With A Little Help from my Friends: The Power of the Saints’ Intercession
Guest Writer Kathryn Sadakierski
For some, it’s John, Paul, George, and Ringo. For me, it’s Mark, Matthew, Luke, John… and a host of other saints. A litany, if you will. Whenever I find myself in times of trouble, I call upon the saints, the greatest of friends, to help me. That time I lost one of my favorite pearl earrings, the ones my mom wore on her wedding day? Well, I pretty much have St. Anthony on speed dial, per se, so as I crawled around on my house’s carpeted hallway like a baby, combing the floor for my earring, I immediately asked for his intercession. I had already been engaging in my fruitless search for a few minutes, despairing of ever finding the tiny pearl (or the back of the earring, for that matter), but within seconds of asking St. Anthony for saintly assistance, I found it.
There’s many times throughout each day when I think of the saints, because there truly is a saint for every cause. Doctors may prescribe cures in the form of medicines for each ailment, but I find myself seeking healing through the aid of the saints, our advocates in Heaven: vision problems? I always recommend St. Lucy (that day my eye mysteriously wouldn’t stop twitching, which I promise had nothing to do with coffee consumption, I finally invoked St. Lucy—and, like clockwork, it stopped. Yup, no match for St. Lucy). Miraculous as the physical healings performed by the saints are, however, even more remarkable are their spiritual panaceas.
Much as I called on the saints as occasions arose, I found myself seeking a deeper connection still. I wanted to make a greater commitment, integrating structured times of prayer further into my daily routine. Relationships with the saints are not transactions, but true friendships.
Ultimately, I decided to consecrate myself to the ultimate saint—Mother Mary. My consecration was a gateway into a richer contemplative life. When I officially gave myself to the Blessed Mother, offering everything in my soul, and inviting Her to direct my prayers to where they were most needed, I was completely transformed. Whereas I had been beset by worries and fears before, now, I felt the strongest sense of peace pervade. It was as though I physically could no longer feel the effects of anxiety. I was amazed by how much healing my heart had undergone, that so much new life could thrive in it when I fully allowed Mary to plant seeds of love within my spirit. Inspired to better know Her, I dedicated more time to reading about theology, especially Marian works, including Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Mater (“Mother of the Redeemer”). Aiming to continue making progress in my spiritual development, I strove to grow closer to Mary and Jesus through the saints, my longtime friends, on a different level than previously.
Each day as I worked towards consecration, I had savored the serene, meditative time I set aside to complete my readings and prayers. I realized that I didn’t want to lose any momentum; I sought to sustain this life-affirming practice, to not only end each day in prayer as I often did, but to begin them this way as well. In the past, anxiety had fed my impatience. I worried about not doing enough, not being enough, filling my day with activity, working as hard as I could to use the blessings God gave me, and shed light however possible. Meanwhile, as I made the commitment to pray more often, more deeply, saying novenas every day, and coming to know new saints, such as St. Isidore, the novenas were said in honor of, I learned a greater patience, seeing the beauty in being still, waiting rather than rushing, in taking the time to truly talk with God, asking for the saints’ intercession in finding direction in my life. With time, an abundance of graces could come.
Amidst uncertainty in life, I appreciated the consistent rhythms of my prayer routine, strings of novenas said unbroken, like rosary beads, the familiar words, and the reliability of God, along with the saints I could depend on. With particular fervency, I had prayed a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes for the intention of my church community, asking for the resolution of something that was affecting it at the time. Thinking about all of my love for this community, I was moved profoundly, pouring my heart into praying. When my prayers were beyond myself, I felt their power more than ever.
On the last day of the novena, I visited a nearby church, stopping in the chapel to pray. By the chapel’s statue of Mary was a prayer card for Our Lady of Lourdes; looking at Mary’s gently smiling face, I felt Her presence, knowing She had listened. Later that same day, inexplicably, I smelled roses, in a setting where there was no possible source for the holy fragrance. It reminded me of stories I had heard about people praying to St. Therese—when she had answered their prayers, they smelled roses. Incredibly, the next day, I learned that my intention very much had been heard- the resolution I was seeking had come, a special gift that uplifted my heart, and elevated my faith that things would work out, thanks to the intercession of the saints.
A saint is any soul in Heaven. Some may not have been formally canonized (yet! You never know—it might take a miracle—or a few), but they are saints nonetheless. As we come to know the saints from the examples they’ve set, we learn how we, too, can attain eternal joy, and be among them someday. My love for them is less about what they’ve done for me, and more about who they are, exemplifying the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, and in so doing, embodying the incandescent spirit of Jesus. Sometimes my requests may not be answered in the ways I anticipated, but trusting in God’s wisdom, with a little help from my friends, the saints, I have discovered hope—the hope that with each experience God gives me, I can be led ever closer to Christ.