The Making of Saints
Greetings on this the Solemnity of All Saints
Readings: RV 7:2-4, 9-14; PS 24:1BC-2, 3-4AB, 5-6; 1 JN 3:1-3; MT 5:1-12A
Taking a Name
In the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) we go through the process of helping the Candidates (Confirmandi) select a Confirmation Name. The name is selected from the thousands of names of men and women who have been recognized by the Church to have been Saints. Early in Church history this was done by a community acclamation – a strong voice of the people to declare – ‘This One Served God In Life and In Death Now Lives in Heaven’. Today the Congregation for the Cause of Saints is responsible for the process while the canonization decision sits with the Supreme Pontiff. It is from these names the Seal is used.
During Confirmation a Confirmandi by name is sealed by the laying of hands and the anointing of the sacred chrism.
How To Pick
I usually start with the known hierarchy of prayer warriors (to use the current language). The Blessed Mary is considered the premiere intercessor for humanity by virtue of her saintly life, relationship to her Son, and her being given over to the Church. Even today she intercedes with the Father for your needs.
After Mary comes her husband, Joseph. Joseph was honored with the patriarchal patron of the universal church.
Then in order the glorious Apostles, the noble prophets, the army of martyrs and the full body of saints who sing with joy. This entire company of saints live in heaven, praising the Lord and working side by side with the Creator for the benefit of the human family and all creation.
As we say in the Mass: On whose constant intercession in your presence we rely for unfailing help
We go further and talk about ways in which to pick while always being guided by prayer and the aid of the Holy Spirit. I ask them to consider these questions when selecting a saint name:
- Which saint do you most want to be like?
- Which saint do you think can help you the most?
- Which saint can help you by their patronage for a location, occupation, state of life, or condition?
The Best Question
After they consider all the above I ask them to process their answer through the Beatitudes. In the end, and our gospel reading today, it is the Beatitudes that describe the Saintliness of a person. How closely or verifiably a person lives the beatitudes is the greatest indication of their closeness to and living out the image of God. For the beatitudes describe the activity of God.
If they really struggle I ask them to read through the beatitudes and pick the one beatitude that either they most want to be or need to most help becoming. Then look again at the list of saints that fit that perspective.
It’s a great journey to take.
Which beatitude do you most want to be or most need help with?
Pray for intercessors to aid you on your way.
Peace be with you,