"Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God."
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
The Saints As Our Older Brothers and Sisters
by BJ Gonzalvo
We are blessed to have this church family. We are blessed to be in communion with the saints who, as Catholic author Scott Hahn would call, our older siblings. In our communion with the saints, we join them and we join our fellow Christians in being imitators of Christ, and observe those who conduct themselves according to the model that we have in them (Philippians 3:17). Let us look to the saints who, through their faith and imitation of Christ, lead us fellow followers of Christ to living virtuous and pious ways.
There are over 10,000 canonized saints and I hope this site will inspire you to continue to get to know more saints. Their models and examples leave a lasting impression on all of humanity and are very much applicable in our lives today–perhaps even more so today, in our communities, organizations, and our social dealings with others. The saints are our older brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us and are now with God, and who make themselves available to us so that they can show us how we too can get closer to God. And best of all, they are only a prayer away.
We are grateful to the Church for identifying these saints, recognizing them, and telling their stories to us so that we can emulate them and imitate their virtues and apply them to our daily lives. Just like how the young people aspiring to become athletes look up to and model after all-star athletes, we have our own roster of all-star saints to look up to and model after if we want to aspire to live holy and virtuous lives. For those aspiring to become a really good basketball player, one might want to study, learn, and model after Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. They might even want to pick specific skills that they want to develop and model after specific players like maybe work on their long-range shooting like Steph Curry, work on their hang time like Michael Jordan, work on their passing skills like John Stockton, and perhaps combine all these skills into one package to become a well-rounded great basketball player. To translate this into spiritual life, for those aspiring to become holy, one might want to study, learn, and model after Saint Francis’ humility, Mother Teresa’s compassion, and Padre Pio’s perseverance. So just like how athletes today have athletes from the past and present to model after in order to develop into really good athletes, we too have the saints to model after to develop into saintly individuals ourselves.
Not only do we have the saints to model after but we also have them to guide us, lead us, and intercede for us. We are blessed to have their examples to model after and draw strength from so that we can all respond to God’s call to be holy and saintly. Saintliness is not an exclusive call only for the elite few. It is a call for ordinary laypersons like me and you. It is a call we share with the saints. The saints were once ordinary like us but we now recognize them as saints because they responded extraordinarily to God’s call to sanctity . Though they sure are incredibly tough acts to follow, they do provide us with some real-life examples that we can all relate to. The saints’ very human stories tell us that it is possible in our own daily ways to respond to God just like they did. Let us ask them to help us to recognize those God-laden moments and respond willingly and lovingly with faithfulness and holiness. In a time when we are in desperate need of good exemplary figures to take us to a state where we can better realize our full potential as human beings, as children of God called to sanctity and holiness, we are blessed as a family of God to have the saints as our older brothers and sisters lead us and show us the way.