When I was a teacher I had a student ask me a question about the saints. She asked, “Will I get to meet and be friends with the saints in heaven?” to which I emphatically replied “yes!” It shocked me that she didn’t realize that the saints want to be our friends and help us.
In fact, we are probably already friends with some of our closest spiritual intercessors.
You see, the saints are not a mere spiritual balm to help us feel better about our life. They’re also not just sweet little stories to tell our children to help them learn how to be moral and good. I see the saints as a true and real extension of my friends and family here on Earth.
I love my sister on earth and I also love my sister saints in heaven. I can ask advice from my brothers and also be guided from my brother saints. To me there shouldn’t be a division between our relationships. The saints are just as real as the people around us, they just have the benefit of being in the presence of God while I am not.
At the end of the day we will all be united in Christ. We will have a relationship with each soul in heaven and we will know every single prayer said on our behave.
Why not start now?
We can begin to have a relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ right now!
Here are some easy ways to stay connected to our spiritual family
1. Ask the saints about themselves
I am hopelessly careless. I’m constantly misplacing my things- a day does not go by where I’m not scrambling to find my keys, phone or other necessary objects. It soon became a habit to pray to St. Anthony on a daily basis due to my scatter brain. I was doing this for several months, praying to St. Anthony to help me, when it dawned on me that St. Anthony probably knew a whole bunch about my life, but that I knew nothing about his. So, know that this had to be rectified, I prayed that he would help me know what his life was like. Within a few days, I opened up a random Catholic book to find a little autobiography about him- I knew he wanted me to read it. After forming my friendship with him he get bringing me little presents. I would go to work and someone would say that they felt they needed to give me a St. Anthony prayer card or go on a retreat and be given a little medal with his image on it. Just as the saints can learn about you, you can learn about them too!
2. Connect them to you as a family member.
I always tell people that St. Michael is my big brother. I feel safe and cared for when he is around me and he is never shy about putting me in my place when I get too proud. He is my big brother, I know that when I get to heaven he will already know who I am and I will already be comfortable with him. I’m happy knowing that he looks after me like a little sister and teaches me how to be humble and follow Christ.
St. Padre Pio is my spiritual father and confessor. After so much time learning about him and asking for his intercession I knew that I was called to be his spiritual daughter. I made a prayer that he would adopt me and take care of me. With his help I’ve learned how to make good confessions and he always reminds me when it’s been too long.
The second I heard about St. Teresa of Avila, I knew that we would have a close relationship. I feel like she’s my older aunt who gives great advice about God and tells me how it is when I start getting out of line. I resonate with her prayer life and her love of God and I know I’ll spend eternity learning how to grow in prayer from her.
3. Understand that saints have distinct personalities
Some saints have a great sense of humor (St. Philip Neri comes to mind). They’re not stodgy and perfect images that lack any sense of personality. Some saints are fun and wild, some are funny while others are more serious. Each saint is different, just like we are all different people. Figuring out who you mesh with is largely an endeavor that happens naturally. Saints are known to pick people they want to help and are there to offer guidance and a helping hand. My confirmation saint is St. Mary Magdalene because I know that we both love Christ in the same way, having a role model to look up to helps me see that sainthood is a possibility. We can develop friendships with all of these saints and all of them are different, it truly is making new friends.
4. Remember to ask them for help
I don’t always remember to ask for from the saints but it’s something that we shouldn’t dismiss. If we are worried we can pray to St. Martha who was worried about too many things. If we are entering a vocation we can ask for the guidance of a saint that went through the same thing. Whatever is going on in our lives, we can be sure that the prayers of the Saints are not far behind. Just as I wouldn’t ask for help from the same person in my life, there are different saints that I ask for intercession when I need help.
5. Don’t dismiss their prayers
The saints have an uncanny way of making themselves know – especially when you ask for their intercession. I’m never surprised when I’m feeling down and a stranger or friend “happens” to give me a book about Padre Pio. There have been countless times when the saints have appeared in my life exactly when I needed them too. It’s like they’re waving their hand and reminding me that they exist and want to help me.
In those moments, I remember to thank God for the blessing of our brothers and sisters in heaven and pay attention to what God wants to convey.
I heard a story once that said that when we die we are met with thousands of hundreds of people that we may have never met on Earth. These people are the souls in purgatory we prayed for. They are the saints we asked for intercession and the prayer requests we petitioned to God on behave of those suffering in the world. Our spiritual life is dynamic and crosses this world. We are connected to heaven through Christ. We are united in the heart of God. Together with the saints we make the Church.
It’s so beautiful to think that we have the hope to love those who have gone before us and to learn from their lives. Their devotion can now be our inspiration and encouragement when this world gets too hard.
Our intercessors love us and want us to be united to God.
They are here to help us and to bring us closer to Christ.
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