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Beatification

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God alone is holy

You alone are Holy, you alone are Lord  », sings the  Gloria. Before evoking the recognized holiness of certain people, in the forefront of which stands the Virgin Mary, the All Holy, we must always keep in mind this fundamental affirmation of our faith.  :  God alone is Holy. It is moreover out of respect for the holiness of God that the people of Israel never pronounce his name.

 

Word "  Holy  originally evokes the idea of separation. But the God of the Bible wants to communicate his holiness  : he is not only holy, he is  also the source of all holiness. By creating humanity out of pure love, God offered it his holiness, invited it into communion with him. The contemplation of this unfathomable mystery fills Saint Paul with wonder:  Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ  ! He has blessed us and showered us with the blessings of the Spirit, in heaven, in Christ. He chose us, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be holy, immaculate before him, in love  (Ephesians 1:3-4).

This call to communion with God is addressed to all, without exception, by means known only to God. The whole history of humanity is unfortunately there to attest that this immeasurable gift was not accepted. However, God does not abandon us to the power of sin and death. Out of love for all humanity, he gives us his Son, Jesus, through whom we are offered salvation. "  He loved the Church, he gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by purifying her by bathing in baptismal water, accompanied by a word  ; he wanted to present it to himself, this Church, resplendent, without spot, or wrinkle, or anything like that.  ; he wanted her holy and immaculate  (Eph 5, 25-27).

Holiness and Baptism

How can we receive, and appropriately welcome, the holiness of God  ? For those to whom the Gospel has been announced and who have had the opportunity to request this sacrament,  God communicates his holiness through the sacrament of baptism. The Second Vatican Council rightly recalls that "  the disciples of Christ have truly become by the baptism of faith, sons of God, partakers of the divine nature and, therefore, truly holy. This sanctification which they have received, they must therefore, with the grace of God, preserve it and complete it by their lives.  (Lumen Gentium 40).

Such, then, is the authentically Christian life  : a life that seeks to preserve and  complete the sanctification received on the day of baptism. For this, we benefit from an example and support. An example, that of Jesus, who is the model of holiness from whom we learn to love in deeds and in truth  : “  love one another as I have loved you  (John 15:12).

 

But we know that an example that is too edifying risks turning out to be overwhelming, inimitable. This is why God wanted that, in addition to the model, we benefit from his support, from the unfailing help of his grace to walk, day after day, in the footsteps of Jesus: “  whoever abides in me and in whom I abide, that one bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing  (John 15:5).

how do you become holy  ?

In the broadest, but also the most exact sense of this term, we can say that we  becomes holy through a life of ever deeper communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, from whom we receive the charity which is  the soul of holiness to which all are called  (Catechism of the Catholic Church  826).

In the vast majority of cases, this holiness remains hidden, known only to God and, possibly, to loved ones. The person concerned, in any case, is completely unaware of it  ; otherwise, it would mean that she would have succumbed to pride and presumption.

 

During his earthly life, the holy person shines by his humility. She is convinced that sin marks her life, as Saint John so clearly recognizes.  : “  if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he who is faithful and just goes so far as to forgive our sins  (1 John 1, 8-9). At most this person will admit  : “  what I am, I am by the grace of God  (1 Corinthians 15:10). Every year, the solemnity of All Saints' Day reminds us of the existence of these very numerous saints.

 

Some of these saints  are canonized.  They are not necessarily the greatest in the sight of God. It is quite possible that in Heaven non-canonized saints precede canonized saints. So what is  meaning of canonizations  ? We can say that it is double  : on the one hand, it is the solemn recognition that these people have heroically practiced the virtues and lived in fidelity to the grace of God, on the other hand, that they are for us  models and intercessors.

Investigations and declaration of heroic virtues

Since communion with God is brought about by invisible grace, the Church must content herself with signs in order to approach the mystery of a person's holiness. These signs belong to very different registers (heroic virtues, martyrdom,  reputation for holiness, miracles...) that should be studied not only thanks to the testimonies collected but also with the assistance of experts in theological, historical, medical matters... To this end, we proceed to  a long investigation.

