Sunday, April 25, 2010

40d - "SAINTS"

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TODAY'S THEME

In a popular TV quiz show in the U.S.A. I happened to be viewing recently along with my wife, the contestants were asked to name the only Hawaiian to have become a Saint. I have known for many years of a procedure by which a prominent Christian Church periodically nominates a deceased church member they have determined had lived a sufficiently exemplary life to be designated a Saint. That church has a specific set procedure to bring those relatively few, so chosen, to become canonized or officially named saints!

After watching that quiz show I checked the Internet and found the following which I have summarized below the photographs of the only Hawaiian Saint:






Father Damien as a Young Catholic Priest and later in his life after having contracted leprosy.

He was a Flemish Catholic Priest, who, though not meeting all the requirements of Catholic priesthood, learned to speak Latin the language of that priesthood, from his brother who was already a Catholic Priest. When his brother, because of illness, was unable to take an assignment he had been given to serve their church in Hawaii, Father Damien, was assigned to travel to Hawaii to serve in his brother's place there. He  actually was ordained a priest in Hawaii after arriving there.

Father Damien sacrificed much when he chose to serve the Hawaiians in the Lepers' Colony located on one of the islands there. Eventually he too contracted leprosy and eventually died of it. He was recognized by the Hawaiians he served as a hero and was nominated by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Rome, Italy to be designated a Saint.

More than 500 Hawaii pilgrims joined tens of thousands of people at a canonization mass at the Vatican in Rome, Italy which was held under the direction of Pope Benedict XVI. Monday, October 12, 2009. On that day Father Damien officially became a "Saint" of the Roman Catholic Church.

After reading a brief history of Father Damien on the Internet I came to appreciate the exceedingly great selfless service he rendered to afflicted Hawaiians much of his life. However, I have to question his church's practice of officially naming deceased members of their church, Saints! It appears to set them apart from the rest of members of the church both living and dead who may also have been living "saintly lives" After all, it appears that it is not God who declares such persons Saints, but rather, the leaders of a church who have clearly assumed the right to make a final judgment, based on their following strict, set guidelines, that that person had become sufficiently qualified in his/her lifetime to be officially termed a Saint.

I searched the Holy scriptures to find the definition of "Saint" used in them. Here are several I found, both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ and from the Doctrine and Covenants: This first is from the second book:
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (emphasis added)
That scriptural definition allows for each of those who are actively and sincerely involved in the Lord's Restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be classified as saints. A person doesn't have to be a dead martyr or any kind of publicly acclaimed hero to be thought of as a saint. In the following scripture the Apostle Paul gives further clarification to what a Saint is.
Ephesians 1: 1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (the day in which we now live) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. (clarification and emphasis added )
What more assurrance does a living saint of God need than that which is given in verses 4 and 13. That which is in verse 4 has to do with the foreknowledge of God, not of any predestination that precludes our using our free agency in choosing the direction we choose for our lives. That which Paul writes about in in the highlighted portion of verse 13 has to do with the great blessing that comes to proven individuals who are sealed by that holy Spirit of promise which is a very personal assurance far superior to any other kind of approval.

Then I found this question while searching the Internet for information about Saints. It surely was asked by a member of the church who nominates people they consider to be spiritually accomplished, as saints: Why is it some Christians feel it is OK to ask a friend or family member to pray for them but not a saint?

I, Neil Birch, have read of very good people not of my religion who have asked (prayed to) the Virgin Mary (an approved saint of the Catholic Church) and also to other approved, (by their Church) saints for assistance. However, doing that is not in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Lord's Restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I agree fully with my Church's stand!

I then turned to the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ to read the words spoken by our Savior Jesus Christ to a large gathering of his saints A.D. 34 in what is now known as Central America, shortly after His resurrection from the dead and His glorification.
3 Nephi 23: 9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them? (emphasis added)
This took place long before the Roman Catholic Church even existed so the saints Jesus referred to in the scripture above did not include individuals chosen to be saints through that church's Sainthood procedures.
And now a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants. In it we are told of the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ which will occur at the end of the earth in the form it now is in:
D and C 45: 44 And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.
45 But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud. (emphasis added)
And here is another scripture quoting the Apostle Paul:
Romans 1: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis added)
Here are two other significant scriptures which bring the truth to light about this matter.

