Keeping the saints alive in the heart
In 1656 James Harrington wrote in Oceans that, “Every
man, either to his terror or consolation, has some sense of
religion.” It was with this quote that I found a sense
of relief one troubled night. As I have often found myself under
assault directly related to my work with relics, one particular
night was more troubling than others. I was questioning my reason
for even doing this work at all. I called my most dear friend,
a Russian Archbishop and started to whine. I don’t know
why I continue under the assaults, I told him, “Sometimes
I just feel like giving up.” I was very tired working
seven days a week, a secular job and traveling the country on
My dear friend the Archbishop gave me a very simple and profound
reason why I do what I do. He said, “You give them the
most important gift that anyone can give. You give them hope.”
How fortunate we are and these modern times; to have so many
powerful intercessors, bright exemplars, and heavenly friends
in the saints of God. The harvest of holiness from many centuries
has been gathered into the boundaries of heaven. There await
us our brothers and sisters who have won the crown of justice
and who see the face of God. With great confidence we ask for
their intercession. They know our sorrows, they have experienced
are fears, they love us dearly. Their power with God is immense,
so let us speak out to them the needs and desires of our heart.
The role of the saints in the service of mankind is twofold.
First, the saints plead for their fellow man before the throne
of God, and secondarily, they are examples for all mankind,
inside and outside the church.
The benefits which Catholics derive from studying the lives
of the saints are numerous because they not only the sources
of knowledge and wisdom, but also mentors of virtue and fountains
of progress in perfection. We are unconsciously moved to imitate
them, drawn closer to men, women and children truly great and
good. By admiring their actions, we learn to follow their examples.
The saints still live in their deeds and in the edification
which they have been given in the one true church of Jesus Christ.
Their lights still shines before us from the earliest of ages,
their examples have been the inspiration and joy, the hope and
consolation for all Christians to follow.
We will find in the lives of the saints, numerous motives to
console ourselves in adversity, to support and strengthen ourselves
in temptation, and rebuke transgressions. Each saint is an imitation,
in some degree, of all the virtues and perfection of the God
man, Jesus Christ.
Let us keep the saints alive in our hearts, in our minds, in
our actions and most of all in our prayers. Remember to pray
for the poor souls that are in purgatory today, for with masses
offered and prayers said, they will be the saints of tomorrow.
The word "ecumenism" is derived from the Greek oikoumene,
which means "the inhabited world". The term is usually
used with regard to movements toward religious unity. In its
broadest meaning therefore, ecumenism is the religious initiative
towards world-wide unity. At a minimum, ecumenism is the promotion
of unity, co-operation, or improved understanding between distinct
religious groups or denominations within the same religion more
or less broadly defined.
When we publicly venerate relics with non Catholics we have
more in common than proximity. I have personally witnessed tremendous
acts of religious piety and respect from non Catholics. I have
seen Catholics instructing their friends (in the pews and the
back of the Church), the proper mechanics of approaching the
altar and venerating the relics. I of course experienced this
in the Holy Land when I visited the prominent non Christians
sights. It is a privilege to see Protestants respecting our
customs for the love of the Relics of the Passion.
C.S. Lewis wrote in Letters to an American Lady; I believe we
are very near to one another . . . In the present divided state
of Christendom, those who are at the heart of each division
are all closer to one another than those who are at the fringes
. . . Let us by all means pray for one another: it is perhaps
the only form of "work for reunion" which never does
anything but good. God bless you. (Letters to an American Lady,
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967 -- letter from 1953, 11-12)