The basics of relics

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Will Wilder is back to protect the town of Perilous Falls after he’s given an amulet with a lock of Samson’s hair. But Will’s strength will be pushed to the limit when a new demon causes unimaginable havoc. Will Wilder yearns to join the Perilous Falls Middle School football team. But he was never big enough or strong enough to make the cut, until he comes in contact with a talisman containing the fabled locks of Samson. But using the Amulet of Power attracts dark forces to Perilous Falls like moths to a flame. Suddenly, hunched creatures are shadowing people around town, graves are being disturbed, the music of a mysterious DJ lulls half of Perilous Falls into a stupor, and to top it all off, Will is convinced that a teammate may be a demon himself! As he tries to identify the demon before it causes untold havoc, Wilder family secrets will be unlocked, the limits of physical strength and the power of friendship are tested–and Will might even score a touchdown or two.

Discussion with Children:

Will Wilder Book 3: The Amulet of Power follows the same format and style of books 1 and 2. This book ends on a pretty series cliff hanger so that we can expect a fourth. All three of the books in this series mentions and deals with a lot of relics. At the end of the book, Raymond Arroyo discusses his books’ relics and where they currently reside. I found this section to be fascinating.

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, a relic is 1) an object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest, 2) a part of a deceased holy person’s body or belongings kept as an object of reverence, and 3) an object, custom, or belief that has survived from an earlier time but is now outmoded.

Catholics have three relics classes:
First-Class are remains of a saint.
Second-Class are tools or objects that saints used in their lives.
Third-Class are items that have touched a first-class relic.

Children might have some questions about relics. I will address some common ones.

1) Why do Catholics have relics?

Relics are permitted because Catholics believe we are both spiritual and material. We cannot separate the spiritual from the material. Therefore, we use the material to help our spiritual. For example, we use our material bodies to help us pray, which is spiritual. We kneel, genuflect, make the sign of the cross, use prayer hands, bow our heads, etc. We use pictures or statues to focus our attention on what we are doing or remind us of things holy. My husband’s family recently lost someone. I have placed a picture (material) of this person on my fridge. Every time I see the image, this reminds me to pray (spiritual) for him.

God and Jesus have both used the material to help:

Num 21:8-9: The Lord said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover. Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.”

Jn 9:1-7: As [Jesus] passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned, it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. . . . When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam.’ So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

It was not the bronze serpent that healed the people, nor the mud that healed the blind man. It was God alone.

2) Do relics have magical powers?

Relics do not have magical powers, as Catholics don’t believe in magic. In magic, it is the object that contains the power. For example, if I had a magical staff that caused rain, God would HAVE to make it rain every time I used the staff. The magic in the staff would control God. Catholics do not believe relics have any power in and of themselves. All holiness in the relics come from God and God alone. We do not control God with relics. They are objects that God can use to accomplish His will. Just as God used the bronze serpent, and Jesus used mud to heal.

3) Are relics biblical?

Yes.
Ex 13:19 Moses and Joseph’s bones
2 Kings 2:13-14 Elisha uses Elijah’s mantle for a miracle
2 Kings 13:21 A man comes back to life by touching Elisha’s bones
Mt 9:20-22 A woman is healed by touching the tassel on Jesus’ cloak
Mk 6:56 Many are healed by touching the tassel of Jesus’ cloak
Acts 5:12-15 believers wanted Peter’s shadow to heal them
Acts 19:11-12 Cloths or aprons that had touched Paul were able to heal

These are the ones that quickly come to mind. I am sure there are many more examples in the bible of relics.

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