One of the problems in our Church today, is that many who receive weekly RCIA learn the tenets of our faith, but since there is so little time to cram in 2000 years of rich history, there is little emphasis on the saints, who should be our intercessors and examples of how to live a holy life, no matter our station in life. Sometimes we read their lives and say, well that was all fine and good then, but what about here and now?
The Magnificat (which I highly recommend to all Catholics and Christians) does a wonderful job of introducing us to old and new heavenly friends, who can pray for us, offer us comfort and basically intercede for us in our daily life.
Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God. (2:19)
Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).
People can ask why we pray to the saints when we can ask the Lord directly for what we need? The intercession the saints in heaven does not interfere with Christ’s unique mediatorship .
Of course, we should pray directly to Christ with every pressing need we have. The prayers of the Mass, the central act of Catholic worship, are directed to God and Jesus, not the saints. But this does not mean that we should not also ask our fellow Christians, including those in heaven, to pray with us.
Since the practice of asking others to pray for us is so highly recommended in Scripture, it cannot be regarded as superfluous on the grounds that one can go directly to Jesus. The New Testament would not recommend it if there were not benefits coming from it. One such benefit is that the faith and devotion of the saints can support our own weaknesses and supply what is lacking in our own faith and devotion.
Personally, I could use all the help I can get in this life, so if I have friends in heaven who can intercede for me, all the better. And as to His Mother (mine also) I trust her intercession more than any. As a spouse of Christ, why should I not ask my “mother-in-law” to help me out in my relationship with her Son?
In addition to our prayers directly to God and Jesus (which are absolutely essential to the Christian life), there are abundant reasons to ask our fellow Christians in heaven to pray for us. The Bible indicates that they are aware of our prayers, that they intercede for us, and that their prayers are effective (else they would not be offered). It is only narrow-mindedness that suggests we should refrain from asking our fellow Christians in heaven to do what we already know them to be anxious and capable of doing.
|Communion of Saints- Elise Ritter- USA|
from “For All the Saints,” William W. How, 1864