Why Saints

I know some of my readers are probably unsure about why I quote saints, why I write about them and why my last maxim talks about emulating saints. I feel the need to justify myself I guess and since this weeks Maxim is about saints I figured before the week is up I would write about it.

My blog is in no small part absolutely inspired by St. Seraphim of Sarov. St. Seraphim is a modern saint who lived from July 19, 1754 to  January 1, 1833. His story can be read here. It is a very inspiring biography!

St. Seraphim was known to be of radiant joy. He greeted year-round with “Christ is Risen.” He called all his children, my joys! He was what I want to be. He is absolutely worth reading about, learning about and emulating. He gave his whole life to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I am currently reading The Joy of the Holy: Saint Seraphim of Sarov and Orthodox Spiritual Life by Harry M. Boosalis. This book gives a very brief biography of his life along with a discussion on how St. Seraphim ministered to his community and then a detailed study of his spiritual teachings. “The goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.” This saying by St. Seraphim is the basis for his teachings and what inspired his own life and how he lived.

In the prologue the author gives us a great reason for why we should learn about the saints:

From a purely historical point of view, the lives of the saints serve as mirrors, reflecting the events of the world at their particular place and time. However, it is their lives themselves that often have an important impact—not only upon the world in which they lived, but also upon the world which they have left behind. Their lives are rooted in the fertile ground of Holy Tradition, which is blended together with their own individual character traits.

Here, in an article I found on the OCA website about the glorification of saints, we read:

We know that there are several categories of saints: prophets, evangelists, martyrs, ascetics, holy bishops and priests, and those who live a righteous life “in the world.” What they all have in common is holiness of life. Three times in the Book of Leviticus (Ch 11, 19 and 20) God tells us to be holy, because He is holy. We must consecrate ourselves, for we are His people. Saint Peter reiterates this commandment in the new testament, challenging us to obey God’s commandments and submit our will to His will (1 Pet 1:16). Everyone is challenged to manifest holiness in their lives, for we all must become saints! This is our special –  and common –  calling from God. It is not something reserved for the clergy, monastics, or those who are “more pious.” Everyone who has been baptized into Christ must live in such a way that Christ lives within us. “Do you not know,” Saint Paul asks, “that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16).

Paul is a saint in the church that across ALL Christian faiths we strive to emulate. He and all the disciples of Christ are worthy of emulation. And over the centuries there have been many, many more followers of Christ who deserve attention. Dig into Church history and learn about these men and women of faith who loved God more than anything else in this world. Who gave of themselves to God and to their fellow men. It is truly inspiring.

Through the prayers of all the saints, may we be encouraged to follow their example of virtue and holiness.

 Why do we believe we can ask intercession of the saints? This is a deep, deep question and I will not be able to accurately answer it on my own, but will start by saying in Luke 16: 19-31 we hear the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. In this parable we know that Abraham, who was in heaven, heard the cry of the rich man. Why then would not all who have gone to be with Christ be unable to hear our cries and as they are WITH Christ, beg mercy on our behalf?

If you are interested in learning more on this topic check out these articles:

Prayer and the Departed Saints

The Prayer of Intercession

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