Sainthood is a position or honour bestowed on people who have lived an exemplary life of heroic virtues or died professing the faith and are believed to be in heaven. The process of becoming a saint is a very complex one. A person can only be considered for sainthood after five years of death and a miraculous event or occurrence must be attributed to the person.
Who is eligible for sainthood?
According to the Divinus Perfectionis Magister, every child of God is eligible for sainthood so long they gave outstanding testimony to the kingdom of God by shedding their blood (martyr) or through the heroic practices of virtues throughout their lifetime (confessor).
Is sainthood still achievable in today’s world?
With the current happenings in today’s world, it is really difficult for people to achieve sainthood as walking the path requires a great deal of determination and sacrifice. People no longer take the scriptures seriously and, those who manage to, end up interpreting it to suit their selfish reasons.
Many churches and youths have digressed from the basic teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ and are now deeply engrossed in the preachings of prosperity and quick wealth. This has, in many ways, affected youth’s perception of Christianity and what it stands for.
But sainthood is still achievable if you dedicate your life to following the teachings of the holy scriptures and shaping your life to follow the path that Jesus laid down for his disciples to follow.
These teachings have been categorized into virtues known as cardinal virtues and theological virtues. The cardinal virtues include prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice, while the theological virtues include faith, hope, and charity.
How to achieve sainthood through the practice of virtues
The four cardinal virtues, also known as the four principal moral virtues was first used by Plato before it made its way into Christianity through Aristotle.
These virtues represent the foundation of natural morality and can be learned by anyone.
This virtue is seen as the foremost virtue as it has to do with intellect. Prudence is the virtue that allows us to judge correctly what is right from what is wrong in any given circumstance.
When we choose an evil option over the good, we are not exerting prudence – in fact, we are displaying our lack of it. Because it’s not difficult to fall into error, prudence requires us to seek advice from others, especially those we know to have a good sense of morality. You display impudence when you disregard the warnings and advice of those whose judgment does not coincide with yours.
According to Saint Thomas, justice is the second cardinal virtue because it has to do with the will. A lot of people also regard it as the most important of the four, and it is related to righteousness and fairness.
Justice can be explained as the recurring determination to give everyone his or her rightful due. In other words, no matter what our idea of a person is, we must give to them what we owe them or what they deserve. This is why we say that “justice is blind.”
This virtue is the fundamental morality that binds us together as humans.
A lot of saints stood for justice and fairness, even to their last breath. Make sure you stand on the side of fairness in whatever you do, and if you’re in the position to seek justice for the oppressed, make sure to seize the opportunity.
This virtue is equivalent to endurance and strength. Fortitude means that although we experience challenging life situations, we persevere and find the strength to keep going until we reach a better outcome for ourselves and loved ones.
Fortitude is sometimes mistaken for courage, but it is quite different from what we interpret courage to be nowadays. A person exercising fortitude doesn’t seek danger for danger’s sake but perseveres only in reasonable circumstances.
Saint Thomas declared temperance as the fourth and final virtue. While fortitude helps us overcome our fear so that we can act, temperance helps us restrain our passions or desires. Drinks, food, and sex are all critical for the survival of the human race. But when we exhibit an excess desire for any of these goods, it can have disastrous consequences, both physically and morally.
This virtue helps us to acknowledge the fact that as human beings, we are prone to addiction. But this addiction is not only limited to sex or food, but it is anything that you become obsessed with and find it difficult to stop.
This can include fitness, beliefs, and even work. Our ability to identify this addiction and work towards keeping them in check is what this virtue is all about. It helps us find a balance between fair usage and addiction.
There are three theological virtues and are considered the gifts of God that we receive freely, without having to work for them. They are always with us, and it’s entirely our choice to accept and use them.
This virtue can be defined as the assurance or confidence in things we hope for but haven’t yet received. This is the virtue that allows us to believe without a doubt that God exists and will cater to our needs when we call on him. However, there’s a popular saying that faith without works is dead.
This means that just believing in the goodness of God is not enough; we must show it in our everyday lives. This faith in God and his works us to be obedient and strive towards changing the way we live our lives.
Hope has to do with a desire for things to change for the better. It is the expectation that God will grant eternal life and the means to obtain it.
In hope, expectation, and desire are intertwined, even though we recognize that there will be difficulties along the way in order to achieve everlasting union with God.
Also known as love, charity is considered as the greatest of all theological virtues. It can be explained as the divine grace by which a person loves God above all things, as well as others for God’s sake. Although a genuine charity can be considered as an act of free will, we cannot initially acquire it by our own actions, except God gifts it to us.
There is no clear path to achieving sainthood, especially in our current society, where immorality and corruption is the norm. But by practicing the virtues and incorporating them into your daily life, you are more likely to achieve sainthood.
Make sure to live a holy and exemplary life fully dedicated to the works of God, help the needy when you can, love everyone equally, stand for justice and fairness in the face of adversity, and God will surely reward your good deeds.