As I waited for my duffle to make its way around the baggage carousel, an unfamiliar voice said, “You’re a saint!” I looked up but didn’t see anyone I recognized.
“I don’t think I could have put up with all that seat-kicking.” The voice came from a man a few feet away, also waiting for his bags. “I was sitting across the aisle, a row behind you. I don’t know how you endured that for a whole flight!”
My wife and I had just arrived in Dallas on a nonstop flight from Orlando. A family returning from a week long trip to Disney was sitting next to us and behind us. I felt the energy of the two little boys behind us as they ate snacks, played with toys, watched videos, and bounced around for the whole two hour flight. We know what it’s like to travel with little ones, so we weren’t surprised. We’re used to having young grandchildren around, too, so it was just another one of those days. I really didn’t think that much about it.
But it got me thinking: what are the qualifications for sainthood? Was that honor harder or easier to achieve than a flight home from the Magic Kingdom? I learned that there are five steps.
You have to die. The process of becoming a saint begins five years after your death.
You must be a “servant of God.” That seems a bit subjective. It involves an examination of your life and deeds. Witnesses testify to your holiness and virtue. It’s kind of like listing three references for a job.
You must show proof of a life of “heroic virtue.” This means that others have been led to pray because of your life of service and virtue. If you make it to this stage, you attain the title venerable.
A miracle is attributed to prayers made to you. As a citizen of heaven, you can intercede on behalf of others. At this point, you are beatified, that is, you are granted the title blessed.
A second miracle is attributed to prayers to you. However, if you die as a martyr, only one miracle is necessary. A special canonization mass and prayer are spoken, and you are now a saint.
Other than being mortal, or having the patience to fly with children, I doubt if I’ll ever qualify for the title of saint.