The kids and I went to Mass this evening (Stephen is working) as today is the feast day for All Saints. In the priest's homily he said something that makes perfect sense, "Saints are Explanations of the Gospel". Not only the inspiring words they may have said or written, but their exemplary model lives lived out for Christ: give love & charity to the poor, meek & humble, hunger & thirst after righteousness. If the Saints were asked: "Why are you in Heaven?" they would answer: "For having listened to the Holy Spirit." - St. John Vianney.
Yesterday we had CCD class and I was throwing an All Hallows Eve party for my students and teaching them about the Communion of Saints. Hallow is the same word for "holy" that we find in the Lord's Prayer (Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.), and e'en is a contraction of "evening." The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of "All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day. I taught the students about our belief in the Communion of Saints. There are over 10,000 named Saints. The Catholic Church teaches that it does not, in fact, make or create anyone a saint. Rather, it recognizes a saint. Of course there are many unknown to us and the Church. "A saint is always someone through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like -- and of what we are called to be. Only God 'makes' saints, of course. The Church merely identifies from time to time a few of these for emulation. The church then tells the story."
click on photo to enlarge
So in class before we ate our party food the students made this Heavenly Family poster (I made the example above using 20 Saints from Happy Saints). I asked my students if any of them have ever been asked by their parents or someone close to them if they could pray for someone sick or hurt. They all rose their hands. :) I explained that is great, because we can all intercede for one another in prayer: For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20. Next I reminded them what they all learned several weeks ago about when we say the Hail Mary, what are we asking Mary to do for us? The students all answered, "pray for us sinners!" :) I have such great students! So I asked them, if these Saints that the Church has named are in Heaven like Mary and with God, do you think we could ask them to pray for us too? They all agreed, "yes, of course!".
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1.
While they ate their party food, I read them stories about 4 different Saints. They were all "wowed" and inspired. I could see the wheels turning in their precious little heads, and several of them told me the lesson or encouragement learned about what these Saints went through and did. It was awesome.