quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, May 25, 2012

talking about the saints

In recent years I see more clearly how theological inquiry and discussion is distorted and squelched within the fellowship of the saints. Secularism is not just an external phenomena.

Take for instance the attempt to discuss the saints. Immediately, this topic, maybe like others, seems to draw us to a platform of anti-Catholicism and whatever errors there may be, real and perceived, of those who are not of our own particular tradition. The divine dimension to the question of the saints is dismissed, thus negating real and important questions about the saints in their relationship to God. Discussion becomes horizontal, anthropocentric and antagonistic while the vertical or divine dimension is ignored or rejected.

Discussing theology is more than "us vs. them". There is and ought to be a divine dimension to theological discussion. Looking at the saints, without the negative pretexts, we may appreciate other things about this reality:

1) Existence of saints pre-supposes a God who has power over sin, a God who has the power to forgive.
2) Existence of saints pre-supposes faith and the sanctifying work of a holy God.
3) Existence of saints pre-supposes life after death. That is, saints are together with God in heaven, an existence outside of time.

The word "saint" may bring us to suppose a great list of errors of others or lead to endless discussion of the limitless power of sin (and a limited power of God?). On the other hand, the saints may remind us and draw us to place God back in the picture, the God who is Creator of heaven and earth. This may lead us also to appreciate more the shared belief in the Holy Trinity and in our Lord Jesus Christ and help put to rest secular impulse in matters of theological discussion. These are matters of faith.

If for no other reason, the saints may remind us to appreciate that God has power over sin and death. There is something good to say about the saints, they do not exist for their own sake. They teach us something about Christ and God.