Who Are Saints?
In cynical tones, many refer to others as saints because of the portrayed lifestyle of perfection - the 'goodie two-shoes' that couldn't hurt a fly and acts too holy, some may say. But according to the Reverend J. Oliver Daley of the Ridgemount United Church, as children of God, we are all called to be saints.
"In the New Testament, the word 'saint' is used to identify a Christian. Only three times the word Christian is used, but the word 'saint' is used over 60 times to describe someone who belongs to Christ."
While saints are persons who strive to be Christ-like, there are still misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the concept.
"If I call some people saints, they will blush. For in our understanding of the word, a saint is someone in stain-glass windows, or saints are people who have died after living an exceptional life," said Daley.
He continued: "Some of you would blush if I called you saints because in Jamaican parlance, it means 'cya mash ants'. It suggests being harmless or somebody with an exceptional and perfect life. But you know and I know of our imperfections."
According to the reverend, 'saint' is a synonym for the word 'holy' and refers to an individual who is set apart from the things of the world.
"A saint is a person who lives an exemplary life of integrity and loyalty to the principles of Jesus Christ. A saint is someone on duty for God. Your life is set apart from the world's ideals, principles, aims and objectives, attitudes, behaviours, and habits."
He established that a saint is not only a child of God, but is also selfless and thoughtful, majoring in the interests of others.
"According to the Scripture, a saint is someone who has a selfless approach to life. It's not a bad thing to have a healthy interest in yourself, but according to Philippians 2:3-4: 'Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others'."
He said further: "Life is better lived when we are selfless. This, we need to take to the workplace and to our friendships. When our lives are selfless, we then understand the usefulness of our lives. In our world today self-interest has taken over individuals and institutions."
Daley, in further substantiating his points, said: "The absence of trust implies instability in all aspects of life. Selflessness equals usefulness, and another way the saint is to live is through thoughtfulness.
"In Philippians 4:9, it states: 'Those things, which have ye both learned and received and heard and seen in me do and the God of peace shall be with you'."
For Daley, this passage affirms the imperfections of men, but offers hope for a road to perfection through a mind focused on God.