4.15 What is a saint?
Some Christians lived in such a special way that those who met them had the impression they were encountering Jesus himself, so to speak. Their ‘heroic virtue’ was not mainly found in the things they said or did, but in their way of life.
It is as if they were always connected to Jesus, in everything they did. In this way they allowed the Holy Spirit to help them live as good Christians in faith, hope and love. They became an example for all other Christians, and are called ‘holy’ or ‘saint’.
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What does the “communion of saints” mean?
The “communion of saints” is made up of all men who have placed their hope in Christ and belong to him through Baptism, whether they have already died or are still alive. Because in Christ we are one Body; we live in a communion that encompasses heaven and earth.
The Church is larger and more alive than we think. Among her members are the living and the deceased (whether they are still undergoing a process of purification or are already in the glory of God), individuals known and unknown, great saints and inconspicuous persons. We can help one another even beyond the grave. We can call on our patrons and favorite saints, but also our departed relatives and friends whom we believe are already with God. Conversely, by our intercessory prayer, we can come to the aid of our dear departed who are still undergoing purification. Whatever the individual does or suffers in and for Christ benefits all. Conversely, this unfortunately means also that every sin harms the communion. [Youcat 146]
Are we all supposed to become “saints”?
Yes. The purpose of our life is to be united with God in love and to correspond entirely to God’s wishes. We should allow God “to live his life in us” (Mother Teresa). That is what it means to be holy: a “saint”.
Every man asks himself the question: Who am I and why am I here, how do I find myself? Faith answers: Only in holiness does man become that for which God created him. Only in holiness does man find real harmony between himself and his Creator. Holiness, however, is not some sort of self-made perfection; rather, it is union with the incarnate love that is Christ. Anyone who gains new life in this way finds himself and becomes holy. [Youcat 342]
The saints expressed in various ways the powerful and transforming presence of the Risen One. They let Jesus so totally overwhelm their life that they could say with St Paul “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Following their example, seeking their intercession, entering into communion with them, brings us closer to Christ, so our companionship with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from their fountain and head issue every grace and the life of the People of God itself. [Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 13 Apr. 2011]