The Pastor's Corner
by Fr. Bob Hoffman
November 1 is All Saints Day. It is the day that we celebrate all those saints who have come before us. Catholics view saints from two perspectives. We do not worship saints. We only worship God. And Mary is the greatest saint, but she is not God.
The first perspective is as a spiritual role model. Saints are canonized when the Church recognizes that they have lived a life of heroic virtue. Not that they were perfect. Other than Mary, Catholics know that saints are also sinners. However, the merits of their holy lives give us hope for what is possible for the rest of us. For children, I often refer to saints as spiritual superheroes.
It can be very helpful to pick a personal patron saint whose life is like ours in some way or who appeals to us for a particular reason. And there are already patron saints of various professions and roles that might be good models for us.
The second perspective is as intercessors. I might pray for you. You might pray for me. But, when we ask a saint to pray for us, that saint can go to Jesus and offer the merits of their own life as reason for Jesus to grant our request. In that way, saints are more powerful intercessors than we might be for each other. And Mary is our greatest and most powerful intercessor.
We do not know exactly why, but we do know that God withholds certain favors from us until we ask for them. And so, our prayers do have an effect. And saintly intercessors do play a role in helping those favors to be granted.