Those who believe in heaven, and hell, without the necessity of purgatory, don't really understand the Catholic saint. Saints are not superhero's with capes, who fly through the air to save the human race. Rather, saints are ordinary people like us, trudging the earth in a daily struggle both personal and social. What separates a saint from the unfortunate ones who choose against heaven is the acceptance of God's Love as the fire of purgatory (or purgation) which perfects them in selfless love against their natural tendency toward selfishness.
For a saints heroic virtue is found first in conquering themselves, and only then in the charity which changes the world.
"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
Saints aren't saints until they have been pushed to the brink. No one displays heroic virtue unless they are teetering over the precipice of hell, but choose for heaven at great personal cost. Mother Teresa of Calcutta suffered much in spending her life in the slums of India. Being human like us, she had to embrace all the grace she could to overcome and become the woman for the poor. Just like her Savior Jesus in his Gethsemane struggle, holiness is born in sweat-like blood, from the Blood shed on Calvary.
"Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?" Psalm 24:1-6
Remember the Tower of Babel? Only Jesus Christ, from on His Cross, elevated humanity toward heaven, reconciling us to the Father, in the Love of the Spirit, which inspires holiness that overcomes the sins of pride and selfishness. Ascension, like Mary's Assumption, is not a man made thing--note to Obama--but a God inspired, transformative process. And for must of us, it takes a full lifetime!
"See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1-3
Saints receive strength in the Love of the Father who gives them the undeserved right to be His sons and daughters through the Passion of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, as sons and daughters, we must embrace the inevitable in religious persecution, since rejection, and a lack of recognition of God by the world, means our eventual persecution. That is why saints always pray for perseverance in the Spirit of faithfulness.
Being a child of God may have its perks. But it also has its pain!
"Blessed are the poor in spirit..." Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus started the Beatitudes with poverty in spirit since this is the foundation of all sainthood (sanctity-holiness). Saints are poor in the world because their riches are found in heavenly things. Saints are poor in the world because they own nothing, holding all things loosely for charity's sake. Saints are poor in the world since they see all their goodness, gifts, and talents as gifts from God for the salvation of their brothers and sisters in the world. And, finally, saints are poor because of the inevitable crucifixion they will encounter when facing the 'riches' of the world.
For poverty, in being nailed to the cross, finds the greatest richness in a life in touch with the Love of the selfless Crucified Christ, in the Mercy of the Father who raised Him from the dead, and in the Holy Spirit who will do the same for us.
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