It took me some time to understand and experience first-hand the graces that you can receive through their intercession. By reading about them and visiting their hometowns and seeing their relics, I came to learn about and value their legacy and their importance as instruments of God: "He is not God of the dead, but of the living..." (Mark 12:27)
"I Believe in the Communion of Saints..."
We pray to canonized saints because we know they are already in heaven, and can intercede for us. Just as you would ask a friend or family member to pray for you, it makes sense that we could ask a saint to pray for us. Death does not stop Christians from praying for one another. This is an important part of what it means to be joined in the "Communion of Saints," which is a communion of the souls on earth with the souls in heavenly glory. We are united with one another in the mystical Body of Christ.
Here are some excellent reasons to turn to the saints:
1) They are of our same nature; they were weak like us, and they know, through their own life experiences, our needs, sufferings, and limitations.
2) God wants to make his saints honored on earth, where they served Him and where they lived and died, so He enables them to hear our prayers and pray on our behalf.
3) Their words and example of a holy life helps to point us towards heaven; they deserve our gratitude and reverence.
4) God continuously grants miracles and favors through the intercession of the saints, for they are still serving as instruments of God to confer graces on men.
5) We aren't praying to the dead. The saints are alive! Yes, their souls are separated from their bodies temporarily until the final Resurrection, but the Church reminds us that when our earthly lives have ended, our souls are still very much alive.
In conclusion, saints are the perfect role models for us. They were ordinary people who became extraordinary human beings thanks to their faith in God and their surrender to His loving will. This faith was a gift that they received with open hearts, so that Jesus' promise of eternal life could be fulfilled in them.
For those convinced that we should venerate the saints and give them the honor they are due, the question arises, exactly how do we do this? Continue reading 8 Ways to Venerate a Saint
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How have they played a role in your life?
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This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2016. © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.