The following benefits are derived from the communion of saints: the faithful on earth assist one another by their prayers and good works, and they are aided by the intercession of the saints in Heaven, while both the saints in Heaven and the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory. We can best honor the saints by imitating their virtues, and we shall learn their virtues from the written accounts of their lives.
Among the Saints we shall find models for every age, condition or state of life. The first Commandment does not forbid us to honor relics, because relics are the bodies of the saints or objects directly connected with them or with our Lord. Articles that have touched a relic of the body or other relic. What is there special about a relic of the true cross on which Our Lord Died, and also about the instruments of His Passion? The relics of the true Cross and relics of the thorns, nails, etc.
A relic of the true Cross is never kept or carried with other relics. The Church permits us to give relics a veneration similar to that we give images.
We do not venerate the relics for their own sake, but for the sake of the persons they represent. The souls of canonized saints are certainly in heaven, and we are certain that their bodies also will be there. Therefore, we may honor their bodies because they are to be glorified in heaven and were sanctified upon earth.
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The Church takes the greatest care in the examination and distribution of relics. The canonization or beatification of the person whose relic we receive must be certain. The relics are sent in sealed packets, that must be opened only by the bishop of the diocese to which the relics are sent, and each relic or packet must be accompanied by a document or written paper proving its genuineness. The relics cannot be exposed for public veneration until the bishop examines them and pronounces them authentic; that is, that they are what they are claimed to be.
Before using any relic or giving it to another we should be certain that all the requirements of the Church concerning it have been fulfilled, and that the relic really is, as far as it is possible for any one to know, what we believe it to be. God Himself has frequently honored relics by permitting miracles to be wrought through them. There is an example given in the Bible, in the IV Book of Kings, where it is related that a dead man was restored to life when his body touched the bones, that is, the relics of the holy prophet Eliseus.
The first Commandment does forbid the making of images if they are made to be adored as gods, but it does not forbid the making of them to put us in mind of Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and the saints. Because God Himself commanded the making of images for the temple after He had given the first commandment, and God never contradicts Himself. It is right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ and His saints, because they are the representations and memorials of them.
Have we in this country any civil custom similar to that of honoring the pictures and images of saints? We have, in this country, a civil custom similar to that of honoring pictures and images of saints, for, on Decoration or Memorial Day, patriotic citizens place flowers, flags, or emblems about the statues of our deceased civil heroes, to honor the persons these statues represent; for just as we can dishonor a man by abusing his image, so we can honor him by treating it with respect and reverence.
It is not allowed to pray to the crucifix or images and relics of the saints, for they have no life, nor power to help us, nor sense to hear us. We pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of the saints because they enliven our devotion by exciting pious affections and desires, and by reminding us of Christ and of the saints, that we may imitate their virtues. Continue to the All rights reserved. What does "invocation" mean? How do we show that by honoring the Saints we honor God Himself?
Invitation to Christian Hedonism
Give another reason why we honor God by honoring the Saints. Does the first Commandment forbid us to pray to the saints? The first Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the saints. Why does the first commandment not forbid us to pray to the Saints? What do we mean by praying to the saints? By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help and prayers.
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Then watch the miracle happen! Men are often experts at finding fault, at discovering what was not done just right. We think we are helping our mate to be a better wife by constantly pointing out these things. Yet just the opposite happens! Instead, we must try to find ways to praise, honor, encourage, and promote growth and joy in the hearts of our wives. We need to pray for God to help us love our wives as Jesus loves the church, giving Himself for her, and presenting her to Himself as being without spot or wrinkle Ephesians Are we without spot or wrinkle? The lesson here is obvious! Wives are not off the hook either.
The same Peter who tells husbands to honor their spouses also instructs wives to submit to and obey their husbands, "as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror" I Peter Paul reminds wives to submit to their husbands "as to the Lord" Ephesians How would we treat our husbands if he were Christ?
That is the standard. When children see Mom honoring Dad, and Dad praising and honoring Mom, they in turn find it so much easier to honor Father and Mother. Beyond that, this powerful example teaches them how they should conduct themselves when they eventually marry and have children. Honor must not stop with the nuclear family. All older people should be honored as well. Leviticus commands, "You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the L ORD.
When was the last time we saw children and younger adults automatically stand when a senior citizen entered the room? God says this should happen.
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It still does in parts of the world, especially in Asia, but not so in our own country. Some people rise for women. Why do we not do this for the elderly?
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Even more important than this honorific action is the attitude of respect for the older generation. Imagine what our society would be like if everyone followed this principle of honor! Our culture will be sorely tested in the next 30 years, when the numbers of gray-headed citizens will skyrocket. We already see the beginnings of the aging boom, as life expectancies climb and millions of Baby Boomers get older.
Widows should be honored.
In I Timothy , Paul instructs, "Honor widows who are really widows. We need to note the widows amongst us and give them special respect and attention. Our spiritual elders , ministers , are to be honored.
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Paul teaches in I Timothy , "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor , especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. Again, whether we think they have earned it or not, their position requires respect. Jesus teaches us the principle of respecting those who sit in Moses' seat Matthew , even hypocritical Pharisees! Certainly when we see ministers who are truly faithful and hardworking, who correctly teach God's Word, we should honor them twice as much, as Paul suggests.
Not all shepherds are the Ezekiel 34 kind! Is it beginning to become clear that honoring goes way beyond just respecting God and parents? God wants a world where respect and honor of others is the way of life of its citizens. Romans says just that: "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.