All Saints Day- Why the Focus on Saints?
One of the more common questions that non-Catholics ask Catholics is “Why do you pray to saints? Isn’t that like praying to an idol?”
Well, it would be if we were actually praying to people who have died before us. But that’s not actually what we do in the Catholic church. We pray for God’s intercession through the saints. We ask those who made it to heaven to help us do the same. We ask for their intercession through Jesus because no matter what trial, situation, or illness we are going through right now, there is a saint who went through something similar and triumphed. Before their death and canonization, they sometimes fell to human temptations just like us. Look at St. Paul, he murdered and tortured countless Christians before his conversion and he is a powerhouse in the Church. We turn to saints for inspiration as role models on how to live as faithful Christian Catholics.
I encourage you in the month of October to learn about some saints that are new to you. Here is a website I found which has some great information about saints, particularly for families. Exceptional Saints.
Below is a poem attributed to St. John Paul II about the need to cultivate a new breed of saints to lead us into the 22nd century,
“We need saints without cassocks, without veils.
we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes.
We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends.
We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career.
We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things.
We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time.
We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.
We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it.
We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet with their Smartphones.
We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends.
We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater.
We need saints that are open, sociable, and happy companions.
We need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane.
“We need saints.”
(Translated from the Portuguese language by Joseph W. Cunningham. (Attributed to Pope John Paul II)