Monday, November 2, 2015

Why all Christians should check out the Saints

If you go to the non-denominational church, the Baptist church, the Church of Christ, or many of the other protestant churches, you probably don't have the saints as part of your tradition.  You may even have thought Catholics "worship" saints, or have statues of them which "proves" we worship idols.  If this is what you've heard, I'd invite you to see it how a Catholic sees it...  We believe in ONE GOD - Father-Son-Spirit.  Through God and God alone can we receive salvation.

Let me ask a few questions for you to consider - 1.  Do you honor those who have died fighting for our freedom?  There are statues and walls with their names and we often say "thank you" to those in the military for the sacrifice they make for us. We don't worship them, but honor them for their sacrifice.  They're a part of our American family.  2.  Do you have pictures of family members in our home, maybe even loved ones that have passed away?  We don't worship them, but we remember them as they are a part of our family and we love them.  3.  When you fell in love with your spouse - did you consider how their family would play a role in your life?  After all, you are marrying your spouse and their family and becoming a part of something much bigger than just your spouse.  You don't love your mother-in-law in the same way you love your spouse, but you certainly honor and respect them because they're now a part of your family.

If we love Jesus, we love His family because we too are just a part of that family.  We become united with the whole family of Jesus and all those others that love Him too.  It's like a big organization that everyone is a part of and no one is excluded.  Like any organization, there are founding members, traditions and a legacy that someone left.  That legacy only points us closer to the mission (Jesus).  We love Mary - not because she does something for us, or has the power to "save us" (which she doesn't) but because she is an important part of the family of Jesus.  We remember the Saints because they paved the way, sacrificing their life in the name of Christianity.  They are examples of how sinful humans just like you and me can live an extraordinary life.  They loved Jesus so much that they lived it just like you and me are trying to do.

THIS is what it means to be Christian!  You are part of the Christian family, equally as entitled as I am - none of us worthy but certainly grateful.  You belong in the UNIVERSAL family of Jesus Christ, with a legacy that dates back to the first martyrs - St. Stephen (Acts 7:52).  St. Longinus - the soldier that pierced Jesus with the spear and blood flowed out and saying "Truly this was the son of God" Mt. 27:54.  There are almost 1000 recognized saints that have incredible stories of radical love and service for Jesus Christ and the Church.

If you are a Christian - your faith didn't start the day you were born, but was handed down from Jesus to the Apostles, to the first Christians that formed the Catholic Church, through the scripture they recorded, put into a bible, through the lives of the Saints, the blood of the martyrs, through Priests, and pastors to your pastor and your parents and now to you.  You are part of something much bigger than your own memory with a legacy that lasts 2000 years.  You too can admire the Saints just like I do without worshiping and without changing your love and devotion for Jesus.  Knowing more people that love Jesus is inspirational and supportive for your own walk of faith without detraction.  As a Catholic Christian in today's world, I need to be surrounded by as many Christians as I can and I welcome as many members that want to be a part of this enormous family of Jesus Christ.  Happy All hollow's eve (all saints eve), all Saints day and All souls day.  Celebrate with us!

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