by Ken Rolheiser
Saints to assist in all our necessities

The Church teaches that since mankind’s origin we have been united with a spirit or soul which was breathed into us by God. We are aware of spirits in another realm - saints and even devils.
St John Bosco was known for his sense of humour. One day when the two priests came for him with horse and carriage, John Bosco politely waited as the two priests entered the carriage. When it was his turn to step up, he slammed the door, slapped the horse and yelled to the carriage drive, “To the asylum! They’re expected!”
Saint Philip Neri, king of practical jokers, once he showed up at the house of a parishioner with half of his beard shaved off. Another time when a Bishop attended Philip’s Mass, he committed every possible mispronunciation during the homily. Philip likely laughed for days after.

You and I can hold conversations with these and other saints and relatives who have been born to eternal life. It is what we profess in the Creed: “I believe in the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.” I repeat several concepts of the last part of the creed purposely.

Only recently have I realized more of the power of the Communion if Saints. I have even prayed to Albert Einstein whose faith went deeply. I referred to his letters on the power of love in recent articles.

Every morning in my prayers I pray to my Grandfather and Grandmother. What a wonderful feeling to remember them and my Uncle who was my Godfather. An interesting fact about this uncle was that he ended this life by suicide in an asylum. Today his particular malady is easily controlled by medication.

I know that God loved my Uncle through all of his troubled life in and out of the asylum. He was a deeply spiritual man, but sometimes his illness took over. Today I ask him specially to help those of us who struggle with various psychological illnesses.

Every morning I pray to family members who have some intercessory power on the other side. I just need the help. And I pray for others on my list who can be blessed in their needs. 

God has put angels and saints at our disposal. Angels are always with us on this earthly journey. Occasionally we become aware of their help, but mostly they are silent partners. The saints, on the other hand help us variously.

We are all familiar with some of these: St Christopher protector of travellers, St Jude – impossible situations, and St Nicholas – children. Often during a severe thunderstorm warning I will call on St Donatus. In our country church of St Donatus I remember his statue, a Roman soldier clutching two bolts of lightning.

Less familiar but very useful patron saints include: arthritis – St James, dying – St Joseph, headaches – St Dennis, loneliness – St Rita, ulcers – St Charles Borromeo, married couples – St Joseph. Toothaches – St Patrick and the list goes on!

What a wonderful spiritual balance we can achieve if we trust in God’s “forgiveness of sins”. How handy to have a list of saints to aid us, all the while knowing that God loves us and will not abandon us. Like a parent with an errant child, the love remains and the efforts to bring us back to the fold remain constant with our loving God.

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