Author Topic: Why do we need to pray to saints?  (Read 159 times)

Offline Daniel

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Why do we need to pray to saints?
« on: March 22, 2021, 11:23:42 AM »
What is the correct understanding of this?
 

Online Melkor

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Re: Why do we need to pray to saints?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 11:47:18 AM »
Well firstly, you don't 'pray' to saints. You can only pray to God, in the truest sense of the word pray. We can invoke them and ask for help, but we are not 'worshipping' them in the same way as when we pray to God. Our prayers not only bring more glory to the saints in Heaven, they also cause the saints to intercede for us, and thereby gain more grace.
All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.

"Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented."

G.K. Chesterton
 
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Offline Philip G.

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Re: Why do we need to pray to saints?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 12:30:52 PM »
What is the correct understanding of this?

Do you not have a catechism?
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Why do we need to pray to saints?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 02:05:45 PM »
Daniel,
The entire Mystical Body of Christ is one body, as Christ cannot be divided, as you know.  However, it bears repeating so as to remind ourselves what the three parts are:  Church Militant (the Catholic living), Church Suffering or Sorrowful (Purgatory), and Church Triumphant (saints, canonized and not).  This means an operative mutuality by which, according to where we are, we work together for the sanctification of His Church on earth, the unification of suffering souls with their eternal destiny, and the intercession of the Church Triumphant on behalf of both.

The more sanctified a member of that Body, the more efficacious his or her prayers.  For example, a very holy priest, living personal holiness and graced with the merits of his own office, can often pray more effectively for the same intention others pray for; depends, of course, upon the sincerity of that priest, his personal closeness to God (his level of charity), etc.  I have seen this myself, including quite recently, and I'm sure other forum members here have also seen this.

Imagine, then, a traditional saint well known to us --Therese of Lisieux, St. John Vianney, Teresa of Avila -- with merits and sanctification greater than the holiest priest on earth we know or have heard of -- a soul already in Heaven and enjoying the Beatific Vision -- how powerful that saint's prayers can be.

I also think that we have to work at discovering which saints will be most efficacious for us as individuals and/or relative to the occasion.  One example is the Saint of the Day.  Today's feast belongs to St. Benedict.  I have experienced myself that asking for the intercession of the saint of that day, while at Mass that day, for instance (if available), can bring powerful, "instant" results. I will be going to Mass today and praying for his intercession to help me order my work better for God's glory.

An example of an occasion, not a feast day, is asking for that saint's appropriate intercession, which is why I pray to the legendary confessor St. John Vianney before I examine my conscience and go to confession. For some reason, I am more drawn to pray for his intercession than for Padre Pio's, so some of this is just personality differences, probably.

A Catholic does not have to subscribe to the more customary, tradition with a small t, practice of observing the patronage of specific saints for specific causes and needs, but for some Catholics, they find that comforting.  For others, it can take on too much of a "superstitious" quality, i.m.o. It's not a Catholic thing to do to "use" or manipulate veneration and intercession of the saints for only selfish reasons, and certainly not for petty or material purposes. The end goal of the Church Triumphant is our sanctification, not our earthly gain or success. Inasmuch as an earthly cause is related to a heavenly one, our needs are important to them.

The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity and our guardian angels can help guide us toward those saints who can most help us out. Personally, I find that just reading about individual saints, especially when done prayerfully, itself draws me to which saints and for what reason I might want to pray.  But I think you have the wrong idea if you think that we "must" pray or "need to" pray to any saint.  That's not how the Church wants us to think about them.  I mean, it's also not "necessary" to read any holy book, read the Propers of the Day, etc., but the more spiritual reading we can do, without jeopardizing our state in life, the more potentially better our prayer lives can be and the better we might be able to help others.

I also find it quite sad when some Catholics, by their own admission, spend far more time in pietistic practices directed toward saints other than Our Lady -- the quintessential and dogmatically most powerful intercessor -- and other than the Second Person of the Trinity.

The treasury of traditional Catholic literature, together with the treasury of the Church Triumphant, are there for our sanctification and optional use, to help bring us closer to God, not closer to saints.
 
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