It’s a common question, and I suppose I will hear until the day I die. So why ask a Saint anything? Why pray to them? Why ask for their help and assistance? Aren’t they dead? Isn’t it impossible for them to do anything, to even hear us? Aren’t they too busy worshiping God to help us piddly old creations? How do we even know that the Saints are in heaven now and aren’t in a dormancy until the last judgment? Isn’t Jesus the sole mediator of the covenant, precluding any need for Saints or anyone else to pray for us?
The first statement I’ll make is this: the creatures who are in heaven, very much so, handle the prayers of the holy ones on earth, presenting them before the throne of God.
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.
There are at least twenty-eight creatures in heaven that are presenting your prayers, with or without your permission to God. The Church teaches, and has always taught, that this privilege is extended to all the Saints who are in heaven.
But why? What good is a Saint’s prayer? What difference is the effectiveness of my prayers, why can’t I ask God myself? Well, you should be asking God yourself. You should be praying about your needs, presenting them to Jesus. But let us not fool ourselves into thinking that all prayers are of equal value, that all our intentions are pure and good, that God sees all things equally. Scripture teaches that those who are holy and righteous have extremely effective prayers:
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Now, we must ask ourselves, “who is most righteous?” Is it I, a sinner on earth, still working out my salvation, still stumbling through sanctification, or is it those who have completed the race, have been purged of all iniquity and shortcomings and who gaze on the face of God eternally, with the beatific vision of Christ? I think I’d venture a guess that it is those who have completed the race and have accomplished their sanctification. The great thing, is that seeing perfectly, their prayers are perfect. Their Wills are one hundred percent in line with the Will of God. They will not ask for something that God will not grant. They will take our prayers and perfect them in their holiness. God cannot refuse their prayers!
But how do we know that we are in heaven the moment we die? What if there is a waiting period, what if we do not enter heaven until after the resurrection of the body?
He [Jesus] replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
St. Luke 23:43
Jesus tells the repentant thief that today, this very day, he will be in paradise. He doesn’t tell him that at the end of the ages, he will be, but now, when he dies, this man has obtained eternity with God. His dead body will still be on earth, but his spirit will be praising God in heaven, someday to be rejoined with his glorious resurrected body. Once our sanctification is complete, we enter heaven, whether our body is resurrected yet or not.
But why do the saints even care about us? Why would they bother to care for us at all? It’s simple really. Are we not commanded to love as God loves? Is not our goal in life to become more and more Christ like? What is God’s favorite part of creation. Man. You. Me. All of us. Saved and unsaved. What is God’s Will? That no man perish (Ezekiel 18:32). If the Saint’s wills are perfectly in tune with God’s, that means that they love you, care about your needs as God does. They desire what God desires for you, and will pray for those things.You couldn’t ask for better intercessors anywhere in this world.
And so, we should be asking Jesus and the other members of our Christian-Catholic family, both in heaven and on earth to be praying for us.