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Talking with Saints

The Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor

Talking with Saints

Praying to Saints has not been my thing. That is, as a Catholic, I don’t continually ask Saints to intercede on my behalf or for the sake of an intention. That might change now, however, because of a thought that entered my mind and heart when meditating upon a rosary mystery, the Transfiguration of Jesus.

My General Interactions with Saints

In the Bible, the Apostle James tells us to “pray for one another.” (James 5:16.) Just about every Christian church of every denomination has some kind of prayer group, circle, or chain. We ask people to pray for us when we are in need, and we pray for others who may be sick or struggling. We also believe that Christians who have died in faith are not dead, but still living — so we Catholics include those saints (holy ones of God) among the people that we ask for prayers. Think of St. Mark’s Gospel (12:26 — yes, I had to look it up) when Jesus declares to the Sadducees, “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, [the] God of Isaac, and [the] God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living.”

Saints are part of our family. They enjoy spiritual unity with Christ in Heaven, and it is this unity that makes them much more powerful intercessors than we are in our earthly unity.

So sometimes, when I don’t know what to pray for people, I will ask The Virgin Mother to pray for them, figuring that she knows what the person needs better than I do and can certainly intercede more powerfully. On occasion, I have asked various Saints to pray for me or someone else, choosing one Saint or another because of a feast day or a specific patronage. It seems like a good thing to do.

But I’m not in the habit of venerating Saints or asking for their intervention.

The Transfiguration

Lately, I’ve been asking myself the question that Catholics often hear from our fellow Christians who are Protestants: “Where is that in the Bible?” The biblical source, or perhaps seeming lack thereof, for the veneration of Saints and intercessory power of Saints has, I believe, always been a sticking point for me, even before I started asking myself the pointed question. Then one day, meditating upon the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, I saw it. I saw the answer to my question.

Clarification: My imagination is very vivid, so to actually “see” something in my mind’s eye while praying is definitely not unusual. I “see” everything that I read in a book or hear in a story that a person tells me. (Probably why I don’t like bathroom humor that much.) So, anyway, when meditating upon the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, I see the disciples kneeling on the mountain, with Jesus, a little higher up, lifted up and conversing with Moses and Elijah.

Picture that and then see if you also can answer the question of why we Catholics think that it is good to converse with Saints.

Jesus did it Himself.

From Mark 9:2-8:

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.

Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.”

There are many symbolic reasons for Moses and Elijah being there, having to do with the Old Testament pointing to the New Testament, the big word of eschatology, and other scholarly stuff. The conversation of Jesus’s departure, or Exodus, as relayed by Luke is also meaningful. I know that Jesus is the one who opens Heaven — eternal Heaven — so scholars can tell you about timing and Moses and Elijah possibly receiving grace before hand, and other things like that. They can also explain visions and appearances and what that means in the Transfiguration.

But I’m a student, not a scholar.

The very fact that Jesus is seen conversing with human beings who are no longer alive on Earth struck me. Moses died and was buried by God in an unknown place, Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind — though we are not to conclude that this means he was bodily assumed into Heaven, Heaven, like The Virgin Mary (looked that up too). So, in other words, to a simple Christian like me, yeah — the disciples are given a vision of Jesus talking to dead people. So to speak.

Why? Why is Jesus conversing with them? The Gospels of Matthew and Mark don’t even tell what the subject of conversation was, showing that that wasn’t the most important thing. But all three Gospels declare that Jesus is seen conversing with Moses and Elijah like three people would very normally do.

Perhaps, as Christians, conversing with Saints is actually something very normal to do.

I worship Jesus as God in the flesh. Far be it from me to frown upon anything that He chooses to do.

PS. Two years ago, I read St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue, and now I’m reading Sigrid Undset’s biography of the Virgin of Siena. That girl could pray. I’ve been asking her to pray for me lately. And I ask you, dear reader, to do the same!

© 2022 Christina Chase

Feature Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

Christina Chase View All

Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.

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