Relics in the Shrine of All Saints at St. Martha of Bethany Church in Morton Grove, Illinois
A relic can be anything from the past that has survived to the present. In some branches of the Christian Church, relics are more specifically either the bodily remains of the saints or their clothing, items they used, things they touched or which were touched to their remains, or things associated with the life of Christ or of his blessed mother. Throughout history, many people have venerated holy relics because the saints’ bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit, through which each of them, in their own individual ways, channeled the presence of Christ to their contemporaries. In the early Christian era and in the Middle Ages, people believed that the aura and the energy of the saints continued to exude from their remains, even after their deaths. Just as people who knew the saints personally during their lifetimes often experienced them as radiating Christ’s presence through the many ways they were a blessing to others, so honoring their remains and their images were considered valid ways of honoring them and of imploring their assistance.
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