friends that this is important day for as Catholics since it’s a Holy Day of Obligation, but it is the day we celebrate the great Communion of Saints as well.

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, Arizona, the parish where I work (updated: haven’t worked here in over 2 years), is having Mass at 6:00 p.m. and then following Mass, Fr. Chad King, our Parochial Vicar, and myself will be presenting – “A Night with the Saints.” I hope to blog about our presentation and tell you about the saints we discussed on that night. They are some good ones!

Without further a due, I present the Saints and Popes on the Holy Rosary –

St. Francis de Sales (pictured to the left) said, “the greatest method of prayer is praying the Rosary.”

40 straight days in Rome, Italy, St. Thomas Aquinas preached on the Hail Mary.

St. John Vianney, patron of priests, was seldom seen without a rosary in his hand.

Pope Adrian VI said, “The rosary is the scourge of the devil.”

Pope Paul V said, “The rosary is a treasure of graces.”

St. Padre Pio (pictured to the right) said, “The Rosary is The Weapon.” 

Pope Paul VI said quoting Pope Pius XII, “The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel.”

Blessed John Paul II said, “How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening.”  Blessed John Paul said his favorite prayer is the Rosary.

Pope Leo XIII wrote 9 encyclicals on the Holy Rosary.

Blessed John XXIII spoke 38 times about our Lady and the Rosary. He prayed 15 decades daily.

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort said, “The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who so loves His Mother.”

Blessed Alan de la Roche said, “If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.”

Pope St. Pius X (pictured to the left) said, “If there were one million families praying the Rosary every day, the entire world would be saved. ”

St. Dominic said, “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”

St. Josemaria Escriva, said, “Say the Holy Rosary. Blessed be that monotony of Hail Mary’s which purifies the monotony of your sins!”

If you have any quotes by the saints that I don’t have listed on here, please share them with us in the comment box below.