We continue the 52 week plan to grow in Catholic Manhood by becoming a better Catholic Son and Catholic Father. In honor of St. Joseph, the great earthly father of God, every Wednesday throughout the year we will look at one of the Catholic Manhood habits to grow in holiness and happiness.

We continue the second major habit this week: Major Habit 2 – Be Continually Formed in the Catholic Church. 

Major Habit 2 can be broken down into three smaller habits. Last week, we studied Habit 7 – Study the Dogma of the Church. 

We turn our attention to Habit 8.  

Habit 8 Study the Lives of the Saints

While all Catholics are considered “saints” as part of the Communion of Saints, Christ’s Holy Catholic Church lifts up particularly saints in Heaven as both models and intercessors for those who remain in the Spiritual Combat on earth. Studying the lives of the Saints helps a man aspire to be holy, gives him a model for how to be heroically holy, and encourages him to seek the supernatural intercession of the Saints who are near to the Trinity. 

Who is a Saint? – A saint is a ““holy one” who leads a life in union with God through the grace of Christ and receives the reward of eternal life” (Catechism). While on earth, all Catholics, despite imperfections due to sin are considered to be “saints” and are part of the communion of saints (CCC 823). Some of those who have died have been recognized (canonized) by the Church as Saints in Heaven given their lives of holiness (CCC 828); all souls in Heaven are Saints.

Who are the Saints in Heaven? – The Church has recognized many Saints over the ages, first among the saints is the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist and the Apostles. In addition, there are some 10,000 others who have been officially canonized by the Church.

Why study the lives of the Saints? – The Church has lifted up the Saints to give hope to those still on earth and to provide the Saints as models of the holy life and as intercessors (CCC 828); because the Saints in Heaven are with God, they have a powerful ability to intercede directly to Jesus Christ on behalf of those on earth who seek their help (CCC 956).  Every man should honor and venerate the Saints, who are older brothers and sisters in Christ, and be formed by their example; the Saints are your ancestors and relatives!

How to study the lives of the Saints – Start by asking God to guide you to the Saints who would be most helpful in your Spiritual Combat. In addition, here are a few ideas to get you started with suggested resources:

  • Study and draw closer to Our Lady (True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort) and St. Joseph (Consecration to St. Joseph by Father Donald Calloway; Custos by Devin Schadt). 
  • Study the Apostles (The Apostles by Pope Benedict XVI). 
  • Study your patron Saint and other patron Saints which may be helpful (vocation, a particular need, location). 
  • Briefly acknowledge the Saints recalled in the daily Mass (Annual Calendar of Saints) or go deeper (Butler’s Lives of the Saints). 
  • Read biographical books of the Saints (Confessions by St. Augustine, Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Liseaux, Mother Teresa, Little Flowers of St Francis; there are many others).

This week’s questions – Each week there are a few questions to help you meditate upon the habit of the week. Here are this week’s questions: 

What will I gain by studying the lives of the Saints?

After praying for God to guide you, who are several Saints which come to mind?

This week’s commitments Making a habit a reality requires commitment to concrete action. Here is this week’s challenge:

Make a list of Saints you would like to study; go online and read about at least one. 

Don’t forget to pray with the ECM Daily Gospel Devotional each day.

Consider listening to the EveryCatholicMan.com Gospel Devotional Podcast to be better prepared for Sunday Mass.

Daily Prayer – During the week, pray this short prayer, or one like it, to become more committed to drawing closer to the Saints :

Almighty Father, thank You for creating and drawing many great men and women to become Saints in Heaven. Guide me dear Father to study the Saints who can be most helpful as models and intercessors for me in my own Spiritual Combat. Amen.