My latest column at The Catholic Answer is called “Our Professors, Who Art in Heaven” and touches on the question that comes up again and again, particularly with those concerned about idolatry: why do Catholics show such reverence for saints?
The Communion of Saints must seem strange to outsiders who wonder why Catholics and Orthodox Christians bother taking side roads in their orisons when a prayer to Jesus seems like a faster, more direct route. As a religious sister from my childhood put it, though, “Why be singular when you can participate in heaven?”
We participate in heaven, in a manner of speaking, at holy Mass. I’ll never forget my younger son’s wide-eyed delight in learning that “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts” unites us to the chorus of continual praise offered by angels in the presence of the Creator. That information kept him bellowing at Mass for some years, until he realized that, to Eternity, a whisper works as well as a wail.In St. Paul’s great Cloud of Witnesses we access our ancestry; we keep images of holy men and women about us, as would do with beloved members of the family. Believing in eternal life, and that Christ meant it when He said He was preparing a place for us, it seems a no-brainer to ask these distant-yet-near relations for their intercessory prayers.
Beyond the prayful assists, and the relics and mementos that inspire us and help train our attention, Catholics and Orthodox Christians benefit from the wisdom of those who have traveled this vale of tears before us, struggling with the same sorry sins we battle today — lust, avarice, anger, sloth, pride, gluttony, envy and despair. Their advice echoes down to us through the ages with a resonating surety as, like professors in a spiritual university, they give real instruction on a range of subjects.
It’s not a long piece and You can read the whole thing here.