Ordinary Time - Week 09c

Devotion to Saints

(From Conversation with God, Fernandez Carvajal)

The Gospel of today's Mass presents to us the figure of a Centurion who is the model of many virtues - faith, humility, trust in God. The liturgy has preserved his words in the Holy Mass: Lord I am not worthy to have you come under my roof... Jesus was amazed at the attitude of this man, and after granting his request - the healing of one of his servants - He turned and said to the multitude that followed him, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.'

This centurion is an example for us too of a man who knows how to ask for things. First, he sent some elders to intercede for him. When they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, 'He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue.' Later, he sends more friends to Jesus when He is close to his house to tell him not to take the trouble to go in, because a simple word from him will be sufficient to cure the sick servant. Jesus had been delighted to hear the Jews speak on behalf of this Gentile: He is worthy to have you do this for him.

In Scripture we find many testimonies to this effective intercession. When Yahweh proposed to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham begged him: Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?... And the Lord said, 'If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake'. But as there were not fifty righteous men, Abraham went on reducing the number: And if there were forty?... thirty?… twenty?... ten? God accepts his intercession each time because Abraham was the friend of God.

The saints who already enjoy eternal bliss are the special friends of God, because they loved him above all things and they served him with an heroic life. They are our great allies and intercessors - they always heed our prayers and present them to God, guaranteeing their worth by the merits they obtained here on earth, and by their union with the Blessed Trinity. God gives them honour and glory through the miracles wrought through their intercession and the graces they obtain for us for our material and spiritual needs, for in this life they merited before God that their prayers should be heard after their death.

Devotion to the saints is part of the Catholic faith and has been a living tradition in the Church from the very beginning. The Second Vatican Council tells us that it is most fitting, therefore, that we love those friends and co heirs of Jesus Christ, who are also our brothers and outstanding benefactors, and that we give due thanks to God for them, humbly invoking them and having recourse to their prayers, their aid and help in obtaining from God through his Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, our only Redeemer and Saviour, the benefits we need. We have friends in Heaven. Let us turn today - and every day - to their intercession. They will help us to do our everyday work with rectitude of intention and to surmount whatever we find hardest.