Father James Martin, S.J.: Do you pray to the saints?

Photo: Unsplash

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play


Do you pray to the saints much? I know that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you don’t pray to the saints, let me encourage you to do so. In the Catholic tradition, the saints are both our patrons and our companions. As companions, they show us the way to live a Christian life, by their examples. The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said that a saint shows us what it means to be holy “in this particular way.” But the patron model is also an important one. The saints pray for us in heaven. And if you have trouble with that, like many people do, you might think about it this way: you probably ask for people on earth to pray for you—you might ask a friend for his or her prayers. Why wouldn’t you ask for someone in heaven to pray for you too? There’s nothing strange about that. If you’re in trouble, or even if you need help in your spiritual life, ask the saints for help. Try it. I do it all the time.  Besides, they’re praying for you already!

Eunice Novio
1 week 1 day ago

I pray to Santa Rita de Casia. She answered all my prayers. My grandmother taught me to pray novenas whenever something seems impossible. I remember she always prayed to San Antonio de Padua when my mother's remittances were lost several times.

Sandi Sinor
1 week ago

No, I do not pray to saints. I do not believe in intercessory prayer. I do not ask either living people or dead people to pray for a personal intention.

My understanding of God is that God is love. God loves ALL human beings equally, including the majority of people alive on this earth today who are not christians and do not pray to christian saints. God knows all, so God already knows everyone's needs and problems. There is no need to ask others to try to persuade God to "help" certain people with specific needs. A God who is LOVE does not favor some people over others, does not favor christians over the rest of humanity.

I do pray directly to God for strength for myself or loved ones (or for strangers far away who are suffering) during difficult periods, and I also offer prayers of thanksgiving. I ask God to guide humanity so that we can try to stop inflicting suffering and evil on one another, whether through wars, or by turning away when we see people in great need, especially refugees.

Sandi Sinor
1 week ago

Duplicate comment deleted.


The latest from america

So what does it matter what a celibate woman thinks about contraception?
Helena BurnsJuly 20, 2018
Former US President Barack Obama gestures to the crowd, during an event in Kogelo, Kisumu, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)
In Johannesburg, Obama gave what some commentators consider his most important speech since he vacated the Oval Office.
Anthony EganJuly 20, 2018
With his "Mass," Leonard Bernstein uses liturgy to give voice to political unease.
Kevin McCabeJuly 20, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” says Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection in Rome.