Characteristics of someone who has the potential to become a saint

The concept of sainthood is common to many religions, both ancient and contemporary. It refers to a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the criteria and processes for identifying and venerating saints vary depending on the context and denomination. In this paper, I will focus on the Christian understanding of sainthood, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, and explore the characteristics of someone who has the potential to become a saint.

According to the Catholic Church, a saint is “one who leads a life in union with God through the grace of Christ and receives the reward of eternal life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 828). The Church also teaches that “all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium, 40). Therefore, every baptized person is called to be a saint, but some are more exemplary than others in their response to this universal call. The Church canonizes some of these outstanding Christians as saints, meaning that they are officially recognized as having lived a heroic life of virtue and are worthy of public veneration and imitation. The process of canonization involves a careful investigation of the candidate’s life, writings, miracles, and reputation of holiness. The Church also consults the opinions of experts and the faithful before declaring that someone is a saint (Code of Canon Law, 1403-1416).

The Orthodox Church also has a similar understanding of sainthood as “the state of being in communion with God” (Ware, 1993, p. 235). However, unlike the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church does not have a centralized authority or a formal procedure for canonizing saints. Rather, the recognition of saints is based on the consensus of the local bishops and the popular devotion of the faithful. The Orthodox Church also emphasizes that sainthood is not a static condition but a dynamic process of growth in holiness. Therefore, every Christian is called to be a saint in progress, striving to attain “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

What are some of the characteristics that mark someone who has the potential to become a saint? Based on various sources from both Catholic and Orthodox traditions, I propose the following four characteristics:

1) Love for God and neighbor: This is the most fundamental and essential characteristic of sainthood, as Jesus himself taught that “the greatest commandment in the Law” is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and that “the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:37-39). Saints are those who love God above all things and express their love for him by loving their neighbors as themselves. They show their love for God by worshipping him, obeying his will, and serving his kingdom. They show their love for their neighbors by being compassionate, generous, forgiving, and respectful. They also love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44).

2) Humility and repentance: Saints are those who recognize their own sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. They do not boast about their own achievements or virtues but rather give glory to God for his grace and gifts. They are aware of their weaknesses and limitations and rely on God’s strength and guidance. They are also willing to admit their faults and seek forgiveness from God and others. They practice self-examination and confession regularly and strive to amend their lives according to God’s will. They also accept correction and criticism from others with humility and gratitude.

3) Prayer and contemplation: Saints are those who cultivate a personal relationship with God through prayer and contemplation. They pray constantly, in good times and bad, in joy and sorrow, in words and silence. They seek God’s presence in all things and in all situations. They listen to his voice in Scripture, tradition, nature, events, and people. They also meditate on his mysteries and mysteries in his life, especially his incarnation, passion, death,
and resurrection. They seek to conform their minds and hearts to his mind and heart.

4) Service and witness: Saints are those who put their faith into action by serving God and others. They use their talents and resources for the common good and for the advancement of God’s kingdom. They care for the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the suffering. They defend justice, peace, human dignity, and religious freedom. They also share their faith with others by word and example. They bear witness to Christ in their words and deeds.


In conclusion, sainthood is a universal call and a dynamic process for all Christians. It involves a special relationship with God and a distinctive way of life. The characteristics of someone who has the potential to become a saint are love for God and neighbor, humility and repentance, prayer and contemplation, and service and witness. These characteristics are not exclusive or exhaustive, but rather indicative and illustrative of the saintly life. They are also interrelated and interdependent, forming a coherent and harmonious whole. write my research paper owl essayservice uk writings. following these characteristics, one can grow in holiness and become closer to God, who is the source and goal of all sainthood.


Catechism of the Catholic Church. (1997). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Code of Canon Law. (1983). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Lumen Gentium. (1964). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Ware, K. (1993). The Orthodox Church. London: Penguin Books.

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