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Lesson Plan 4

Catholic Saints
Question: "What are Christian saints according to the Bible?" Answer: The word saint comes from the Greek word "hagios" which means consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." It is almost always used in the plural, saints. " Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:13). "Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda" (Acts 9:32). "And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons (Acts 26:10). There is only one instance of the singular use and that is "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:21). In Scripture there are 67 uses of the plural saints compared to only one use of the singular word saint. Even in that one instance, a plurality of saints is in view every saint (Philippians 4:21). The idea of the word saint is a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom. There are three references referring to godly character of saints; "that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints " (Romans 16:2). "For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12). "But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints" (Ephesians 5:3). Therefore, Scripturally speaking, the saints are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christian are saintsand at the same time are called to be saints. 1 Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy The words sanctified and holy come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated saints. Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the Biblical description and calling of the saints. How does the Roman Catholic understanding of saints compare with the Biblical teaching? Not very well. In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in Heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is beatified or canonized by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshipped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone. How did you celebrate November 1?

Where did you go? Do you believe that there are saints? Why do we believe in them? Picture in a wallet.

Used with permission One of the main practices which Protestants often greatly misunderstand is the custom praying to the saints and angels for intercession. We believe that the angels and saints in Heaven not only pray with us, but also for us. The saints in Heaven have the ability to offer up to God the prayers of the faithful on earth. This may be seen by a passage from Saint John the Evangelist in the Book of Revelations: Rev. 5:8 '....The twenty four elders (the leaders of the people of God in Heaven) fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full on incense, which are the prayers of the saints.' The angels are also mentioned as doing essentially the same thing: Rev. 8:3-4 'An angel came and stood at the altar in heaven with a golden censor; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.' The Protestants who have a problem with Catholics giving honor to and praying for intercession from the angels and saints usually mention one passage to support their position: 1 Timothy 2:5 in which Jesus is mentioned as the only Mediator between man and God. This verse is very true, Jesus is the sole Mediator, but this does not mean that we are restricted from asking our fellow Christians to pray both for us and with us. This would include our fellow Christians in heaven and in Purgatory, who are all a part of the body of Christ: the Church. If you are ever asked by a Protestant why we pray to the saints, ask them this: 'If your mother was very ill, would you come to me and ask me to join you in prayer for her? If you would come to me, a mere person, a sinning human being, and ask me to intercede in prayer for your intention, why not of to a saint in heaven who is already purified and perfected and sees the face of God? Our brothers and sisters in Heaven have already been sanctified, so why can't we ask for them to pray for our specific intentions?' We believe in giving honor to the communion of saints, in heaven. One way, aside from directly praying to them is by wearing medals with their images and displaying statues and pictures of them in our homes. Again, we do these things as visual reminders of these wonderful saints who are just waiting for us to call upon them and their powerful intercession. When we display a small statue of Saint Michael the Archangel on an altar or in a child's room, we are reminded of

his courage in rejecting Lucifer and fighting the good battle for Christ. We can feel his powerful intercession and presence as protection against evil. Any type of picture or image of the saints, angels, Blessed Mother or Christ serve as ways to bring our hearts, minds and thoughts to God and godly things. There are so many distractions in our world today, we all need something visual during the course of our day to bring us back to God now and again. That is the purpose of having images and statues of the angels and saints. Protestants may use the argument that having such images constitutes 'worshipping false idols,' but once again, this is a great misunderstanding. We do not worship the actual stone from which the statue is made from, not the actual paper and frame from which a picture is made. Just as most of us have pictures of family members and loved ones around our homes, we have them as visual reminders of those we love. We do not actually worship the picture itself, but love and honor the friend or relative which the picture represents. Help your children develop a personal relationship with specific angels and saints. Patron saints are a good place to start, but devise other ways in which your child may discover specific saints and learn to pray to them for intercession. Some ways [to do this] are visiting saintly shrines, reading books about the lives of the saints and watching television programs on the lives of specific saints on Catholic programming networks. Teach your children that they saints and angels in heaven, and the souls in purgatory, are all part of the Church. We ask them for their intercessory prayers because we are all members of this same Church. We hope to join the saints in heaven some day to be part of the Church Triumphant. Until then, we will ask them to pray for us and with us, because they are already blessed to see the face of God and their prayers are perfect. Excerpt from 'A Crash Course in Apologetics for Catholic Mothers' by Maria Hernandez. Used with permission. Source: