Goffine’s Devout Instructions – The Veneration of the Saints

What is it to venerate the saints?

To venerate the saints is to show veneration, love, and confidence towards these friends of God and co-heirs with Christ who, out of love for Him, have gone through the fight, are now honored by Him (Psalm 138:17), and reign with Him in eternal happiness.

Does not the veneration of the saints infringe upon the honor due to God?

No; it is rather a confirmation of it, since it refers only to God, and, in the saints, honors only Him.

Are we permitted, then, to venerate the saints?

Yes; and not only permitted, but it is good and useful to do so if we would honor God.

Is it also lawful to venerate the relics of the saints, that is, their bones, and articles that belonged to them?

Without doubt it is. This, indeed, has been the unbroken practice, both under the Old Law and the New, from the earliest times; and God has sanctioned it by the most remarkable miracles. Thus He brought a dead man to life by the bones of Eliseus (IV Kings 13:21). The woman troubled with an issue of blood was made whole by barely touching the garments of Christ (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:29; Luke 8:47). By the shadow of Saint Peter (Acts 5:15), and the handkerchiefs and aprons of Saint Paul (Acts 19:12), different diseases were cured, and evil spirits expelled.

Why ought we to venerate the relics of the saints?

The reason is well given by the Council of Trent (Session 16). They are precious remains of those bodies which, in their life time, were members of Christ and temples of the Holy Ghost, and which shall one day be raised up and glorified.

– Goffine’s Devout Instructions