Today we conclude our last part on praying to the Saints. We discussed how praying to the Saints means communicating with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in heaven. This practice was modeled by Christ himself when he spoke with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Far from the forbidden practice of divination, which seeks knowledge or power apart from God, praying to the Saints seeks the intercession of others that we might more perfectly fulfill the will of God in our lives.
However, though it is clear from Scripture that it is acceptable to speak to the Saints and seek their intercession, why bother? Why not just go straight to Jesus?
Three reasons follow:
First, we are mindful that God does not just relate to us as individuals, but as a people. This began in the Old Testament with Israel, his chosen people. It finds its fulfillment in the New Testament when he forms the Bride of Christ, the Church. Since he has chosen to relate to us, not just individually, but as members of the Church, we also pray, not just individually, but as member of the Church. We do this by going to other Christians, both in heaven and on earth, and asking them to join us in praying for whatever graces are most needful to us.
Second, it is encouraged by the Scriptures. St. James, in his epistle, is explicit: “pray for one another.” It is also clear throughout the scriptures that it was the practice of the faithful to regularly turn to God in prayer for their brothers and sisters.
Third, St. James also affirms something we know instinctively: “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” The fact is, though we are happy to have anyone pray for us, when we are really in need of prayers we tend to enlist the help of those we perceive as being particularly close to the Lord. Maybe it is our grandmother who prayed the rosary every day. Or maybe it is the man we see faithfully praying a Holy Hour before the blessed sacrament in the chapel. Whoever it is, if he seems to walk closely with the Lord, we are particularly desirous of his prayers. Who is closer to the Lord than a Saint—those men and women who have attained to perfect union with God and now dwell with him in heaven? For this reason, especially, we seek their intercession as we walk along the path of faith.
Praised be Jesus Christ in his Saints! Now and forever!