I’m asked from time to time, “Father, why do we pray to the Saints, why can’t we pray to Jesus?” They follow up with “I just go to Jesus”, sounding almost arrogant as if, those who seek the assistance of a saint or the very Mother of Christ, Mary, were somehow less spiritually evolved or ignorant. I remind these dear folks that they in fact do not always seek Jesus, they call me, their Pastors and their friends and ask for prayer whenever a need arises! And, well they should! But here’s the catch…they miss out on the chance to tap the greatest prayer reservoir there is…the Communion of Saints!
You see, those who have passed beyond the veil, who stand In the presence of God, make intercession for us before the Father through Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. In fact, they pray in perfection, without any hindrance of the flesh, that is, they pray the perfect will of God with whom they remain in perfect communion. You see beloved, the Kingdom of Heaven is beyond our imagining! Filled with every beauty and grace, it resounds with sights and sounds our finite senses can only catch glimpses of. Paul says we see in a mirror darkly, referring to the magnificence of heavenly realities and the fact that we are to mirror that reality here on earth. Now, my question to you all is this…why wouldn’t you ask for prayer from one standing in perfect communion with Christ?
It’s important to mention here that seeking the intercession of the Saints does in no way take away from Christ, in reality, it brings glory to the Holy Trinity! As we trust each other to pray for our needs as part of the Body of Christ here on earth, so we trust the Heavenly Communion to pray as well and thus bring Glory to God who meets these needs through Christ through whom all good things are given! As we seek the assistance of the saints, we participate the Heavenly worship, entering more deeply in Heavenly realities and mirror as Paul says what takes place in Heaven. Actually, we fulfill scripture by making present the kingdom of God here on earth “as it is in Heaven”…the very words of Christ himself.
Christ tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added to you”…in other words, as we make present Heaven on earth by participation in Heavenly worship through the Mass and seeking out the prayers of the Saints, our needs will be met in Christ through the everlasting providence of the Father. I’d ask you all to seek the intercession of the saints simply by praying that they allow us to experience Heavenly worship, communion with God in the Holy Mass as we make present as best we can, the kingdom of God. The more we mirror Heavenly worship here on earth, the closer to God we become and the more fully present God will be to those we encounter every day.
I hope you understand a bit more why we pray to the Saints. How they, standing before God’s perfection can take our needs into the heart of God who delights in providing for His beloved ones and how that in turn helps makes present the Kingdom of God here on earth. Let’s seek the intercession then of ALL the Saints, those in Heaven and on earth as we seek first the Kingdom of God!
The Right Rev. Aaron Edmund Cass a bishop in the United States Old Catholic Church. He resides in Greenville, South Carolina.