Scenes of hope were seen and described just hours after a blaze engulfed the masterful…
Just what is a saint? It turns out, people don’t really know
It was kind of funny, but then again it really wasn’t.
While Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary of Los Angeles, founder of the media apostolate Word on Fire, was in Rome attending the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, which wrapped up at the end of last month, his crew hit the streets of Rome to do some “person on the street” interviews with random young people.
And they started simple, asking individuals, couples and families: What is a saint?
The answers were varied and most definitely humorous. Some got close, calling saints people who had done good things. At least two identified saints as people who lived long ago — people of the past who were historically and religiously important and who had done important things. Another respondent said the saints are those who take prayers directly to God because we can’t go to him ourselves.
Some simply had no clue at all. “Mom, what’s a saint?” one young woman called off-camera. “It’s something to do with God, isn’t it?”
The interviewees were also asked to name a saint. Standing in the heart of Rome, a couple of them managed St. Peter, and a few others were able to rattle off two or three. One respondent canonized all of the Church’s popes, and several others laughed or just said they didn’t know, unable to give any answer at all.
The video, like all of those types of videos, was fast-paced and entertaining, but it left one with a feeling of utter dismay. There is so much that is unknown and misunderstood about the tenets of the Faith. And the real tragedy of that video is that it shows not only that respondents couldn’t define “saints,” but that they had no comprehension they were called to be saints themselves!
On his YouTube page, where the video is posted, Bishop Barron offered this message: “Their answers should impress upon us the urgent need to share the Tradition, redouble our evangelization efforts, and truly become missionary disciples.”
That it did.
For the record, according to The Catholic Dictionary, saints are, “Those persons in heaven, whether or not canonized, who lived lives of great charity and heroic virtue. They now live forever with God and share in his glory.”
Their status is what should motivate us in everything we say and do, because our goal is to be like them and to be with them in heaven.
Each November is an opportunity to reflect on our path to sanctity and to look to the saints for renewed inspiration. This month is a wonderful opportunity to talk with children about the saints, or to share the story of a favorite saint, and what made him or her holy. And to remind them — and ourselves — that we are called to be saints! There is much that we can do to share the Faith simply with those around us. It is so greatly needed.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editor-in-chief of Our Sunday Visitor. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.