All Saints

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A common definition of a saint is one who is simply exceptionally “holy”, and holy can be viewed as a person that it particularly in tune with the divine. Catholicism recognizes sainthood through canonization, yet it emphatically states that the church does not create saints. There are saints that are not yet recognized as saints,those that have not gone through this canonization process. All Saints Day is a day of recognition for these “unrecognized” Saints.

Canonization in the Latin Rite involves five steps with each steps, and each step can be associated with a name or title: “Servant of God”, “Declaration ‘Non Cultus'” “Venerable”, “Blessed”, and finally “Saint.“ In the first a bishop permits a formal investigation into the life and virtues of the candidate, who is given the title “Servant of God.” This process begins no sooner than 3-years after the person’s death. Declaration ‘Non Cultus’ involves an examination of the saint’s remains and ensures that no form of cult worship, or superstition, or heresy is associated with the individual. As the investigation proceeds the Pope can declare the person “Venerable”, from that they advance to “Blessed” in the belief that the individual resides in heaven. Another term related to blessed is beatification. From the beatified, the church awaits three miracles before confirming Sainthood.

In Jesus Sermon on the mount, Jesus declares “Blessed “are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger or thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted. Jesus does not require that these people die a bodily death before he calls them “Blessed.” Jesus offers these beatitudes to the living, and is our assurance that we have the ability to gain access to heaven. Sainthood is within our grasp, within our life; just as heaven is within our grasp and within our life. To view Saints as residing in heaven after death not only places them far away from us, it also places heaven as a place only reached after death, and such is not the Kingdom of Heaven.Sainthood does not belong to the dead but to the living. Saints did not only strive to enter heaven after life, but rather their efforts were to enter that kingdom through and during their lives. The canonization is the official recognition of Saints through the examination of their lives, yet not all Saints need be officially recognized. All Saints are not created after death, but instead are born through their lives in Christ.

 

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