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The Communion of Saints is such a robust teaching that it can be overpowering. Worse, we can fall into complacency and miss the prompts God is always sending us.
God sanctifies time and place especially through the Sacraments, prayer, and the intercession of the Saints. What happens when several of these line up? You have an outpouring of grace that can work wonders.
Are you ready to do a little digging to find the Saints who’ve been part of your spiritual life for years—even decades?
Two caveats. First, every Catholic should be praying with Mary, Queen of the Saints. Second, it is perfectly acceptable to pray with those on the path to Sainthood: those who are Blessed, Venerable, or Servant of God.
For those who work in the world especially, it can be easy to overlook the Saint of the day. You may not even hear about the Saint at Mass, if it’s a minor celebration like an optional memorial. A full-bore “daily Saints” calendar can be helpful, as long as you look at it daily—as can apps like Laudate and Catholic Calendar. Even a brief prayer with the Saint of the day, every day, calls on one of God’s most straightforward means of sanctification of time and place.
Hopefully you’re already celebrating the anniversary of your baptism. Who was the Saint of the day that day? That Saint was celebrating your entrance into God’s family long before you were. The unfolding of your baptismal graces happens throughout your lifetime. This Saint, in other words, can be a lifelong friend and guide.
You likely chose this Saint yourself. How’s your devotion with that Saint going? Saying “yes” to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit is a daily act, and your confirmation Saint can be a strong helper.
Someone likely chose your first name for you. If it’s a Saint’s name, you’ve got a constant reminder of that Saint’s patronage—a great person to pray with.
You probably have a middle name, not your confirmation name, that someone chose for you. What’s the story behind that name? If it’s a Saint, does that Saint’s example bring out another aspect of holiness to reflect and act on?
Imagine being a Saint and observing all the babies born on your feast day. Wouldn’t you have a special attachment to those children? Going to Mass on your birthday is a good way to foster a devotion to your birthday Saint.
He or she probably helped you make a good first confession. And this Saint can continue to be a special helper in receiving God’s mercy.
This Saint rejoiced to see you receive the greatest gift: Christ Himself. Just like parents and sponsors celebrate their children’s first communion, so do the Saints who watch as their spiritual children receive the Eucharist on their feast day. A good person to pray with before receiving communion, or at Adoration.
If you’re a writer, St. Francis de Sales should be someone you pray with. Good ol’ St. Florian for the firefighters, and St. Matthew if you’re an accountant. As many of us struggle with keeping work in its proper place—not too much, not too little—the patron Saint of our work can be a big help.
If there’s a Saint associated with your specific workplace—as at Benedictine College—call on that Saint! You have quite a few options if your place is associated with an order, like a Jesuit college; your particular building may even be named after a Saint.
Catholic dioceses are rightfully thankful for their patrons. Cardinal Raymond Burke would often invoke Saint Louis, King of France, when he was archbishop of St. Louis. To the northwest you have St. Charles, Missouri, where just as many people pray with St. Charles Borromeo as with St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, the great missionary who established her first of many schools there. The Saints of your diocese or region have been entrusted with a great mission; all the better to call on them.
Priests and religious have many options to choose from, and often there is a particular Saint that helped lead them to their vocation. Married laymen can look to St. Louis Martin and St. Thomas More. A married woman might find Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur inspiring. The important thing here is to pray with a Saint specifically keyed to how you live your vocation.
Our spiritual reading will vary; as it does, we ought to pray with a particular Saint of that aspect of the spiritual life. Reading a book by a Carthusian? St. Bruno could be your guy. Really digging the Dominicans? St. Catherine of Siena would be happy to oblige. Pray for an appropriate Saint’s help and guidance as you read.
Serve primarily in your church in the choir? St. Cecilia and St. Hildegard ought to be friends of yours. Prison ministry more your line? Consider St. Maximilian Kolbe, or Sts. Felicity and Perpetua. Call on the Saints who know your ministry; they will help you all the more.
Those struggling with addiction like to call on Venerable Matt Talbot. There are many Saints who can help with chastity, from St. Maria Goretti to St. Charles Lwanga and companions. Frequent calling on the Saints who know our specific infirmities will only speed our trust in God’s mercy.
Forgotten about this one since you were a kid? From St. Frances of Rome to Padre Pio, many adult Saints had extraordinary relationships with their guardian angels. Our dealings with our guardian angels may be ordinary, but we should never ignore the great guide entrusted to us whom Jesus says “always look[s] upon the face of my heavenly Father” (Mt 18:10).
Tradition teaches that the great angels called Principalities watch over individual towns and cities. Both Peter Kreeft and Cardinal Jean Danielou have reliable books on the matter. Invoking the Principality of the place in which you’re praying is not only spiritually honorable but an easy way to remind yourself of the vast love of God’s spiritual world.
Whether it’s St. Cyril’s of Alexandria or St. Patrick’s, your home church is likely named after a Saint. Praying with that Saint before Mass or activities there invokes a powerful patron.
Tradition also has it that every church has its own guardian angel. Think of that wonderful line in Eucharistic Prayer I: “Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.” Again, a great Saint to pray with before Mass and other activities at your parish.
While a few people probably need reminders to moderate their penances (as famously happened to St. Aloysius Gonzaga), most of us need help in keeping our hobbies in check. To summarize St. Francis de Sales, we must not let our amusements become occupations. Your favorite hobby probably has a Saint to help out. Athletes love St. Sebastian, while photographers can pray with St. Veronica.
The above places and events are among the most ordinary ways God draws us to Himself through particular Saints. There may be, however, a Saint you’re drawn to for no particular reason you can discern. Though you may learn the reason later on, don’t wait: go ahead and pray!
As you research the above, you’ll come up with a list of Saints who lead you particularly to God through the times, places, and circumstances of your life in Christ. Putting together a private litany of these Saints and asking them to intercede for you and others can be a great way to start a formal prayer period.