I am sure, to a greater or lesser degree, that most Catholics probably have a favorite saint to whom they call out. Whether it be St. Anthony to help us recover what we have lost, St. Michael when we are in the midst of a particularly strong temptation or St. Jude in the face of an insurmountable problem, we recognize that we need assistance on this perilous journey to God.
While these are some of the more popular intercessors, there are hundreds of holy men and women who have walked the path before us and are now in the presence of God. It is for this reason that we ask those in heaven to assist us with our daily sufferings. We trust that they hear us and bring our cause to God and that, in his great love for us, he listens and responds. This is a miraculous and wonderful blessing for the pilgrim church on earth.
We have yet to move on to heaven, but we have great friends who have received the blessing of eternal life and have been given special power through God to bring us closer to him.
Knowing that we can pray through the saints raises the question: How can we pray through them? We pray by simply invoking their names and asking them to pray to God for us. For example, if we wish to pray through St. Thomas Aquinas for help on an exam, we may say, “St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!” Then we may further ask him what we desire from God. With any saint, we can pray for hope, courage, health, wisdom, patience, peace and consolation. We can pray for ourselves or for others and their salvation.
The saints, with their particular gifts and wisdom, are our great allies in times of need and can always be counted on. If our prayers are for the glory of God, we can be sure they will be heard and answered. The outcome of our prayers depends on our faith in the prayer itself and in God who ultimately hears it.
If we have true faith in God, we can trust that all our prayers are heard. Christians believe that the saints have come to a place of perfect faith in God who they stand before. Thus, they have perfect faith that God will answer the petitions they bring to him. We need not fear that God does not hear our prayers. If it turns out that we do not receive that which we prayed for, we have to trust that God has a different way of answering us. We must always believe that God knows us and knows what we need at every stage in life (Matthew 6:7-8, 25-33).
As we get closer to entering Holy Week, it may be a good idea to spend some time contemplating the lives of the saints and the great love and faith they had in Jesus Christ. Besides Jesus, the saints are the best examples of what a life lived for God truly looks like. If we have faith, we can depend on the saints to be our reliable guides to Heaven and can ask them for the courage to persevere to the end as Christ did.
I encourage anyone who may read this to pray to the saints in any time of need. We cannot make this journey alone. We need the help of our spiritual friends who have made the journey before us. Especially around this time of Lent, let us not forget that Christ’s death and resurrection enabled the salvation of all souls. The saints have been saved in Christ and desire that we come to be saved in him too.
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