The Saints Chronicles (Collection 1-4)
For Easter, my children received the first four collections of The Saints Chronicles. These are graphic novels, and each collection depicts the lives of six saints. I liked these graphic novels. They didn’t detail the saints’ lives as a legend but kept them rooted in historical fact, as much as possible as some saints were from the first century.
Collection 1: Patrick, Jerome Emiliani, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Henry Morse, and Joan of Arc.
Collection 2: Anne Line, Brigid of Ireland, Francis of Assisi, Nicholas, Pachomius
Collection 3: Antony of Padua, Ava, Samson, Bernadette, Charles Lwanga
Collection 4: Willibrord, Margaret of Scotland, Stanislaus, Rose of Liima, Dominic
Discussion with Children: As Catholics parents, it is essential to teach our children about our Catholic understanding of the saints, for many reasons. As Catholic, they will be questioned, harassed, and mocked because of our relationship with the saints. While this is a broad topic, I would start with two concepts to first teach our children. 1. We do not worship saints – 2. Reasons why we pray to the saints.
We honor the saints for the great virtue they exhibited on earth, but we do NOT worship them as worship belongs to God alone.
It is important to learn about the lives of the saints, because the more we know about them, the more we understand how God works in our lives here on earth. We can learn how much God can accomplish through His followers. It is the same when we read about those in the Bible (Ruth, St. Paul, Abraham, Noah, Stephen, etc.). St. Paul tells us to be imitators of him (1 Cor 11:1). We should imitate followers of Christ who exhibited great virtues in their lives? To do so, we need to learn about their lives and read their writings.
The saints were only able to accomplish all that they did, because of God. When we study the saints, we learn that all of them considered themselves to be “wretched” people who were unworthy of God’s love because of their sins and attachment to earthly things. They recognized that anything good they accomplished was ONLY because of the graces, fortitude, or strength God gave them and not anything they did by their own merits. Honoring the saints IS honoring God.
St. Teresa of Calcutta has a famous quote in her book The Joy in Loving: “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything, and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil, and He has to sharpen it a little more.”
The stories of the saints remind us that God has a unique mission for all of us, and we can trust Him to accomplish His will in our lives. We only need to follow Him in all circumstances.
The biblical reasoning and understanding as to why we pray to the saints.
We are all connected to each other through Christ. Jesus described Himself as the vine, and we are the branches connected to the vine: Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing (Jn 15: 4-5). St. Paul describes this as being “one body in Christ” (Rom 12:5). Jesus in His final hours prayed that we would all be one, “And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one . . . “(Jn 17:22-23).
The Church calls those united to Christ as the “Communion of Saints,” which exists in three states: Church Militant (those still on earth), Church Suffering (those in purgatory), and Church Triumphant (those in heaven) (CCC 954). As Christians, we believe in everlasting life. Therefore, physical death does not separate the Body of Christ. Our union as the Body of Christ endures beyond death.
On earth, we pray together and intercede for each other. Those who have died continue this as they are still united with us through Christ. CCC 957 states, “Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ. . . ”
We are instructed to pray for each other through our one mediator Christ Jesus (1 Tm 2:1-6), which continues into our everlasting lives. Revelations 5:8 depicts those in heaven offering the prayers of the holy ones to God, which means they know of our prayers and are offering them for us.
CCC 2683 – The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him, and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.” Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and the whole world.
“[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Rev. 8:3-4).
Great discussion regarding the communion of saints. Did your kids like the books?
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Yes! The graphic novel aspect gets them more interested compared to novels of the saints that I have given them.