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Sanctification in the News

Thousands upon thousands of pilgrims, media representatives, clergy, religious, tourists, and inquisitive onlookers are descending upon Rome, Italy this weekend to witness the canonization ceremony for two very popular popes that most people can remember within their lifetime. April 27, 2014 marks the date for the official canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II – two distinctly charismatic and industrious leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in modern times. Both of these devout men represented what many believe to be honorable traits for humanity – poverty in spirit, charitable character, strong leadership, powerful evangelizers, and intense devotion to the bride of Christ – the church. Are they saints?
Pope Francis has declared them to be so. The Vatican news website offers these valuable insights into why these two men are now saints, not only by human standards but heavenly standards as well. “At a press conference on Friday, the two cardinals who lived and worked for the future saints as their secretaries said they knew their bosses were saints because of their simple faith and goodness”
Being a good person by human standards means that we live good lives for the sake of the world around us. Being holy is a standard which focuses our entire being, not only on living a good life for the here and now, but for the hereafter. The Vatican source quotes Cardinals Capovilla and Dziwisz as saying:
“Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who served as Blessed John's secretary for 10 years, told reporters via video link of John XXIII’s “smile, innocence and goodness.”
"Saints,” the 98-year-old cleric said, "are those who remain children”, maintaining always a youthful energy and enthusiasm as they follow the path God sets out for them. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as Blessed John Paul's secretary for 39 years, told reporters John Paul “prayed with his life” and his holiness was also evident in his “holy suffering” throughout his life, never complaining and offering his suffering as a prayer for the world.”
Holiness demands that our hearts, minds, and souls are lifted to heaven long before our earthly bodies pass from this life. Were Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II worthy of being called holy men? There are very few objections, even among non-believers that these men lead lives that were exceptional. Catholics call this type of exceptionality “holy.” Holiness on earth gains us sanctification in heaven. And tomorrow, both men will officially be recognized for setting true examples of holiness for all of us. Vatican officials estimate that at least one million people will be present to celebrate these canonizations. That is quite a validating number!

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