The Vatican announced recently that Pope Francis would be declaring Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII as saints.
The two popes will be declared saints in a canonization ceremony sometime later this year.
The three requirements for sainthood are death (natural or martyred), beatification and two evidentiary miracles.
The process of beatification is the declaration by the pope that a dead person is in a state of bliss, constituting a step toward canonization (i.e. to be made a saint); this has always been a vital part of Roman Catholic Church doctrine.
Beatification results from and emphasizes the extraordinary Godly abilities utilized by exceptional individuals within the church while they were living; because of their faith, miracles occurred without the person actually being declared a saint.
Usually reserved for Catholic clerics, nuns (such as Mother Teresa who is not yet a saint but has been beatified) and popes, beatification and the later (usual) sainthood has also been given to individuals of important historical and Biblical significance.
Such historical and Biblical figures are Joan of Arc, the Apostle Paul, Luke and almost all of the original twelve disciples as well as many of the church fathers such as Ignatius, Augustine, Francis of Assisi and many others.
Pope John Paul II, a Pole who was elected in 1978 as the first non-Italian pope in 450 years and who died in 2005, had already been credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease, the same illness he had, before he was beatified in 2011.
Pope Francis had approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul II, the inexplicable curing of a Costa Rican woman who prayed to him for help with her medical condition on the day of his very beatification.
His progression to sainthood is the fastest of any beatified person in modern times.
In the matter of Pope John XXIII (who was beatified in 2000 and known as the “good Pope”), only one miracle is credited to him.
The miracle involves an Italian religious, Sister Catherina Capitani, originally from Cosenza, who belongs to the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. Today she is 69 years old. She was the subject of this miracle in 1966, when she was 22.
The interesting thing is that Sister Catherina Capitani had prayed to the Virgin of Pompeii for her healing prior to an operation for an unusual and uncontrollable life threatening hemorrhage but another sister had prayed to and placed a picture of Pope John XXIII on the operating table prior to the sister’s surgery.
Miraculously, Sister Catherina not only came through the surgery but follow-up surgery the doctors had believed would be essential to her ultimate survival never became necessary.
Today the sister is considered to be doing the near impossible working in hospitals sixteen and eighteen hour days with little effect on her health.
Pope Francis in his decision to simplify the Vatican has waived the customary rules requiring a second miracle after Pope John XXIII’s beatification. The church is delighted with this decision considering the popularity of the “good Pope” John XXIII.
Contrary to the belief of many, miracles do happen and not just in the Bible.
This pastor/writer has witnessed miracles great and small over the years; from needed funding for someone’s home nearly foreclosed on to a woman completely cured of late term, stage four inflammatory cancer and she lives today.
Miracles do require saints to perform them but according to the Bible, anyone can become a saint by simply placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the son of God, repenting of our sin and asking His forgiveness.
Our faith then allows us the divine right to ask God’s intervention in our life or the life of others for healing, provision, strength and so much more.
James the brother of Jesus reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16.
The declaration of these two great popes as saints and their upcoming canonization ceremonies helps to remind us that God is powerful and can do things far beyond man’s comprehension.
Jesus reminds us, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27.
As long as we have faith, no matter how bad, how difficult or how impossible things might seem, God still performs miracles and can make the otherwise impossible, possible.
May God provide the miracle you need in your life right now.
God bless you all.
© 2013 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III