Friday, July 30, 2010

Why do Catholics pray to the saints?

Today my friend Chris asked me why we Catholics honor the saints.  Here's my reply!

That is a GREAT question, Chris!  I'm so glad you asked me, and I'll be delighted to answer!

The reason why I consider the saints in Heaven to be my friends is because they are CONSTANTLY at the foot of the throne of God, praying before Him.

I am not so good at remembering to say my prayers.  I forget them, neglect them, get distracted, get sleepy, etc.

So, I ask my friends in Heaven (the saints) to interceed for me.  This means I am asking them to pray on my behalf even when I stop praying for myself and the intentions of my friends.  It is no different than asking a friend here on earth to pray for you.

The beautiful thing about the saints is that I know they will continue to pray for me before the throne of God even when I stop.  They do not get tired of praying and worshiping, for they have the beatific vision of Christ Himself!!

God is sooo generous with His love that He listens to all of us, whether we are saints or not.  And the saints are MADLY in love Him, constantly wanting to adore Him.  I look up to the saints as examples on how I should better serve the God I love.  When I read the diary of St. Therese, I was sooooo impressed with her love for Jesus that it increased my own love for Jesus.  She gave me an outlook on Him that I didn't have before, and--after reading her words--I realized even more how much of a privilege it is to be a child of God!

The saints are people.  They are real people in Heaven.  They are people who want to pray to God for us, for they love us dearly (just as God does) and want nothing more than to unite us with Him.

Many of the saints lived terrible, sinful lives before they finally had a conversion to love God.  Some of these people are SO inspirational because of the way they changed their ways.  Other saints always seemed to be good people.

No matter what, the saints needed God's redemption and mercy to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Anyone who is in Heaven is a saint.  Through life experiences and through Purgatory, a soul is made perfect by God's will in order to be in His Holy Presence.

So, it is very possible that, if you have any family members who have passed away, they are saints in Heaven right now!  The reason why the church does not take the time to investigate whether or not your grandmother (for example) is in Heaven is because your grandmother was probably not known by many people.

Typically, the church investigates the lives of more popular people who had a large influence when they lived.  They will examine all the correspondence this person wrote and they will interview witnesses.  It takes a lifetime after the person has passed away to conduct all this research.  And, even then, two documented miracles must be associated with the saints' intercession before the church will officially acknowledge their sainthood.  If a miracle is attributed to a saint's intercession, that does not mean that the saint did the miracle.  No way!  God alone is the one who did the miracle.  It is merely the saint who begged God, at the foot of his throne, to perform it.

I hope that answers your question!!  I'd love to tell you about the saints that I love.  St. Philomena is my favorite right now!  I'm so inspired by her!  She is a great example of what it means to love Our Lord with your complete body and soul!