“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”Hebrews 12:1
When you recite the Hail Mary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet, did you know you’re praying with the saints? Mary, Queen of All Saints, and St. Faustina to be exact. When we call on the venerated to support us in our prayer or recite their words to grow closer to God, we take part in the communion of the faithful in Heaven; our earthly realm moves beyond itself to experience that of the holy realm above.
What makes someone a Saint?
As Christians, we believe it is our calling to become saints. The USCCB explains that saints are people in heaven who lived virtuous, heroic, and selfless lives, or suffered martyrdom for the sake of our faith.
Officially, a capital-S “Saint” is someone who the Church has deemed worthy of imitation and honor for their heroically virtuous life. But this isn’t a simple process. It takes years, and the testimony of many people to declare a person’s Sainthood. You can read about the process here.
Most important to understand, however, is that Saints lived their earthly lives out of utmost love for their communities — some in service, some in prayer, and some in martyrdom. This love for community doesn’t stop at the end of their earthly lives. It is eternal.
Why should we pray with the Saints?
Saints were people like us who truly hallowed their lives.
Just as we don’t take on a big job without training or start a game without reading the instructions, the Saints serve as our guides in praising God, sharing our thankfulness, and easing our worries with their intercession. The word “intercession” stems from the Latin verb intercedere meaning “intervene, come between, be between.” We aren’t praying to the saints but with them. And they’re always available — even at 4 a.m. when you can’t sleep.
How can I pray with the Saints?
- Start with choosing a Saint you’re drawn to for their life or their words. When we need protection, we call on the Holy Mother, Mary, to blanket us in the peace of God’s love. When we lose something, we call on St. Anthony (the patron saint of lost things) to find it. Saints become patrons through an affiliation with a place, event, occupation, or miracles that happen after their passing. Check out a variety of patron saints by visiting this link.
The Hallow Team’s patron Saint is St. Teresa of Avila. Teresa was utterly courageous and let her spiritual contemplation drive her sense of being in the world. She showed us that each of our souls has an interior castle. You might be more drawn to St. Francis, who devoted his life to poverty and promoting the beauty of creation, or any other of the many Saints out there.
- Once you have a Saint you identify with, find a prayer they wrote during their lifetimes, or read about a holy event in their lives, and meditate on the words of the prayer or image of the event. Similar to the practice of lectio divina, see what sticks out to you during this time or season in your life. Slow down and rest with the Saint you’ve chosen to pray with.
- Lastly, talk to the Saint as you would a friend. They know what it’s like to be human: to struggle, to laugh, to love, to sin, and to seek forgiveness. We can turn to them as our friends journeying in faith with us. Share with them what’s on your mind, the prayers you’re needing, and any wisdom or comfort you need in the moment.
Where can I pray with Saints on the Hallow App?
We now have a Daily Saint on the App and we couldn’t be more excited for you to journey through the communion of saints with us! Each day, we’ll include a background on a Saint, and then we will pray with a prayer, quotation, poem, or hymn written by them. It’ll be a great way for you to learn about 50 Saints, and get to know some among the “great cloud of witnesses” that came before us.
You can also check out our shorter Saints Challenge, where we meditate on the lives and writings of some of Christianity’s most famous saints, or our Saints Prayers Praylist in the Sleep section of the App.