Imagine that you’re hosting a dinner party. You clean up your house, cook or cater a variety of foods, and open the bar ready for your guests to arrive. Imagine that your guests are all your favorite saints. Do you feel intimidated, ill-prepared and self-conscious, or are you relaxed, talkative, and at peace like you would be with a best friend?
This is the image that pops into my head when I think about welcoming the saints into my home; I am literally welcoming them with a cheese platter and a glass of wine, ready to sit and chat all night long. Padre Pio is asking St. Francis of Assisi questions, while St. Thérèse and St. Faustina mingle on the couch eating their mini-meatballs.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized the saints are my friends. Before that, I saw them as higher holy beings that we honor through prayers and statues. I never fully understood why we prayed to them, or the meaning of having a relationship with them, and because of this, I didn’t include them deeply in my life.
However, the Saints are people who want to help us, walk alongside us, and pray for us just as a true friend would.
Why Do We Pray to Saints?
This is a longstanding question that Catholics often get asked. It is believed by some that saint statues, prayers, and icons themselves are what is being honored, and that Catholics worship the person or object instead of Christ. The truth is that we pray WITH the Saints, we are not worshiping the Saints.
As Father Blake Britton from Florida Catholic Media tells us, “a saint is a testament to God’s faithfulness and devotion. They are signs of hope, living proof that Jesus is among us and is working to make us holy.” That is why the ancient Greek Fathers of the Church call the saints eikos, “icons,” literally meaning, “windows of heaven.” The saints show us Christ through the story of their lives here on earth.
The saints give us hope and motivation, sharing the stories of their lives and all of the struggles, stresses, and battles they have faced alongside the Lord, and because with Him they thrived. Their testimonies are the best TED talks we can hear to motivate us to be more like them, and seek Christ in all we do.
Furthermore, Fr. Britton shares, “God did not come to have an exclusive one-on-one relationship with people. Jesus comes to establish a family, a community of brothers and sisters. ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’ ‘When you pray, say, ‘Our Father.’ (Mt 6:9). Not my father or their father, but our Father. To be a Catholic means to be incorporated into a family, the biggest family in the world.” The saints are like our older siblings, wanting to talk to us, give us advice, and see us succeed in our lives. We pray to them, talk to them, and ask for their guidance and intercession.
When I Started Welcoming the Saints into my Life
Growing up Catholic, you are always surrounded by the saints. Your parents may have a few statues, your parish may have shrines, and you hear their prayers. I never thought twice about the saints. All I knew was they were people who lived extraordinary lives by following the Lord. I always thought they had cool but very brutal stories that often involved torture and death, and if I were to become a saint I’d face the same hardships. This mentality made me feel intimidated by the saints and self-conscious, thinking I wasn’t worthy of God’s help if I wasn’t making as big of a sacrifice as those guys.
My view of the saints slowly changed over time with the help of my confirmation saint and patron St. Francis of Assisi. I share the story of how he led me in my faith in my Saints for Slackers episode and blog, and how he’s introduced me to some of his friends like Padre Pio and St. Anthony of Padua, who have helped me grow closer to Christ.
Aside from my main Franciscan buddies, I have welcomed many other saints into my life thanks to our Saints for Slackers series. Because I was able to listen to and read short snippets of the lives of many different aints, I was able to form relationships with them and look to their stories as inspiration. Saints like St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, Sts. Zelie and Louis Martin, and many more have given me motivation and hope because of how they lived their lives.
How to Welcome the Saints into Your Home
Sadly, we can’t send out e-cards to the saints, inviting them to a dinner party in our homes (though it would be so much fun). There are many great ways to welcome the saints into our homes so they can motivate and pray for us in our daily lives. Here are some ways I have welcomed them into mine:
● Consecrate Your Home/Space to a Saint
A great way to welcome the saints into your home is by putting your home into their care and protection. Many families like to consecrate their homes to the Holy Family or St. Michael the Archangel. I have personally consecrated my space in my room to Sts. Francis, Pio, and Anthony. (Yes, it’s more than one. I’ll take all the protection I can get!)
● Add Saint Images or Figures to Your Prayer Space
If you have a special area in your home for prayer, adding saint images or figures can help you remember to ask for their intercession or guidance when praying. I am half Cuban, and in the Cuban/Hispanic culture, homes tend to have small altars or shrines dedicated to a saint, especially to Mary. My Abuela has a beautiful shrine for Our Lady of Charity, which is the Virgin Mother who appeared in Cuba. While I am not as grand as my Abuela, I made my own mini shrine around St. Francis of Assisi in my prayer space.
● Use Saint Inspired Decor
We have many saint items in our shop including prints that can be a perfect decor item. Taking saint pictures, quotes, or art is a beautiful (and aesthetic) way to welcome them into your home. I designed my own Padre Pio quote and framed it above my desk so I can see my favorite quote, “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” when I’m hard at work.
● Make a Saint Your Wallpaper
Adding a saint image, quote or prayer as your phone or computer wallpaper can welcome the Saints into your physical and digital home. If you spend 90% of your time (like I do) working on a computer or your phone, this is the space you want to welcome them into. We happen to have a few free wallpaper downloads in our shop as well if you’re looking for a new background.
● Routinely Pray to the Saints
Including the saints in your daily prayers can refresh your prayer life. You can do this by simply stating the saint’s name followed by “pray for us,” or looking up prayers written by a saint to pray and reflect with. Many saints have novenas, which are nine-day prayers that you can follow and pray at any time. You can easily search online for a specific saint novena you with to pray with, and we have a few free downloads in our shop as well.
The saints are there as friends for us. They wish to inspire and help us throughout our lives.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said:
Upon my death, I will let fall a shower of roses; I wish to spend my heaven in doing good upon the earth.”
And I believe all of the saints wish to help us in our lives. By welcoming them into our homes and lives we are taking our own step towards sainthood, becoming closer to the Lord.