What is the objective  ? This inquiry is intended to help the Pope achieve moral certainty about the heroic virtues of a deceased person, about his possible martyrdom or about a miracle obtained through his intercession. In this way, he can issue a definitive sentence on the holiness of this person.  ; this is called canonization.

How is this investigation going?  ? Over the centuries, the procedures have evolved a lot. Currently, we proceed in two stages  :  first, a diocesan inquiry, then a Roman inquiry  (see website of  Vatican ). The diocesan inquiry is a canonical process, instructed by the competent bishop, which aims to collect evidence  for and against  the canonization of a person. Once this investigation is completed, all the documents collected (thousands of pages in general) are sent to Rome.

 

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints begins by carefully examining the file sent. In particular, it verifies that the various norms relating to diocesan inquiries have been observed. If this is indeed the case, the cause is then entrusted to one of the rapporteurs of the Congregation. This one,  with the help of someone outside the Congregation (usually someone who took part in the diocesan inquiry and therefore knows the file well) prepares the  position  which is a kind of summary (between 500 and 1000 pages approximately) of the most important points of the file.

 

The  position  is first submitted to historian consultants so that they can comment on its scientific value. It is then submitted (along with the written votes of the historian consultors and any clarifications from the rapporteur) to theologian consultors so that they can study the controversial theological questions if necessary and express themselves on the merits of the cause. The votes of the theologian consultors, as well as their conclusions, are finally entrusted to the judgment of the cardinals and bishops who are members of the Congregation (about thirty).

 

Their opinion is brought to the attention of the  Pope who alone has the right, after having collected all these opinions, prayed and reflected, to decree that a person is holy.

 

For  miracles, we proceed to a  specific inquiry, diocesan then Roman, which has the particularity of involving medical consultants whose conclusions and votes will be submitted to the theologian consultants, cardinals and bishops, and finally to the Pope himself.

beatification or canonization

We sometimes wonder about the difference between beatification and canonization. For a person to be beatified, the Pope must recognize the heroicity of his virtues (he is then qualified as venerable) as well as a miracle obtained by his intercession, after his death. In the particular case of martyrdom, the miracle is not required for beatification. The public worship of this beatified person is however limited to a geographical area or a spiritual family. If a new miracle is obtained through his intercession, after his beatification, the Pope can then pronounce a definitive decree by which the blessed person is raised to the honor of the altars in the whole Church and recognized as a saint.

The cause of Pauline Jaricot

There are two types of causes for canonization: recent causes for which the virtues (or martyrdom) can be proven by the oral depositions of eyewitnesses and old causes where the only evidence is written evidence. The cause of Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862) belongs to this second category.

At the time when this cause was introduced, the procedure provided for an ordinary trial (in other words diocesan) where the first testimonies on his life were received (See his  Life ) and studied his writings (See the  Bibliography ), which was to conclude in Rome with the papal approval which allowed the opening of the apostolic (in other words Roman) process.

 

The Roman archives attest that the cause of Pauline Jaricot, founder of the Works for the Propagation of the Faith and of the Living Rosary, began in Lyons and then entered its Roman phase, when her introduction before the Congregation of Rites (today replaced by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) was approved by Pius XI on Wednesday, June 18, 1930.

 

On Tuesday, February 19, 1963, the same archives mention a general meeting of the Congregation of Rites, in the Apostolic Palace, with cardinals, prelates and theologian consultors, in the presence of John XXIII.

 

On that day, three cases are studied: a miracle attributed to Jean Népomucène Neumann (beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1977), a miracle attributed to Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1975), two American saints, and the virtues of Pauline Jaricot. Unanimously, the cardinals, prelates and consultors voted in favor of the heroic virtues of Pauline Jaricot, which was confirmed by John XXIII on Monday, February 25, 1963.

Aware of the fruitfulness of his works (see page  Works ), more than ever we must ask the Lord for a miracle (see page  Testimonies ), in this case a physical healing through the intercession of Pauline, because we are all eager to see her beatified, then canonized!

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