"A lay Catholic perspective"

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Heavenly Helpers

by Christopher Robinson


I  BELIEVE IN...the Communion of Saints,..."

Yes, I do. I rely on their assistance for many things every day. What is the Communion of Saints? Who are these creatures? They are so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us...the millions of angels have gathered for the festival...the spirits of the saints who have been made perfect.[1] Wow! That is a comprehensive list! It includes all the angels who chose to be faithful to God, and all the people who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Together they number more than the stars in the sky, more than the grains of sand on the sea shore — just as God promised to Abraham!


Jesus assured us that our angels are constantly in the presence of our Father in heaven. They are always praying and interceding for us: they pray with us whenever we pray; they defend us in our battles against Satan; they help us in our everyday lives and protect us in danger; they do God's will perfectly because they cannot sin.

We can pray to our guardian angel. I pray to mine every morning using this prayer:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
From sinful stain O keep me free,
And in this sorrow my helper be.

Perhaps you have children or grandchildren for whom you are concerned. Here is a prayer which you can pray on their behalf:

Holy angels, guardians of my (grand)children, you know that I can no longer guide, guard or direct my (grand)children as when they were younger. I entrust them to your care. I beg you with the heart of a (grand)mother/father: protect my (grand)children today in body and soul. Strengthen their will that they may avoid evil. You see the face of the Heavenly Father: ask Him to lead my (grand)children along life's way to goodness so that someday, together with you, we may sing His praises. Amen.

What more can we ask of our Heavenly Father than to send his holy angels to guide and protect us and our offspring every day?


The saints in heaven, including those still in purgatory, also intercede on our behalf for our requests and needs. They are the porters of special graces. Many hundreds of that cloud of witnesses have been publicly recognized by the Church down through the ages through beatification and canonization. Some of them are patrons of particular causes and we are encouraged to invoke their assistance whenever we need it.

For example, the Church encourages us to ask Saint Joseph for help in everything to do with home and family such as groceries and house repairs. He can also help us to teach our children; after all, he taught Jesus, didn't he? He is very good at helping fathers to be good fathers. Joseph's special skill was carpentry; thus he has a special role helping carpenters. (I have heard that he is also pretty good at auto-mechanics!) Likewise, Mary, his spouse, (the Mother of God) can help mothers to be good mothers.

Here is a true story about Saint Joseph

My friend Erin (now in the Seminary) lived with the Community of the Beatitudes in Beauceville, Québec for two years. That Community depends totally on providence for their survival and several times each week a large box of food arrives on their doorstep. Another friend, Jean-Pierre (also in the Seminary), went to visit Erin and the Community. Erin was the cook for the Community at that time and he invoked Saint Joseph every day.

On one occasion, there was no meat for the twenty-five people who lived in the house. Jean-Pierre offered to go to the store to buy some, but Erin would not allow him to go. He said, "Trust God; I have asked Saint Joseph and he will provide." At noon hour there was still no meat and Jean-Pierre was quite concerned. But Erin was unperturbed; in mid-afternoon he warmed up the oven in anticipation of cooking a roast because he had asked for one. Shortly thereafter the door bell rang. Jean-Pierre answered the door but no one was there; he found only a box with some roasts of beef in it!

Other saints have special ministries. Saint Anthony is often invoked to help us find things which are lost. Saint Jude is the patron of hopeless cases. Our Community musicians regularly ask Saint Cecilia for her assistance when they practise, and before leading the music at Mass or at our prayer meetings. It makes a big difference.

Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine, is the patron saint of lost Catholics. While I was living in Sudbury, I shared a house with several other Christian men (Erin from the above story plus some lost Catholics). I asked Saint Monica to be our patroness and I prayed to her every day to bring back those who had abandoned our faith. Two of the men who lived there did come back as did one woman who was a frequent visitor! Praise God!

God cares for us

The stories of angels and saints active in my life and the lives of my family and friends are countless. All of them serve to encourage us in our daily walk and draw us closer to the heart of God and to the heart of Jesus. These stories help our faith to grow, and each one is a demonstration of God's love and care for us. He has carved us on the palm of his hand; he will not forget us.

[1] Hb 12:1,22,23