2 Nephi 9: 18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever. (emphasis added)
3Nephi 18:16 And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.

17 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto his Disciples, he turned again unto the multitude and said unto them:

18 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.


19 Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;
20 And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.

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This website is not owned by or affiliated with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church.

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I deeply appreciate your readership and hope you found very beneficial, that which was presented to you in this blog post.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: jneilmelva@gmail.com. If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.

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Neil Birch

4 comments:

IdellA231_Fecteau1 said...

A bad excuse is worse than none. ....................................................

Yeti said...

Wow Brother Neil! What a great post on the definition of 'Saint'. I enjoyed reading the bit about why Catholics pray to saints.

Neil Birch said...

I Neil Birch, the author of this post now quote something I quoted in my post above from a Catholic writer:

"Why do Catholics pray to saints when they can go straight to God? Catholics appear to ask their saints to mediate for them. One reason they give is that their saints are closer to God than we are here on earth. Let us say there is a job you want in a certain company and you know someone who is a friend of the Boss who is hiring. Would you go directly to the Boss or would you rather your friend speak about you to the Boss first? How about another example, there is always that certain person you know, whether it be your pastor, priest, or friend, whom you always feel that their prayers are stronger for what ever reason, and when you ask them to pray for your important need, you feel a confidence that God will surely hear your request now. This is the same reasoning that Catholics use when they ask a saint to help them pray for a certain intention. You know that the saints prayers are a lot stronger than your own because they are perfected and in Heaven with God."

I, just quoted the above statement made by a Catholic writer, so I could make an important point!

In this Post I quoted from a 3 Nephi 18: 16-20 (Book of Mormon) scripture in which the Lord commands His people, the Nephites, during His visit with them in Ancient America not very long after His resurrection, that just as He prayed to Heavenly Father,in great unshakable faith, so also should they always pray to Heavenly Father (in his (Jesus')name). Please go back up into my post and read each of those verses! (It won't take long!)

For sure Jesus' purpose in commanding the Nephites to so do is because He wants each of them (and also each of us who He knew would eventually read the Book of Mormon - which Book He commissioned to be written by Nephite prophets and then translated by His latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith)so we can each can build a strong and direct relationship with Heavenly Father.

Jesus wants each of us to eventually qualify to live, along with our beloved families, including beloved ancestors, with Him and Heavenly Father in their Celestial Kingdom so He wants us to go through the strengthening process of regularly following His great example of direct prayer to His and our, Heavenly Father!

If we follow the procedure of the Catholic writer who was quoted in this post, by sending our prayer through a Catholic Saint, we would be skipping over the strengthening process that comes from praying directly to Heavenly Father.

Also, direct prayer to Heavenly Father is the only way to allow us to expect direct answers from Heavenly Father to us, instead of relying on a Catholic or on any other kind of "Saint" who we believe has a closer relationship with Heavenly Father than we do!

WE EACH NEED THAT CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH HEAVENLY FATHER THAT COMES BY DOING WHAT JESUS INSTRUCTED THE NEPHITE SAINTS, - praying regularly, with great faith directly to Heavenly Father in the name of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ

[I hope that each of you who have read this Comment have already followed my advice to read those few verses from III Nephi Please go back up into this post and read that scripture from 3 Nephi 18: 16-20 (Book of Mormon)in which the Savior commands all to do that!]

I remind you from what was written in this post, Jesus and Heavenly Father want each of us to be Saints (beginning right after baptism into His Restored Church!

Thanks for reading and considering this advice from me! (I really care about your learning TRUTH!

Neil

PS That is why the Lord restored His true and authorized church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (in 1830)so all we could be guided by His authorized prophets of our day and time!

Neil Birch said...

P.S. Forgive me, Yeti, I forgot to thank you for your comment! It was very good!

Neil