By: Marta Timar

Close friendships are a rewarding part of life and when those friends happen to be the saints in Heaven, it can make for an especially enriching spiritual life for us. Why should we form friendships with the saints? For one thing, in that they completely share our human nature, they understand and thoroughly relate to our joys, sorrows and struggles because they experienced those same joys, sorrows and struggles, too. Their lives also serve as examples for us of how to pattern our own lives in order to grow in deeper friendship with Jesus, and how to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on when we inevitably fail. They are wonderful sources of inspiration, encouraging us to think positively – if they could do it, so can I! Perhaps most importantly, we want to form friendships with the saints because they have attained the Beatific Vision and are in God’s presence. As such, they take an interest in us and stand ready and willing to serve as our powerful intercessors before the throne of God.

So how do we form friendships with the saints? There are thousands of saints in Heaven, so the first thing to do is choose one special saint. This can be done by reading the shorter biographies as found in the many “books of saints” that are available. Keep reading until you come upon a saint whose life story speaks to you, touching something within you, making you want to learn more about him or her.

Once you choose a particular saint to be your patron and with whom you wish form a friendship, be sure to cultivate that friendship, just like you would with any earthly friendship. Read more in-depth biographies and other literature about your saint in order to get to know him or her on a deeper level. Speak to your saint in prayer daily or as often as you can – remember, he or she is available 24/7/365. Keep a holy card of your saint handy, as most have a simple prayer on the reverse of the card directed to the saint depicted. Pray a novena to your saint leading up to his or her feast day, and attend Mass on your saint’s feast day. Celebrate your saint, make him or her known to others. Share how he or she has been a good friend and intercessor for you. Open your heart to your saint, going beyond the superficial, and share all manner of cares and concerns, all the usual ups and downs of daily life with him or her. Ask for his or her advice. Be sure to thank your saint for his or her friendship and intercessory help. It’s surprisingly easy and soon you will notice the ways in which your saint responds in lending a helping hand and most importantly, in gently leading you toward a more profound relationship with Jesus Christ.