Why Every Christian Needs the Saints, Or: Be Like St. Teresa of Calcutta
Though small in stature, Mother Teresa was a modern David slaying the Goliath of the culture of death, which ignores the cry of the unborn and sheds their blood, protected by the police power of the state. She made it clear that procured abortion is not only the taking of innocent human life, but a sin against solidarity.
On Sunday the world watched as Mother Teresa of Calcutta was formally canonized. That is, she was entered into the rolls of those the Catholic Church recognizes as saints. What the Catholic Church sees in her is something all Christians recognize, whether we call them “saints” or “heroes” or “mighty men and women of God.”
These people are canons for us. What do I mean by that? The word canonize is derived from a Greek word canon, meaning measure or rule. Christian heroes provide a measure or ruler for our lives. They challenge all of the faithful to grow in holiness by the standard and witness and the heroism of their lives.
Saints and Saints
All Christians are properly called saints (holy ones), as is evident in the way Paul uses the word. At the beginning of Romans, he writes, “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.”
However, some among us more completely reflect the life of Jesus and are used by God in a special way. From the earliest days Christians gave a special type of honor to those who shed their blood for the faith. The word martyr means witness. That honor was extended to those who practiced a holiness born of a deep walk in, with and for the Lord Jesus. The idea was that such deep holiness was also a great act of sacrifice and a prophetic witness….
Forty years ago I met this woman the whole world calls “Mother.” I was a year away from graduating as a theology and philosophy major at the then-called College of Steubenville, now the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Mother Teresa came to speak to the graduating seniors. I met her afterward.
The deeply etched lines of her face stunned me. I was pierced by her eyes. They were the eyes of Jesus. I am never without words. However, I was unable to speak and began to weep. She smiled at me and touched my young face. Nothing needed to be said. I had encountered the Lord Jesus living in one of his special servants……
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