Praying through the Saints is not expressly written in the Bible, it is rather an outcome of a mature understanding of the “Communion of Saints”. We the Church believe, as taught by St Paul, that “we are one body, one Spirit in Christ”. To the mind of the Church, this has a certain literalness in terms of religious actions. So that when you do good, the entire body is healthy and is affected and when you sin, you affect the entire body. When you pray as well the other members (parts) of this body is equally affected.
Christ came to the world as man and God, establishing his authority and dominion as Lord of the Living, both because he lived, died and resurrected. But also Lord of the dead because through this resurrection he conquered death. Since life springs from him only, and since he has walked the roads of the underworld, he himself has power that penetrates the grave.
This power is also inherited by his Body the Church so that she is never torn apart or broken by death. NO! She is actually strengthened by the death of a faithful since her glory shines as more members are glorified.
These glorified members since they are still attached to Christ’s body also help in its nourishment. So that when they praise God by chants or pray to Him, the effects reach the entire body; the effect reaches you and me. So even without asking for it, the saints pray for us. And we can raise our hearts to them since we’re bound by one body and spirit in Christ to aid us in our needs.
A simple request made to the saints isn’t an act of worship. There is necessarily a certain attitude required for an act to meet the requirement of worship. This attitude is met either unconsciously when a thing or a value is raised above God and is made the centre of one’s life and consciously when someone acknowledges a being to be the source of his existence, the upholder of his being and his last end. Such being received their worship which usually is sacrificial for most religions. In Catholicism, the only being occupying the centre of our worship is God whom we acknowledge both in our creeds and in all our liturgies to be our beginning and our last end. We speak of Mary and other Saints as inferior to God, as closer to us since they’re all finite, but as being icons of hope, especially Mary. She is an icon of hope to us Catholics since in her we see the goodness of God and his mercy. We see how far his grace goes to sanctify and glorify mortal men, and finally, we see in her the glory which we hope for.
These Saints are closely tied to us, they are close to us in Christ. Since we are IN THE SPIRIT, and they are in the spirit as well, tied to the same body of Christ. They are not “There”, they are “here” with us. So when we speak to them, we do not address “dead people” who are “far off”. For how can we boast to be Christians if we hope that after this life we’ll be just “dead”? We hope to rise with Christ when we sleep in death, these are already Alive in him, more alive than we ourselves can be. They are active in the Body of Christ, more active than we are. If we pray, and praise God, they too do the same. If we pray for our brethren on earth, they too do the same for us since they’re no longer in need of our intercession.
They pray for us, our consciousness of this sublime truth (which is as old as Christianity itself) makes it easy to reach and receive their help. We simply “ask” them to “pray for us”. We do not ask them to have mercy or to bestow some gift upon us as though they are gods, we ask them to help us in bringing our imperfect prayers to the Lord Jesus. Since we all share in his love, since we all shared in one bread, we share in the same Life of Grace, a life which makes us all One Body, brethren of Christ and children of the Father.
It is simple really.
God bless !
By GabrielMary Alimba, posted with permission.