“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” (CCC 956)
“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.” Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.” (CCC 2683)
We begin the month of November by celebrating the Solemnity of All Saints when we honor all the holy men and women in heaven. The intercession of the saints is an integral part of the prayer life of the Church and an important aspect of our spiritual journey. November offers us many opportunities to call on the saints.
Veteran’s Day is on November 11th. This national holiday honors and remembers all those who have served our country in times of war. We can call on the saints to pray for those who have served as well as those who continue to serve our country. St. Michael the Archangel, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Joan of Arc are all patron saints of soldiers. Different branches of the United States military also have saints that are special to them, such as: Army—St. Sebastian, Air Force—St. Joseph Cupertino, Navy—St. Nicholas, Coast Guard—St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Marines—St. Barbara.
On November 18, 2018 we celebrated the beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey. Over 60,000 people gathered at Ford Field to witness this historic moment. While Blessed Solanus was limited in his priestly faculties, he found ways to serve God’s people as a porter at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. We continue to pray for the canonization of Blessed Solanus, which will declare him a saint who can be venerated everywhere. Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, which can give us an opportunity to ask for his intercession. We can also join together to pray for his cause using his canonization prayer.
The fourth Thursday of the month has been recognized as Thanksgiving here in the United States since the 1940s. This holiday provides the perfect opportunity to put into practice the good habit of an “attitude of gratitude” as outlined in Unleash the Gospel. As the Archbishop writes, “Gratitude puts us in a right posture before God and opens us to his further work in our lives.” Thanksgiving is also a time to pray for the country in which we live. We can call on our Blessed Mother, the patron of America, to intercede for us and pray for unity and peace.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The saints are not only models for us, but friends we can turn to in times of need to ask to pray on our behalf. The month of November is a perfect opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your favorite saint as well as learn of new saints who serve as patrons for your special interests or hobbies. You can never have too many prayer companions. Just as we can turn to our brothers and sisters in Christ on earth, we can call on our heavenly brothers and sisters in November and always.