When is a saint not a "saint"?
This issue of "canonization" can be confusing even to those of us who practice it. Saints are saints are saints whether officially set in the list ("canon" -- hence "canonization" or being added to the "list") of saints or as simply defined by a holy life. So many of the early martyrs are unknown yet are saints; so many everyday people who have never had anyone to plead their cause to be added to the "official" list are saints; so many garnished praise and honor during their lifetimes for their holiness such that they were immediately declared to be saints by those around them because it was obvious to the most casual observer.
Officially declaring someone a saint means that we have scrutinized their lives and their deaths and determined that they continue to work for the salvation of the world. Officially we seek that answer in miracles attributed to their intercession. It is for their works in life that we additionally declare them Fathers or Doctors.
To be declared a saint is for us to acknowledge that the life someone has led has put them fully into the presence of God at their personal judgment. They fit the description from the Revelation of John of those surrounding the throne.
Fulbert falls into that category because he has never been officially added to the canon, but his designation of saint by the local population is sanctioned by the Church and allows them to celebrate his day today. This is true of so many local saints of which we have never heard, including people like my grandmother: perhaps not perfect but brought to perfection. I seem to remember a saying that I cannot attribute to anyone in particular that "we are all saints or on our way to becoming saints" or something like that. The apostle John reminds us of this: "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)
Looking at the brief descriptions of his life, he was well known as a teacher and arbitrator, influential in several ecclesiastical and secular controversies. He was particularly attentive to his flock as bishop, traveling and visiting often. Nowhere do these stories speak of anything but humility and sanctity. I for one will accept his title and ask for his intercessions at the throne without hesitation especially for our bishops and clergy.
You choirs of new Jerusalem,
Your sweetest notes employ,
The Paschal victory to hymn
In strains of holy joy.
For Judah’s Lion bursts His chains,
And crushed the serpent’s head;
And brought with him, from Death’s domains
The long imprisoned dead.
From hell’s devouring jaws the prey
Alone our Leader bore;
His ransomed hosts pursue their way
Where Jesus goes before.
Triumphant in His glory now
His scepter rules all;
Earth, Heav’n and Hell before him bow
And at his footsteps fall.
While joyful thus his praise we sing,
His mercy we implore,
Into His palace bright to bring
And keep us evermore.
All glory to the Father be,
All glory to the Son,
All glory, Holy Spirit, to Thee,
While endless ages run.
-- Chorus novae Ierusalem
Truth to Ponder
I decided to spend a year thinking about the Faith celebrated in the sanctoral calendar. There are also just some events, Scriptural, and other quotes that strike me on random days; or randomly on days, as the case may be.
Saint's Days by Month
Days by Entry