Our Models

It is advisable that we choose as a model a saint whose position and calling were similar to our own.

Each saint (usually) excelled in the practise of one particular virtue and that the actions of each were suited to and in conformity with the circumstances, the environment in which they were placed; for example their calling, their means, their bodily strength and natural temperament.

The Church knows that the veneration of the saints is good and useful for us; consequently; the name of a saint is given to a child who is made one of the members of the church at Baptism; the same is done at Confirmation. Socrates of old used to advise parents to give the names of virtuous persons to their children in order to encourage them to imitate their example. Alexander the Great used to say to soldiers who had the same name as himself: “Either take another name or see that thou dost credit to my name”. Therefore the child being baptised or confirmed is placed under the special protection of an angel or saint who is to serve as a model to them and acts as an incentive to the bearer to live a Christian life and to be worthy of their saint’s name. The Church does not approve of the giving of heathen or fantastical names to children and will not give them in Baptism though they might write them in the register. Every child must have at least one saint’s name. In the early history of the Church; when Confirmation followed immediately after Baptism, no other name was given to that given in Baptism. But when in after years, the convert got into the habit of retaining his heathen name after Baptism, he was made to take the name of some saint at his Confirmation. The idea was that he was to look upon the chosen saint as his model in the spiritual warfare; as a soldier looks to his general. And he whom he chose for his pattern on earth, he was to invoke as his intercessor in Heaven.

Every day in the year one or more of the saints are commemorated, their statues and pictures are placed in churches, their names are mentioned in the Mass and they are invoked in public litanies and public prayers. The Church does this in order to incite us to their imitation. While

Christ surpasses the saints infinitely in perfection; though we are told to strive for perfection and we should do so; the example of the saints is definitely within our reach.

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