How the saints can help you live your day-to-day life

Five practical ways the saints can help you live the Catholic faith

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Five Ways the Saints Help You Grow in the Faith from Letters from the Saints Blog with an image of Saint Therese of Lisieux

You might have wondered what do saints do. Why does the Catholic Church make such a big deal about the saints? One answer is that the saints are given to us to help us in day-to-day lives as we live out the Catholic faith.

From the very early days of the Church, the faithful have venerated the saints. We know these men and women are with God in the most profound way and that they are cheering us on.

Here are five ways that these holy men and women can help you live your Catholic Faith in your day-to-day life.

The Saints pray for you

When Christians think of the saints, this is probably the first thing that they think of, namely, the saints pray for us. You and I might task a friend or family member on earth to pray for us, and that, of course is a good thing to do.

But when we ask a saint to pray for us we know that the saint will not forget to pray or only give a half-hearted effort (like we on earth sometimes do). Instead, we know that the saints are fully united with God. In other words, they do God's will perfectly because they now live in perfect union with God. Their prayers will be in perfect union with God's will, and their prayers will be exactly what we need. The prayers of the saints will be bold, humble, and will be effective in order to accomplish God's will.

There is nothing wrong with asking for the prayers of others here on earth, but God has given us the beautiful gift of being able to communicate with our family in Heaven. We should take advantage of this great gift.

And remember, many of the saints prayed to the saints who lived before them so we see that the saints relied on saints to help them.

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The Saints are Holy Examples

We all need examples. Some people call them role models or heroes. Others call them mentors or guides. All of us have had people in our lives who showed us the way. And, history is filled with men and women who can teach us many things by the way they lived.

The saints are all that and much more because they are saints.

The Lord has given us the saints to be sources of inspiration and help. We can look at their lives and be helped by them because they went through something similar to us and show us how we can live through similar circumstances.

Of course, there are many people who have gone before us and can show us how to do things. And that is very helpful.

The difference is that the Church has judged that the saints lived lives of heroic virtue. That means that the saints allowed God to work through them in order to become more and more filled with God's presence. They did God's will even when it was really difficult to do God's will.

That does not mean that the saints were perfect. (The only saint whom we know for certain who can claim that is Our Lady. She never sinned and always did God's will.) Instead, most saints were not perfect. We know quite a bit about many of the saints. And the more you learn about them, the more human that they become.

Remember, saints are humans, not angels. That means they have faults to overcome. And the saints, by God's grace, did that.

The other thing to keep in mind is that we know we can pray to these men and women who are such great examples. Not only can we learn from their lives, we can ask them right now for help with the very thing with which we identify with them.

For example, if you struggle with anger, ask St. Jerome for help. If you need courage, ask Sts. Perpetual and Felicity, two early martyrs, to be brave.

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The Saints help you share the Catholic Faith

Sometimes, we need to be creative in how we share the faith. People might not always be open to hearing about God. But, they might be open to hearing how you have been inspired by the life of a saint.

Just like someone might be motivated by a family member or a historical figure, you can share how a saint has helped you live your life.

It could be a martyr who was willing to die for the faith or for someone else. Or it could be a saint who overcame difficult circumstances and persevered. These types of stories and the impact that they had on your own life can be the door to getting someone thinking about the Lord.

When you share the lives of the saints, you are, of course, sharing about God because the Lord is the One who makes saints. The saints are the ones who cooperated with God's grace and allowed the Lord to have more of Him in them. They united their will with God's will.

Yet, the stories of the saints share these truths from a more "human" perspective that might be easier for someone to listen to if they are reluctant to hear about God.

You can learn more about the saints through good biographies of the saints and through the free Weekly Postcard which shares a new saint story every week.

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The Saints teach us our Catholic Faith

People love stories. We enjoy hearing stories or seeing a good story portrayed in a play, on television, or in a movie. Our Lord, who knows us perfectly, often taught in stories that are called parables. And these parables are memorable. Even those who might never have gone to church have heard of the Good Samaritan, for instance.

Well, the saints do the same for us. We learn about their lives through stories, and the lessons from their lives stay with us. For example, the conversion story of St. Augustine of Hippo teaches us about the love of his mother, St. Monica, for her son and her trust in God over many years.

It also shows the tremendous mercy of God. The Lord kept pursuing Augustine even while he kept turning from God. How many of us have prayed for something for a long time and are frustrated? Augustine's mother, St. Monica, teaches us to keep praying even when you do not see an answer or even a glimmer of hope. And St. Augustine shows us just how much God loves each one of us. He will humbly keep presenting Himself in order that we will turn back to the God who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Each saint we encounter has a lesson to teach us. We know the Gospel is true because these are the words of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. The saints are real life examples of the Gospel in action. They demonstrate how the Gospel changes lives and how living the Gospel draws us into a closer union with Christ.

Your own saint to guide you

Did you know that angels are saints? Of course, angels are different creatures from us. They have no body. They are pure spirits. However, the Church refers to the three angels whom we know by name as St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. Why?

Because angels are saints, You have a saint designated just for you--your guardian angel. Your guardian angel is there to help you reach Heaven. He prays for you and gives you guidance along the way.

To take advantage of the help from your guardian angel, be sure to ask him for help. For example, I try to remember to pray for protection every time I get in the car. And, it would be good to pray at the same time that I do God's will in whatever errand or trip I am going on in the car.

Another way to pray is to pray to other people's guardian angels. You can ask them to help the friend or family member. "Guardian Angel of Charlene, please pray for her safety." or "Please pray that she does God's will." or "Please pray that she makes the right choice." You get the idea.

Also, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that, of course, God who knows all things knows every one of our thoughts. However, the angels, including the fallen angels or demons, do not unless we give them permission to know our thoughts. Well, it makes sense to give your guardian angel permission to know your thoughts in order for him to guide and protect you. So be sure to let your guardian angel know that he has full access to your thoughts.

The Saints are Gifts

Every good and perfect gift comes from God. (James 1:7). The saints are examples of a great gifts from God. Can you live the spiritual life without saints? Of course, you can. But would you want to do that? The saints have always looked to the saints before them for assistance and guidance. It certainly makes sense to follow that example.

Now that you have an answer to the question of what do saints do, be sure to take advantage of the gift of the saints and let them help you become the saint that God has called you to be.

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