In Catholicism, the role of Saints is an integral part of the faith. In fact, feast days (practice of associating each day in a calendar year with commemoration of one or more saints though prayer or special mention) are given so we may honor those that are in heavenly glory.
These “special mentions” of saints are how we remember their lives. Furthermore, It is often encouraged to read the lives of the saints, so what better way to learn about Catholicism than to read about those who practiced it! When reading about the lives of the saints, I find so many great examples of faith that could be added to Hebrews 11 faith hall of fame.
Some may think the saints are super human or above us, but thats not the case. Do Remember that a lot of those people from the Old Testament faith hall of fame sinned and made careless decisions. The saints were no better. They didn’t wake up and demonatrate perfection daily. However, they were regular people that pursued after charity in the utmost of ways.
The virtues displayed by them can only be accredited by Jesus transforming their lives. Asceticism is a key role of many of the saints lives. Many of them vowed lives of self-denial, piety, and purity in their ways of life which helped them grow intimately closer to God. For instance, St. Rose of Lima, who was beautiful and nicknamed “rose” as a baby, cut her hair due to the attention it attracted by others.
Looking back at their lives, all I know is that I want a faith like that! A faith that shows Jesus Christ in my actions, words, and reverence to God. I want the faith of Josephine Bakhita to understand that God uses our suffering in order to produce a heavenly good that glorifies him. I want a faith like Maximillian Kolbe who sacrificed his life for his fellow inmates life while in a German concentration camp in the 1940s. The life of Aloysius Gonzaga who died only at the age of 23 but yet realized at a very young his desire to be used by God. He even protected himself against temptation from women by looking downward. Taking a page from our Saviors command about temptation (Mat 5:29).
As the opening of Hebrews 12 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:1-2)” we too have such an immense cloud of witnesses to remind us of what great faith looks like. Jesus , who is the chief perfecter of faith in God, can change our lives just like he did with the saints . Only through faith in Jesus , being conformed internally and exteriorly to His image, and fulfilling the commandemt of loving God and loving neighbor can we join the saints in heavenly glory.