Why is it good to pray to saints

By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

St. Thomas Aquinas says in his Summa Theologiae, “The saints who are in heaven are closer to God than we who are still on earth.  Much more, therefore, should we ask the saints who are in heaven to help us by their prayers to God.”  It is good to ask each other to pray for us here on earth, and better to ask our friends who are most saintly to do so.  It is best of all to ask the perfected saints in Heaven to do so.  If it is not right to ask saints in Heaven, then it is even less right to ask the less saintly on earth to do so.

God’s order for the universe is not to micromanage everything.  He establishes subordinate personalities as helpers. He exalts them by giving them task to help govern the universe.  It is not a weakness of God or a defect of His power by making use of secondary causes.  In fact, He bestows more good to creatures by allowing those creatures to do good to each other.  The saints were doing a lot of good to their fellow men while they were still on earth.  They continue to do so in heaven by praying for their brothers and sisters who are still struggling for their salvation on Earth.

St. Thomas would recommend that we pray to lesser-known saints than to popular ones for three reasons.  One, because it is granted to some saints patronage in certain special cases.  There is saint to pray to if you are an alcoholic and would want to be cured of your addiction.  His name is St. Mark Talbot.  He is the patron for alcoholics, because he was once an alcoholic for 12 years before his conversion.  If you are suffering from cancer, St. Peregrine Laziosi would be the saint to pray to.  St. Peregrine had cancer on one of his legs and was cured of it through his own prayers.

Second reason in praying to not so popular saints is that honor should be given to all saints and not just the popular ones.  And third, the prayers of several sometimes obtain that which would not have been obtained by the prayers of one.  St. Thomas says the more saints we pray to the better and preferably to lesser known saints.

The best reason for praying to saints in heaven is that they, unlike friends on earth, never pray for anything outside God’s will, which is always the best thing for us. And since their prayers are thus more conformed to God’s will than ours, it is more effective.  Their prayers are wiser than ours, more powerful than ours and always effective since they are one with God’s will.  The saints pray more objectively than us since they are not subjected to grief, pain and worry anymore, unlike us who are still under the effects of original sin, and of our unruly passions.