Jimmie Akin, the Catholic Answers apologist extraordinaire, in his blog JimmieAkin.org, has a post today dealing with whether or not Saints can hear prayers that were said after the Saint had died. Or whether if you make it to Heaven, you could pray for yourself in the past or in the future.
It was a slow news day in St Blog's Parish.
Jimmie is big into science fiction, square dancing, and lots of other things in addition to being one of the best explainers of the details of the Catholic faith that there is. Some of this got merged today as Jimmie explained to a reader who wondered how we could communicate with Saints who died many years ago. It wasn't quite like time travel, something Jimmie is conversant in, but in the course of the explanation Jimmie wrote:
Angels don't have death, but yes, saints in heaven do hear prayers made after their deaths. Thus in A.D. 2006 I can pray to St. Paul, who died in the A.D. 60s. That doesn't require heaven to be beyond time and space, though. Even if St. Paul is still fully within the flow of time, so that for him it's also 2006, he can still hear the prayer as long as he has a way to perceive it.
Well, I'm kind of a practical guy. I just trust that the Saints can hear me. And I sure never thought of praying for myself.
But I was struck by the fact that I have never heard or read a prayer to St Paul, or frankly, any of the other Apostles. Except maybe St. Jude who I'm sure works overtime as the "Saint for Lost Causes." I don't know about you, but I need a lot of intercession on my behalf if I'm going to make it up there.
When I reverted back in '81, I didn't know diddly about who I should use for my intercessors, so I chose a couple of obscure Polish "Blesseds:" Sister Faustina and Father Maximilian Kolbe! Hey, how about serendipity! Wow, I really scored and I'm thrilled that they are still working on my behalf. I got in early before they were canonized.
But those of you who are looking for an intercessor, don't go after St Francis of Assissi or St Therese of Lisieux ("The Little Flower"); why don't you chose an Apostle or St Paul (who's the 13th Apostle)? I bet that some of them are just waiting for someone to pray to them for help!
As I mentioned, it was indeed a slow news day in St Blog's. Next Jimmie dealt with a question from a reader who had heard people nominate their relatives and friends as "Saints" in an All Saints Day Liturgy. It must be one of those parishes where everybody was immaculately conceived. I could have answered that question. Jimmie did it properly with the appropriate citations.