Saints & Superheroes

Batman is my favorite superhero.

Wait, no, I think it’s Spiderman.

Or maybe it’s Ironman?

There’s something about superheroes that capture our imagination. The compelling backstories, colorful costumes, and superhuman powers all play a role. But I think the deeper connection is the virtue they embody and the example they set for us. Superheroes stand up for what’s right, fight for justice, and are champions of truth. They represent the best within us. 

We look up to them, hopeful that we too can make a positive difference in some way by imitating their virtues.

Just like with superheroes, when it comes to the saints, I can never decide on a favorite.

St. Joseph? St. Joan of Arc? St. Philip Neri?

The more saints I learn about, the more favorites I collect!

That’s by far one of the most exciting things about the Catholic Church the staggering number of holy men and women to look up to.

Interestingly, just like superheroes that originated from comic books, the saints have some pretty compelling backstories. There are lots orphans with tragic childhoods, not to mention the murderers, the promiscuous, the thieves, the atheists, and even a Satanic priest.

A lot of them had some pretty cool outfits, including capes and armor. 

Although I am unaware of any saints that could shoot webs from their hands or transform into giant green wrecking machines, they all possessed superpowers of a supernatural variety, given to them by the grace of God. This grace gave them the ability to courageously stand up for what’s right, fight for justice, and champion the Truth. 

(Some are even said to have had the ability to fly!)

So what makes a saint?

Well, in a very broad sense, all Christians are often considered saints.

In the strictest sense, a saint is anyone who is living with God in heaven, whether they are recognized on earth or not.

Then there’s the capital “S” Saint, which is the title for a holy person who has been formally canonized by the Catholic Church and who is thought to be in heaven.

To be clear, only God can make a person a saint. The Church does not “make” or “create” saints, it simply recognizes people as saints. It considers them heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration as we strive to imitate Christ.

Some mistakenly believe Catholics worship saints. Nope. We reserve worship for God alone. We venerate (regard with great respect) the saints and look up to them as examples of lives well lived in the faith. Many find comfort in the knowledge that holy people shared in their same struggles, sins, doubts, or hardships and ask specific saints to pray for them, just as we ask our friends on earth to pray for us.

They represent the best within us. We look up to them, hopeful that we too can make a positive difference in some way by imitating their virtues.

There are over 40 superheroes that have graced the silver screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.

Some estimates suggest that there have been 7,000 Marvel superheroes introduced through the comics.

And the Catholic Church has recognized over 11,000 superheroes to look up to in our quest to be more like Jesus. 

How cool is that?!


References:

https://www.britannica.com/story/roman-catholic-saints-hallowed-from-the-other-side

https://uscatholic.org/articles/201310/how-many-saints-are-there

https://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=85711

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint

https://denvercatholic.org/saints-rough-pasts-never-far-gone



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2 responses to “Saints & Superheroes”

  1. […] to discover Catholic Coffee, which combines each of its delicious coffees with an extraordinary saint. The bags themselves are beautiful, and the pairings make me smile. I mean, you’ve got St. […]

  2. […] the Catholic Church, a relic is a fragment of the body or physical possession of a canonized saint that can help us grow closer to […]

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