The Saints and Prayer

July 25, 1993
Brother John Raymond

One essential aspect of a life of prayer is one's relationship
with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some non-Catholics, and even
Catholics, believe that they can pray straight to God and they do
not ever need to pray to anyone else. What these people fail to
understand is that it is God's Will that we come to Him through His
Mother. He has given Her to us as a true Mother of our souls. Our
Blessed Mother works together with the Holy Spirit to form us into
another Jesus. Unlike with other Saints, the Church tells us that we
must have some relationship with our Blessed Mother. God has given
Her the office of being the Spiritual Mother of all mankind. So it
is essential to one's prayer life to turn to the Mother of God.
One can see the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary for Her children
shining out especially today with Her many reported apparitions all
over the world. Mary is telling us what we are to do in order to
grow in our life of prayer and union with God.

All the saints had a special relationship with the Mother of God.
She is a real Mother and we should get into the habit of turning to
Her in our spiritual life. The late Bishop Fulton Sheen used to
quote a beautiful little poem which began: "Lovely Lady dressed in
blue teach me how to pray, God was just Your little Child and You
know the way." Our Blessed Mother takes us by the hand as Her own
child and guides us in the way of prayer. Of course the Marian
prayer most recommended by the Church and Mary Herself is the Holy

Praying the Holy Rosary daily is one way of staying close to Our
Heavenly Mother. It is interesting to note that we can even pray for
the grace to pray better or to learn to pray better. Our Heavenly
Mother can obtain these special graces for us through Her Motherly

The Saints in Heaven can also be very helpful to our life of
prayer. The Saints have a great desire to intercede for us - one
could say it is their pleasure to do so. Just as Mary has a motherly
relationship with us so a particular Saint can really become our
close friend. The following true story is from the life of a
non-Catholic woman. This particular woman was travelling on a bus in
Padua, Italy which made a stop at the Shrine of St. Anthony. The
woman told the bus driver to stop the bus and let her out. The bus
driver asked her why because they were still far from the Shrine
which he knew she was going. The woman responded that she wanted to
walk to the Shrine in thankgiving for all that St. Anthony had done
for her. This woman never became a Catholic but one could see that
she had a special relationship with St. Anthony of Padua. We are all
unique and the particular saints that we feel a closeness to will be
different. But we should realize that the saints we do develop a
close relationship with are certainly not by accident. God wishes us
to have these special friends in Heaven to help us on our journey
here on earth.

Some of the Saints even prophesied before their death about the
good they would do from Heaven for those on earth. St. Therese the
Little Flower said she would spend her Heaven doing good upon the
earth and look at all the graces she has obtained for people since
her death! Another Carmelite Nun, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity,
said that she would spend her Heaven helping souls on earth to
become recollected, which means quiet and still and aware of God's
presence. So it is a great benefit to us to turn to these Heavenly
friends who want to help us grow closer to God. It is not wrong, in
fact it is very pleasing to God, for us to ask for the intercession
of these Heavenly friends for ourselves to grow in a life of virtue
and prayer.

So let us realize that we are all part of God's big family in
Heaven which is based on charity. Each member of this family wants
to help the family members still struggling here on earth. Let us
especially turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary Who is the greatest
intercessor for us before the throne of God. As we pray in St.
Bernard's "Memorarie" - "never was it known that any one who fled to
Her protection, implored Her help or sought Her intercession was
left unaided."