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What Are We to Make of All This Talk of Sainthood?

Posted on the 28 April 2014 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

On Facebook yesterday, someone I'm friends with put up a status declaring her discomfort with Popes becoming saints and the fact that Catholics would pray to them.  She thought for sure it was a violation of the first commandment preventing the worship of idols.

It's a common problem non-Catholic Christians have with Catholicism and it's not terribly surprising to see this objection raised time and again by those who have little knowledge of the faith.  Hell, I used to have a serious problem with it myself not that long ago.

Which is why I love to find fresh pieces from Catholics taking on the objection.  Into the fray this time steps Tiberjudy:

We’ve all seen those “reality” shows that follow the celebrity-of-the-minute in their daily lives. Most of them have one or more personal assistants. These are the people that do all the real work around the place. They organize and schedule, they burp the babies and clean the house, thus allowing the celebrity to get their hair and makeup done (also by someone else), have an overly-dramatic love life and generally lounge about eating organic, free-range, calorie-free bon-bons.

But I’ve got those reality stars beat. And by a long shot. You see I have an entire group of people working for me. All of them pull 24-hour shifts with no vacations or sick leave. They never complain, Prayer-handsnever dawdle, and each one of them is faithful, funny, filled with joy and completely unique. They’re my “heavenly committee” of the saints that I love. Just as you ask your friends and family to pray for you, I ask my committee to take my prayers with them to Jesus. After all, these are the folks who love Jesus with their whole hearts and whose earthly lives showed us how to walk with Christ each and every day, through every trial and sorrow and every grace and blessing. Each one of them reveals His mercy and love in different ways to me and they teach me humility and patience and surrender. I can’t imagine my life without their friendship and assistance.

God created us for relationships. He never meant for us to go it alone. God IS relationship, after all, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs. He founded a Church made up of believers coming together for prayer and worship. We’re bound to one another in the love of the Holy Spirit, both in this life and our lives-to-come with Him in heaven. Since about the year 100 A.D., the practice of asking those in heaven to pray for us had become a common one. St. John wrote about it in Revelation 5:8 when he says that the saints in heaven offer our prayer to God “as golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Since saints in glory are in complete communion with The Lord, those prayers have to be for us. When we ask them to pray for our needs, God hears them and it pleases Him. Just like He hears the prayers of our family and friends on earth. Do you have prayer partners or prayer chains or teams in your church? They are doing exactly what the saints are doing—offering prayers for you to God. Jesus told us to pray for one another (Matthew 5:44) as did St. Paul (I Timothy 2:1-4). It’s good for us to do this. It’s an act of love.

Catholics don’t worship the saints. Asking them to pray for us is as “natural” as asking a friend to pray for us. The statues and paintings and stained glass images of the saints you see in our churches are reminders to us of their lives and examples. It’s like the photos you carry in your wallet to remind you of your family and friends. You don’t worship the photos, you just like being reminded of your love for the people in them. Saints aren’t divine. They’re not angels. They’re people like you and me who are alive in heaven—just like we hope to be someday. After all, each of us is called to sainthood.

Even if you don’t come from a Christian tradition like Catholicism or the Eastern Orthodox Church, why wouldn’t you want the saints in heaven to be praying for you and your family? These are the members of our faith who got it right, who ran the good race and who live now in the very presence of God for all eternity. I’d like to invite everyone reading these words to learn about a saint whose life interests them. Allow Jesus to introduce you to His closest family. You can start with “my committee” if you’d like.

She goes on to name Saints she speaks to often.

I have my own list and they include a couple Tiberjudy names but I also pray to a few others.  For example, I ask for St. Monica's prayers for my children and their significant others to come to the faith, praying that her persistence and my own will someday pay off.   I pray to my confirmation saint Justin that I might never tire of seeking the truth.  I pray to St. Michael to defend me and my family in our daily spiritual battles.

And of course, I pray the Rosary, seeking the intercession of Mother Mary daily, particularly for my family and friends and those I know to need mercy, grace and healing.

Am I worshipping idols?  No.  Hell no.  I'm being quite biblical in asking those close to God to help me become close to Him too.

No more. No less.

So what are your thoughts on praying to the saints?


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