This week’s RCIA topic was Mary and the Saints. This is a topic that I had never really even thought about until my brother became Catholic. I had no idea what the Church taught about Mary or that they prayed to the Saints in a request for their prayers. I was completely clueless and I had no idea what I was missing out on. This post is going to focus on the Saints because that topic is a little simpler and slightly less touchy than Mary. A post on Mary will take more time than I have at the moment, but I hope to eventually talk about her as well.
The Church teaches that we remain in communion with the Saints who have died their earthly death and moved to the afterlife. As a result, we are able to continue to ask them for their prayers. Just as I can call my friends to ask for prayer when I’m going through a rough patch, I can pray to the Saints in a plea for their prayers as well. The prayers of the righteous are answered and who is more righteous than a Saint who is already in heaven gazing at Christ and the Father? Who better to have on my side in prayer than these holy people? I had no idea as a Protestant that I was missing out on so many opportunities to have others pray for me. I had my friends at Church and hoped that when they said they would pray for me, they really would. But we’re all busy people, with our own worries and many people who want us to pray for them, so in reality, there’s a chance that we forget about a friend that we had promised prayers. But the Saints are our most faithful friends. They have nothing to worry about, nothing to distract them, no earthly obligations that must be carried out. They have all the time in the world to hear our request for prayers and make them known to God, whose presence they are always in. I am so glad to have these friends in addition to my earthly friends. I am so glad that I have finally come to see that I have a whole lot of people cheering me on, even when I feel so alone.
The Saints serve another purpose as well. They provide us with examples of what it looks like to live a holy life dedicated to Christ. There are thousands upon thousands of Saints (and probably many more who have not been canonized) who have gone through life with similar imperfections as us who managed to carry out God’s plan for them, to live in humble submission to the cross and Christ’s sacrifice. It can be discouraging at times knowing that I’m not perfect, that I mess up and miss awesome opportunities from God, but when that happens I can just look at the lives of some of the Saints and see what God can do with those imperfections and mistakes when I let Him have control. When I stop fighting His Spirit constantly. Christ is our ultimate example, but He did have one advantage over us while on Earth. He wasn’t just a man. He was also God and therefore perfect. We strive to be like Christ, but it’s not easy and I like to look at those who have gone before me with the same human flaws, to receive encouragement from their lives and to know that in spite of my flaws it can be done.
I am so thankful that I have to come to know some of my greatest friends in Christ’s church. I have come to find more support and love than I could have ever imagined, from people who have been through life and managed to get through it and see the glory of God fully. I am so grateful that even after death, we are not separated completely from our brothers and sisters. We can continue to pray for them and them for us until we are all fully reunited when Christ returns to claim His bride. Until then, I will joyfully ask the Saints to pray for me and to pray for those around me who are in need.