From: Mary Zimmerman
Itís so easy to get confused with the title angels and saints, especially in the case of a childís death we think in the terms of another angel in heaven. Actually itís then you receive the title of saint. Then there are canonized saints, certain people who have lived heroic (extraordinary) lives in some way and that we can attribute two miracles through their intercession
The Blessed Virgin Mary, one seldom hears her title as saint but rest assured sheís on the top of the list. The church I attend is named St. Maryís in honor of her. Then thereís St. Anne (Jesusí grandmother, and St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus), the Apostles who walked the earth with Jesus, these all became saints except weíre not sure about Judas.
I just recently became aware there is a St. Mary Anne (Anne is my middle name). It used to be quite customary to name your child after a saint, so I couldnít have fared better. But donít get us mixed up. St. Mary Anne lived a heroic life in many ways; I even had a hard time giving up a piece of peanut butter pie. I hope to become a saint (go to heaven) but Iím sure just making 1,000 pies for charity and doing spiritual writing wonít put me on the deanís list for canonization, but however it is leading in the right direction. Thatís okay as long as one strives to become as holy as God wills it for each of us to be!
I do have a favorite saint, many of you would already know, itís St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun whom Jesus favored with visions and Divine Mercy messages starting in 1931. This devotion has been so dear to me and certainly good for the whole world. Itís so needed. Right?
I have come to believe and live the virtue of trust (a major factor in this devotion). ďJesus I trust in youĒ in more positive way to ward off fear, which is one of the devilís tools. I try not to look back too much. We all just need to repent and go forward, trusting in the Lord and His great mercy. He desires all to be saved. I ask my heavenly Father for this grace for my family, myself, and the whole world (Chaplet of Divine Mercy) every day.
Jesus revealed many messages and devotions to St. Faustina, one of which is the ďFeast of Mercy.Ē Mercy Sunday is always celebrated the Sunday after Easter. For 17 years we have been doing this in Winona, presently at the Cathedral. There is also a Diary of St. Faustina that God commanded her to write down all the messages He had given her.
I love St. Francis as well. He was a soldier in his day but eventually became a soldier in Godís army. He loved and helped the poor. He loved nature and animals very much so eventually he received the stigmata (wounds of Jesus). Many of you are familiar with the Prayer of St. Francis - Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love, etc. If all mankind joined together to recite that prayer weíd all be friends. No more enemies, wars or killing.
St. Padre Pio was canonized a saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II. He had the stigmata of Our Lord as well. Doctors estimated that for the next 50 years he lost a cup of blood every day, yet he was able to say daily Mass and hear confessions for as many as 16 hours a day. He had the gift of reading peopleís hearts as well and would at times tell people to come back when they were ready to confess ďallĒ their sins. He also had the gift of bi-location (two places at once) as St. Faustina did as well.
St. Therese, the Little Flower, is such a loved young saint. She died at age 24 and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. St. Therese didnít necessarily do such great things but did everything in a special loving way. What an example for all of us. Before she died she said she would let fall a shower of roses, so often after people petition her in prayer, they receive a rose or roses in a miraculous way. If interested, her autobiography ďThe Story of a SoulĒ is excellent reading.
Some people believe Jesus is the only one who can answer our prayers. Thatís true, but we as Catholics firmly believe we can petition the saints and angels to intercede to God on our behalf. This grace even goes beyond that. Our loved ones in heaven are praying for us and even the souls in purgatory can intercede for us (however canít help themselves, so itís up to us to help them, penance, Masses, etc.).
Oh dear, I didnít leave much room to talk about angels. I think that will have to be for another day.
Letís all live in union with angels, saints, and our fellow man. Then one day weíll all rejoice together in heaven.