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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I continue the serialization of Chapter 5 on religion from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity: (I have, though, added the section on Saint Damien.)

How to Become a Saint

The Catholic Church recognizes special people who demonstrate a life of almost perfect virtue, and more. Generally, the Pope first beatifies that individual, particularly when it can be shown that this person performed a miracle. Six years after her death, Mother Theresa attained beatification. But a book (see later section for details) was published showing that she “lost” faith. For sainthood, there must be a second miracle. Thus, miracles are fundamental and necessary for Christianity. Something tells me that Mother Theresa will nevertheless someday attain Saint Theresa status, for there is a plethora of miracles awaiting dredgment.

It is informally reported that 10,000 people have been beatified and 3,000 have attained saintly status. Pope Paul II canonized (process of granting sainthood) 480 individuals and beatified 1340. His staff must have uncovered a whole swarm of miracles, a subject we will later investigate.

There are, of course, saints in the Islamic world. Saints’ tombs are all over the landscape in most Muslim countries.

It is said that India has produced more saints per capita than any other culture. Thus saints can be found in the Hindu tradition.

There are Buddhist saints. Here is an almost sure way to attain living sainthood, something rather difficult in the Christian world, in fact, impossible. Take the case of Japanese Genshin Fujinami, who, for more than seven years, dressed in white, undertook a punishing quest of starvation, isolation and marathon traveling, featuring: 1000 days of running/walking up to 52.5 miles per day, carrying a shovel, length of rope and short sword, the latter two items to commit suicide if he failed to continue the pursuit, and rituals such as sitting in a lotus position for nine days without food, water or sleep. In 2003, at the age of 44, Saint Fujinami became only the 48th Tendai sect marathon monk.

However, in the Buddhist religion, you can aim even higher, for you can also become a Buddha, that is, attain Enlightenment. I’ve long been seeking some answer as to how many have reached this level beyond Gautama himself, and the best I’ve been able to find is a statement that there is Amitabha (monk named Dharmakara) and 28 buddhas of the Pali Canon. But, of course, there must be many more, whatever attainment of those levels might mean.

Josef De Veuster was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium, who took the name Father Damianus (Damien in French). Still only 23, Father Damien came to Hawaii in 1864, and was ordained in downtown Honolulu at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, said to be the oldest in continuous use in the United States. Around this period, the Hawaii Legislature approved a plan to send Hansen Disease patients to Kalaupapa on Molokai, which was signed by King David Kalakaua into law. In 1873 he was sent by the Church to serve the lepers. In 1884 he contracted this ailment, and passed away five years later. Of course, I'm way oversimplifying his life and accomplishments, and there numerous books and TV programs telling his story.

Pope Benedict XVI canonized Father Damien, thus, now, Saint Damien, on October 11, 2009, and cited two miracles, the first involving Sister Simplicia Hue, who, more than a century ago, was dying of ulcerated colitis, prayed to Father Damien, and experienced an overnight recovery. The second, and clincher, was Audrey Toguchi from Hawaii, who prayed to Father Damien and was cured of cancer. These are not exactly walking on water achievements, but the matter of miracles will be discussed in a later posting. Clearly, though, Saint Damien's life was a miracle in itself, and this formality of finding an otherworldly act or two is just that. Let me next provide a quick summary of the major world religions.

Today was healthy day. Dan and I went to his exercise club, where he is training two individuals in racquetball. Dan is a master's champion and represents Head. I walked on a treadmill for an hour, my most significant physical activity since I left Honolulu seven weeks ago. We followed at BJ's with all the salad and soups you can have for $8. In the photo to the left are Dan and his racquetball partners, Gaby with Ryan, and Fred. Fred was particularly proud as I saw him beat Dan today after inventing a new serve. Dan usually wins 99% of the time, it is said. Next, with this fiendish serve, the world championship for Fred.


The Dow Jones Industrials inched up 3 to 10,567 (the Japan Nikkei is at 10,564), while world markets mostly increased. Gold sunk $14/toz to $1108 and oil is at $82/barrel.


Tropical Cyclone Hubert, at 40 MPH, is just striking Madagascar.


1 comment:

Harry said...

Good post, Pat. Mother Teresa's dark night of the soul is not a sign of lost faith in the eyes of the Church. Never has been. Saints Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross are oft-mentioned examples of saints who suffered what they believed to be complete separation from the presence of God in their lives. The Church has considered this part of God's work with very special creatures. Indeed, doubt is part of faith, for many - including me. Even in the state of Louisiana. (HaHa)