Tonight we celebrate Halloween, or what is known traditionally as “All Hallows Eve”. It is the day before All Saints Day, a Holy Day of obligation for all Catholics. While most Catholics know about All Saints Day, less have a deeper appreciation of why the saints are important, why God chooses to use them, and how they relate to the every day lives of those on earth.
The concept of venerating saints is rooted in the Jewish faith: each person in God’s family is connected intimately. Jewish theology also holds that those who are righteous and with God in heaven had prayers which were very powerful. “The prayers of the righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16). Because of this connection it is customary for the Jewish faithful to venerate their holy and righteous saints known as “Tzaddikim”. Often they would honor the Tzaddikim by visiting their gravesites and asking them to intercede with God on their behalf.
Early Christians also saw this connection between those in the body of Christ in heaven and those on earth. They realized God loves when we love and pray and for each other. St. Paul writes that it is “good and acceptable to God” to practice intercessory prayer in the body of Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). The early Christians viewed the saints not as remote beings unaware of the happenings on earth, but as beings all around them “surrounding them as a great cloud of witnesses”(Heb 12:1). They saw intercession in the saints (elders) and angels who surround the throne in heaven and are seen taking the prayers from the holy people on earth and offering them to God in the form of incense (Rev 5:8).
To learn more about why Catholics believe what they do about saints biblically and how a relationship with saints can change your life, read Dr. Scott Hahn’s book “Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God's Holy Ones””, available at Catholic Supply. This All Saints Day let Catholic Supply help you increase your relationship with Jesus Christ through having a real understanding and personal relationship with His saints.
Posted by: Chris Baer M.T.S.
Catholic Supply of St. Louis
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