I firmly believe God has a sense of humor. Because why else would he have created one in human beings? (Well, in most of us, anyhow.)
So here’s one of my favorite religious-related jokes. In a quick search, I can’t find it online so no attribution is given. It was from the early 1990s, I believe. It went something like this:
My greatest fear is not of dying, but rather getting to Heaven to find that Mother Teresa is the person in line ahead of me. Her life story has been put forth in this HUGE volume. Saint Peter turns page after page, reading about her dedication to helping the poor. Coming to the end, Saint Peter looks up at Mother Teresa and asks, “So…what else have you done?
Mother Teresa died in 1997 but was not canonized (officially declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church) until September 2016 by Pope Francis. It turns out the process to be declared a saint is neither quick nor easy.
In the first place, before the process begins you have to be dead. And usually you have to be dead at least five years, although that time restriction can be waived by the Pope.
Step two is that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints needs to open a case. They investigate and review the evidence for the person having been a servant of God.
If said Congregation for the Causes of Saints comes to the conclusion that the person lived a life of heroic virtue, they send along the recommendation to the Pope.
Then if ONE verified miracle can be truly attributed to prayers to the deceased saint-in-waiting, the person can be declared as beatified. In the Roman Catholic Church, this means the deceased is in a state of bliss in Heaven and is able to intercede with God. Congratulations! You’ve just overcome the first hurdle to becoming a saint.
But the deceased needs TWO verified miracles attributed to prayers to them in order to seal the deal on sainthood.
I warned you that the process wasn’t quick or easy.
I had no inkling that being declared a saint depended on miracles that occurred due to people praying to you after you were dead.
Is it just me or do you find that odd? Well, maybe not odd, but unsettling somehow.
Mother Teresa was considered by most people to be a caring, selfless, woman of God who worked with the poor, the disenfranchised, the forgotten. To me her entire life seems like it should be the basis for sainthood.
Here is my favorite Mother Teresa quote: “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”