Do You Have to Be a Saint to Be in Heaven?

Do You Have to Be a Saint to Be in Heaven?

Much like the answer to many good Catholic questions, the answer to this question is both yes and no. A saint is someone who is in heaven, and by virtue of this definition, yes, you do have to be a saint to be in heaven.


However, due to her capitalization of the word “Saint,” I think that this student was asking if you must be a canonized saint to be in heaven. The answer to that question is no.


St. Teresa of Calcutta, when someone referred to her as a living saint, once said, “holiness is not the luxury of a few people, but a simple duty for you and me.” She then emphasized that each person has a unique call from the Lord to fulfill and she was simply another ordinary person fulfilling her call. 


At our baptism, we were each anointed as a priest, prophet, and king. This does not mean that we are all called to be ordained priests, foretell the world's end, or rule an empire.


To be a priest is to shepherd the particular flock that the Lord has given us with great love and care. For parents, their particular flock is their children. For those in the business world, their particular flock may be the team of employees they manage. We are called to be spiritual mothers and fathers in many other ways: by serving as catechists, tutoring students, or even simply getting to know our neighbors. 


To be a prophet is simply to speak the truth. We are all prophets when we stand up for what is right, no matter what others think. To be a king is to have dominion and use that power for good. We are all kings when we use our influence to advocate for those whose voices are less likely to be heard.


This Lent, I invite you to remember that you are called to be a saint. Reflect on the simple duties the Lord has put before you each day as opportunities to grow in holiness. Ask the Lord how He wants you to exercise your roles as priest, prophet, and king for the good of the world. 


Jocelyn Johnson

Youth & Young Adult Minister