O Clarim News Desk (English)
Dear Father L.,
I came to Macau some years ago and was thankful to have a job until now. I have a co-worker who happens to be a born-again Christian. While I admire him for his inspiring prayers before our meals, I find him annoying for attacking our Catholic faith after our meals. He frequently accuses me and other Catholics of worshipping the saints, elevating the saints as gods. He claims that we can pray and deal with God directly, we don’t need saints to intercede for us. Well, I insisted that while it is true that we pray to the saints, we do not consider the saints nor the Virgin Mary as an equal to God, right Father L.? But I think I need to explain why we pray to them. How do I answer this person, so he stops annoying us during break times?
An annoyed Filipino
Dear Annoyed Filipino,
To deal with this person, you are required to be cordial and pleasant in order to be effective. As you listen to him, tell him to listen to you as well.
The saints in heaven are in full union with God and make up the Communion of Saints in heaven, the Church Triumphant! What’s important to note, however, is that even though they are enjoying their eternal reward, they are still very much concerned about us.
The saints in heaven are entrusted with the important task of intercession. Sure, God already knows all our needs, and He could ask us to go directly to Him in our prayers. But the truth is that God wants to use the intercession, and therefore, the mediation of the saints in our lives. He uses them to bring our prayers to Him and, in return, to bring His grace to us. They become powerful intercessors for us and participators in God’s divine action in the world.
Why is this the case? Again, why doesn’t God just choose to deal with us directly rather than go through intermediaries? Because God wants all of us to share in His good work and to participate in His divine plan. It would be like a dad who buys a nice necklace for his wife. He shows it to his young children, and they are excited about this gift. The mom comes in and the dad asks the children to bring the gift to her. Now the gift is from her husband, but she will most likely thank her children first for their participation in giving this gift to her. The father wanted the children to be part of this giving and the mother wanted to make the children a part of her receiving and gratitude. So, it is with God! God wants the saints to share in the distribution of His manifold gifts. And this act fills His heart with joy!
The saints also provide us a model of holiness. The charity they lived on earth, lives on. The witness of their love and sacrifice was not just a one-time act in history. Rather, the charity is living and continues to have an effect for the good. Therefore, the charity and witness of the saints lives on and affects our lives. This charity in their lives creates a bond with us, a communion. It enables us to love them, admire them and want to follow their example. It is this, coupled with their continuing intercession,that establishes a powerful bond of love and union with us.
Letters are welcome at: OClarimEnglish2022@gmail.com
Source of content: mycatholic.life (Excerpt from Chapter 8 of My Catholic Faith)