God’s Gracious Advocates

When you pray to God your prayers are sometimes answered and sometimes not. But did you know there is a less direct but more effective way to get the good lord’s ear? Ask a saint to intercede on your behalf. It is believed that the prayers of a saint are more powerful than an ordinary human’s pleas. God is more likely to listen to them.

A saint is a person who led a holy life on earth and either died a martyr or had a couple of miracles attributed to him. Miracles usually involve curing someone of a terminal illness. Card tricks and magic tricks don’t count.

Having a good working relationship with a saint or two is a good idea. However, there are thousands and thousands of saints, so which one should you ask to help you with your particular need? If you share a name with one of these guys, he or she might be a good advocate for you. Also, keep in mind that each saint has been assigned a certain area of responsibility. Some are the patron saint of a country, city or region. Saint Patrick, for instance, is the patron saint of Ireland. If you live there he could be your go-to-guy. There are also patron saints for many vocations, special causes and life situations. Saint Matthew listens to the prayers of accountants (my guess is that most of them are praying for a more interesting career) while Saint Martin de Porres is the patron saint of race relations. He must be very busy these days. Boys can always pray to Saint John Bosco, the patron saint of boys. According to AmericanCatholic.org, Bosco was “encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys.” On second thought, you may want to keep your kid away from this guy.

saint seiya

If you like anime, you definitely need to check Saint Seiya out.

Another thing to consider when choosing a saint is their workload. Before you start praying to Saint Nicholas you should bear in mind that, besides being the patron saint of children, he is also the advocate for sailors, lawyers, virgins (one can only guess what they are praying for), teachers, rag pickers, pawnbrokers, packers (I don’t think it’s the football team), prisoners and lovers both paid (prostitutes) and unpaid. He must get a lot of prayer requests from these groups already. Who knows when he might get around to your needs?

Of course you are welcome to call upon any of the saints to intercede on your behalf. But with so many holy beings out there, you need to do thorough research in order to select your best advocate. Choosing the right saint can be a tricky business. Here are some helpful tips.

Just as you may want to stay away from saints with too much on their plates, I wonder if you should avoid those with too little going on. Saint Bonaventure is the patron saint of only one thing… bowel disorders. Maybe there is a reason that he doesn’t have more responsibilities. Then again, if you need him, you need him.

Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of those seeking help with lost things. I didn’t find him to be that helpful. In my adolescent days I prayed to him that I would lose my virginity. It was to no avail. I have since learned that he only helps you FIND things, not lose them. I ended up switching to Saint Jude, the patron saint of desperate causes.

Saint Bernardine is the patron saint of gambling addicts, but don’t pray to her while at the black jack table. She preached AGAINST gambling. So many wasted prayers! What we really need is a patron saint of casino gambling and lotteries who is a little more open minded regarding such activities. That would be appreciated. After all, we gamblers do more than our share of praying.

Don’t expect too much heavenly guidance regarding your computer. The patron saint of computers, the internet and everyone who is overwhelmed by scientific and technological advances is Isidore of Seville. He was a smart guy, but he died in 636 A.D. which was about 1350 years before Al Gore invented the Internet. I think he is in way over his head. The last time my computer was hacked, Isidore was no help.

Isidore of Seville

He hasn’t even finished reading the Terms and Conditions.

This spring, you may be inclined to help your favorite baseball team by praying to Saint Rita, the patron saint of baseball. Don’t bother unless you are a Chicago Cubs fan. She is also the patron saint of impossible causes, so she will be tied up praying for the Cubs all season.

Alternatively, you could try Saint Sebastian, the holy sponsor of athletes and sports. But, he will likely be exhausted from handling all the prayers related to broken NCAA brackets.

If you are a football fan, you can pray to Saint Luigi Scrosoppi who was recently appointed the heavenly advocate of footballers. He is supposed to be covering soccer and American football but his name suggests that he will be spending more time praying for goals than touchdowns. I may try appealing to him next season anyway. Last year I asked Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of disasters to help my fantasy football team, but given the way I had drafted my team there wasn’t much that even he could do.

By the way, you need to make sure that the glorified soul that you are praying to is still on the team. One of the most popular saints was Christopher, the guardian angel of travelers. I always prayed to him before boarding an airplane. Unfortunately those prayers were a waste as, unbeknownst to me, he was demoted to a legend in 1969. Apparently he never really existed (What are we supposed to do with all those little statues on our dashboards?). Now air travelers have to pray to the much less popular Saint Joseph of Cupertino. Needless to say, I am less comfortable flying these days.

The Catholic Church keeps adding new saints. Since Pope Francis was elected pope in March 2013, seventeen new saints have been canonized. So it is essential that you stay up to date. One of the recent additions is Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena. She is the patron saint of people suffering from racial discrimination. She was no doubt brought on board to help Saint Martin de Porres with race relations. Another new saint is Angela of Foligno. Although she died in 1309 she wasn’t beatified (one of the steps in becoming a saint) until 1709, and only joined the sainthood in 2013. She could have used help from Saint Expedite, the patron saint of speedy results (he really is a saint). Angela is the patron saint of those afflicted by sexual temptation, which is a lot of people. Her being added to the line-up was way overdue.

saint steve jobs

His coming was announced in the Book of Jobs.

If deciding which holy being to pray to is giving you a headache take two aspirin and say a prayer to Saint Teresa of Avila, the patron saint of headaches. That usually works for me.

But don’t worry the church says that we don’t actually choose our saints; they choose us. I am hoping that Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers will pick me. I could use the help.

John Wade is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

©2015, all rights reserved
published with permission of the author

You can read John Wade’s article about funny town names here. Or you can read a completely different author’s experience when going back home.