As I finish the image of St. John Bosco, and begin work on the next figure on my icon for those who have lost their faith, I prayed for all those who have asked for prayers for their own loved ones. With every stroke of the brush, a prayer: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Remember, Lord, those who have strayed from You.
I ask St. John Bosco to pray with me for their return to the love and mercy of Jesus. For Christopher, for Gregory, for Tori, for Steven, for Cecelia, for Jennifer, for Alan, for Gary, for Heather, for Ian, for Mary, for Bob, for Stephanie, for Robyn, for Oscar Leonardo Rodriguez Canon, for John, for Alfredo, for all.
Some people wonder why we pray “to” saints. Praying “to” is not exactly the right way to phrase it, rather it is praying “with”. As Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, we believe that our love and caring for each other do not die with the body. The soul is eternal. Those who have passed away from this earth remain as part of our lives, part of our spiritual community.
Saints include those whose holiness and closeness to God has been recognized officially and publicly (a canonized saint), and those whose holiness are known only to the Lord. Your grandparent, a child , the lonely stranger on the sidewalk, any and all who have left this life are included in the community of saints. They are close to God now, but still part of our lives, still loving us. We can ask them to join us in prayer, as readily and effectively as asking the person sitting next to you to say a prayer for you.