The Saints

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom [cf. Heb 12:1], especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today.” — CCC, 2683

This week’s spiritual exercise delves into the wisdom of the saints. We are certainly blessed to be part of the Communion of Saints, to learn from them and to seek their intercession. Saint Faustina realized that there was great wisdom to be learned from the saints and told Jesus that she wanted to be a saint who reflected His compassionate Heart. We’ll also learn about one of St. Faustina’s favorite saints and his powerful intercession. We couldn’t possibly learn everything there is to know about the saints in our lifetime. There simply is not enough time! So let us begin!

Through our Baptism, we are blessed to be joined together with the great Communion of Saints, which consists of the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant), those of us here on earth (the Church Militant), and those being purified in Purgatory (the Church Suffering). The Catechism teaches that the saints in Heaven “contemplate God, praise Him, and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth.” Additionally, “When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things’ [cf. Mt 25:21]. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (CCC, 2683).

Many of the saints reassured their followers that they would be working even harder in Heaven, including St. Thérèse, who said, “I wish to spend Heaven doing good upon earth.” Saint Dominic Savio, a very pious student of St. Don Bosco (founder of the Salesians), died as a young teen. He appeared to his father shortly after his death and revealed that he was in Heaven, and he promised his prayers for his parents. Saint Don Bosco had preached during a Lenten sermon: “Everyone is called to be a saint, and do you know, it is easy to be a saint. Just do this: diligently do the ordinary things of the day in an extraordinary way.” Right after that, young Dominic put much effort into becoming a saint. When St. Bosco noticed Dominic looking too serious, he told him, “The way to be a saint, Dominic, is to be always cheerful, do your duties to the best of your ability, and give your classmates good example. Keep in mind that the Lord Jesus is always with you and wants your happiness.”

Saint Robert Bellarmine spoke about the wisdom of the saints in Heaven, saying, “All the blessed in heaven, though they may have been while on earth simple and ignorant, are now possessed of the deepest wisdom, and so endowed with the virtue of justice, that they might justly become kings of any kingdom.” In addition to their great wisdom is the gift of beholding God! “For all the blessed behold the essence of God Himself, and thereby, from this fountain of uncreated wisdom, they drink in such wisdom as neither Solomon nor any other mortal possessed, except our Lord Jesus Christ, who, even during the time of His mortal life, saw God, for in Him ‘were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’”

We can be assured that when we call upon the saints, they will know just how to help us. One time, Sr. Faustina wrote, “O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let Your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life” (Diary, 1242).

We can strive to imitate the saints in Heaven while recalling that they were all once like us — ordinary people with blemishes and faults, prone to temptation. The difference now is that they are in Heaven because they practiced the heroic virtues. They strove for holiness. When they made a mistake, they humbled themselves, confessed their sin, picked themselves up, and moved forward. They inspire us to do the same.

Saint Faustina and St. Joseph

Sister Faustina strove to learn from the saints, emulating their virtues. She was particularly fond of St. Thérèse. As we discussed previously, St. Thérèse appeared to her in a dream in which they had a conversation about sanctity. In addition, Sr. Faustina was close to St. Joseph, who also appeared to her. She recalled in her Diary, “Saint Joseph urged me to have a constant devotion to him. He himself told me to recite three prayers [the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be] and the Memorare [to St. Joseph] and gave me to know how much he is supporting this work [of mercy]. He has promised me this special help and protection. I recite the requested prayers every day and feel his special protection” (Diary, 1203).

Venerable Mary of Ágreda, a mystic, wrote about St. Joseph and his special privileges. She wrote:

In virtue of these special privileges the intercession of Saint Joseph is most powerful: first, for attaining the virtue of purity and overcoming the sensual inclinations of the flesh; secondly, for procuring powerful help to escape sin and return to the friendship of God; thirdly, for increasing the love and devotion to most holy Mary; fourthly, for securing the grace of a happy death and protection against the demons in that hour; fifthly, for inspiring the demons with terror at the mere mention of his name by his clients; sixthly, for gaining health of body and assistance in all kinds of difficulties; seventhly, for securing issue of children in families. These and many other favors God confers upon those who properly and with good disposition seek the intercession of the spouse of our Queen, Saint Joseph. I beseech all the faithful children of the Church to be very devout to him and they will experience these favors in reality, if they dispose themselves as they should in order to receive and merit them.

The Blessed Mother told Venerable Mary of Agreda:

The whole human race has much undervalued the privileges and prerogatives conceded to my blessed spouse and they know not what his intercession with God is able to do. I assure thee, my dearest, that he is one of the greatly favored personages in the divine presence and has immense power to stay the arms of divine vengeance ... That which my spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men, if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them.

Something to Ponder

With regard to seeking the wisdom of the saints, take time to ponder St. John Paul II’s words in Veritatis Splendor:

In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional  delity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations. For this reason, the Church, as a wise teacher of morality, has always invited believers to seek and to find in the Saints, and above all in the Virgin Mother of God “full of grace” and “all-holy,” the model, the strength, and the joy needed to live a life in accordance with God’s commandments and the Beatitudes of the Gospel.

A Merciful Action

Pray to discover opportunities this coming week to teach others about the saints, especially the children in your life. Could you possibly share a saint’s story at the dinner table or at work? Might you gift a book about the saints to someone soon? Could you choose a saint and pray a nine-day novena to that saint for someone who needs prayerful help? Ask intercession from the saints in carrying out your works of mercy.

A PRAYER OF MERCY FOR THIS WEEK

(To be prayed each day this week.)

Dear Merciful Jesus, help me learn from Your saints. Mother Mary, help me to better know St. Joseph. Saint Faustina, please pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You! Amen.

Consider praying to St. Joseph each day, as St. Faustina did, the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the Memorare to St. Joseph:

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession was left unassisted. Full of con dence in your power I  y unto you and beg your protection. Despise not, O Guardian of the Redeemer, my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me.

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here:

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Photo from Marian Archives.

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