How May I Become A Saint?

On September 4, 2016, the late Anjezeo Gonxhe Bojaxhim through canonization, became a “saint” in the Roman Catholic Church. Once she was known as “Mother Teresa.” Her new title is “Saint Teresa of Calcutta.” In her 87 years this formerly obscure nun from Albania became an international celebrity known to millions for her work among the poor and the terminally ill in India and other nations through the religious order she founded - Missionaries of Charity. Along the way she picked up virtually every prize and medal known to man, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Being a bit of a publicity hound, she had her picture in countless newspapers and magazines along with television interviews. Before the Catholic Church proclaimed her a “saint” the public had already made her one.

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Canonization is the culmination of a usually long process (sometimes centuries.) at the end of which the beatified are proclaimed saints and added to a list or canon of approved saints (source). The process includes the church verifying two miracles attributed to this person.

For Teresa, the supposed first miracle occurred in 2002. In 2002 the Vatican recognized as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture. Later, her husband and her doctor claimed the woman was healed using medicine to treat a cyst – not a tumor. On 17 December 2015, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis had recognized a second miracle attributed to her, involving the healing of a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors.

How foreign all this is to simple New Testament Christianity! In the New Testament (KJV), the word “saints” is used 61 times. Contrary to Catholic doctrine it alludes to both living and dead Christians (1 Corinthians 1:2). The word “saints” means “sanctified ones” (Vines). To qualify for sainthood in Lord's church in the 1st century, was to qualify as a Christian – no meeting man-made standards of an observably exemplary life; no long waiting period for a church bureaucracy to approve your “beatification;” no requirement of at least two miracles.

Friends, we need a lot more saints – in the Biblical sense. You and I may become a saint the same way people have for the last two thousand years – by obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:16-18) and remaining faithful to our LordRoelf L. Ruffner

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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