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Catholic Dictionary




Asking the saints for assistance in temporal or spiritual need. Its basis is the intimate communion that exists between the blessed in heaven and the faithful on earth. The saints are invoked in order to obtain their intercession before the throne of God, and this corresponds to the familiar practice on earth of asking people to pray for us. Since the more holy a person is, the more effective his prayers, the saints in heaven are extraordinarily powerful intercessors with God. It is a matter of divine faith, implicit in Sacred Scripture and explicit in Catholic tradition, that the faithful may profitably invoke the saints in heaven. According to the Second Vatican Council, "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven . . . It is most fitting that we love those friends and co-heirs of Jesus Christ who are also our brothers and outstanding benefactors, and that we give due thanks to God for them, humbly invoking them, and having recourse to their prayers, their aid and help in obtaining from God through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, our only Redeemer and Savior, the benefits we need" (Constitution on the Church, VII, 50).