As a Catholic, devotion to Saints has been an integral part of my faith. But contrary to many people’s misperceptions, saints are not worshipped but venerated. We ask for their intercession.
For me, simply put, Saints are our heavenly friends who echo our prayers and worship to God. We ask for their prayers, just as we do with our earthly friends, whom we ask to pray for us and with us, for our different intentions. They are humans with weaknesses and defects, but with God’s grace, they heroically conquered, and are now inspirations for us to love God more.
As we ask for their prayers in God’s name, and as they do pray for us and depend on God with us, God is worshipped and glorified more.
I’d like to believe that I’ve been “good friends” with one such Saint, whom I know has never failed in praying for me: St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as The Little Flower, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Come to think of it, she lived a seemingly ordinarily, short life (a nun, she died at age 24 in 1897). And unlike many other great Saints, St. Therese did not perform any miracles. But her love for God, as manifested in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, says it all — her “child-like”, and solid faith to God, making her one of the Church’s greatest Saints. A Doctor of the Church, St. Therese says herself, “what matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”
And now, what a pleasure it is to know that for the second time for the Philippines, her Pilgrim Relics are here for a visit, and will be touring Luzon and Visayas from January to March for our veneration. I was so fortunate to have joined the procession in Alabang the first time the relics visited in 2000. So much devotion poured back then, and more now, based on TV footages of the relics’ arrival last Tuesday. I can’t wait to make a pilgrimage this weekend!