This week we celebrate the feast days of some of the greatest saints in the church. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome and my favorite of all saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. So here is a question to think about: What part do the saints play in your life? For some of us, they have always been an important aspect of our spiritual lives. We see them as the church sees them: as our patrons and companions. In other words, we ask them for their prayers from their posts in heaven, and they provide us with models of the Christian life. As the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner once said, a saint teaches us to be a Christian in “this particular way.” But for some of us devotion to the saints may seem a bit weird, kind of antiquated or even strange. For people in that category I usually say: “Get to know them first as people.”
After all, none of the saints, except the Blessed Virgin Mary, was perfect. They all sinned, they all made mistakes, they all struggled. Read a good biography of a saint whose story appeals to you. Understand them within the context of their times, of course, but try to find in them a model. Then you might find that you feel close to them and start to pray to them and ask for their prayers. And they’ll be ready for you. They’ve been waiting a long time to hear from you.