What is a Saint?

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You’ve probably heard saints mentioned in day-to-day conversation. You might even have been called a saint yourself for doing a good deed. But what exactly is a saint and how do you become one? This article will help you to learn a little more about these revered people.

Saints are those who follow Jesus and his teachings. The catholic church tends to use the word “Saint” to refer to the women and men who have lived extraordinary lives while doing God’s work. The saints in question have already died and many might have been made a saint after their death.

Saints in the Bible

Saint is Latin for ‘Holy’. In the bible, more specifically, the New Testament, saints are those who followed Jesus. There is an assumption that those who followed Jesus had been transformed in such a way that they were different from men and women who did not follow him. They are, therefore, thought to be holy.

Sainthood does not specifically refer to those who have faith in God but those whose lives have been full of good actions. it’s thought that these actions were inspired by their faith.

For example, Saint Augustine was a philosopher and a theologian who helped to influence the church and philosophy in the West. The Works of Saint Augustine goes into great detail about his life and how he influenced the church. It is clear from his works that Saint Augustine lived a life full of actions that were inspired by his faith.

How People Become Saints

Canonizing people using the current system has been the same since 1983. Under this system which was put into place by Pope John Paul II, those who are considered for sainthood must first be named as a Servant of God.

Those who are named as a Servant of God must have died at least 5 years ago. The bishop of the area where the individual died must name them. After a lot of research, the named individual will then have their biography and eyewitness stories thoroughly examined. If they pass the tests, the body will be exhumed. This is to ensure that no superstitious worship has taken place.

The next part of canonization is called “Venerable”. This is where the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints sends a recommendation. This recommendation is sent to the Pop and shows that they recommend this person be made a saint.

The Final Stages

An individual will be made a saint if it is thought that they at least 2 miracles have been performed through praying (Also known as “Intercession”) for them after their death. It is only at this stage that the Pope can declare that they are with God. The Pope can also declare that they are an example of those who follow Christ.

While the catholic church has a lot of work to do before someone is made a saint, they are revered and worshiped throughout the world. Some of the most recent saints include  Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II along with Pope John XXIII.