Yaya Meets St. Anthony

My mother-in-law, Yaya, is Baptist. Well, currently she attends Joel Osteen’s church, but the official denomination that she would claim to be a part of (and in which she raised my husband) is the Southern Baptist church.

Friends sometimes ask if there’s been any tension between us and Yaya since my husband and I converted to Catholicism in 2007, but there really hasn’t been. Occasionally my husband will try to start a good-natured debate with her about doctrinal differences, but she’s never interested: “I love Jesus and y’all love Jesus and Jesus loves us and that’s all I really need to know,” she once said.

Like in every other area of life, the details of Christian doctrine are of little importance to her — in fact, I’m not sure if she notices them at all. She is so intensely focused on the big picture that she doesn’t have time to mess around with the small things. (For example, when she unloads the dishwasher when she’s visiting our house, she takes the silverware basket and just dumps the whole thing into the drawer. “I’m not gonna sit there and sort knives and forks when I’ve got grandchildren I could be hugging and kissing!” she says.)

Nevertheless, as a gesture of respect, I rarely bring up the areas of Christian doctrine where Baptists and Catholics differ. In general, I figure there’s no need to wade into controversial territory and risk causing tension between us.

But then Yaya lost some important paperwork. And I decided to tell her about St. Anthony.

My phone rang one afternoon, and as soon as I said “hello?” I heard Yaya’s voice shouting, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO DO I’VE LOOKED EVERYWHERE FOR THIS STUPID THING AND IT’S JUST LOST AND IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY!” She eventually calmed down enough to explain that she’d been helping an elderly friend who’d been caught up in a scam, and she’d borrowed some critical documents to contact state officials on his behalf. Now they were lost, and her friend desperately needed them.

I wasn’t sure how she’d react to this, but I decided to risk it: “Have you ever heard of the St. Anthony prayer?” I asked.

She said she hadn’t. I proceeded to tell her about the Catholic tradition (with a lower-case “t”) that Anthony of Padua prays for people who have lost items. I recounted some c-r-a-z-y moments I’ve had after saying the St. Anthony prayer, including the time my husband’s cell phone had been lost for a week. We’d turned the house upside down and had finally given up, though a new phone wasn’t in the budget. I was thinking about it in RCIA class one night, and asked St. Anthony to pray that it turned up. Not five minutes later my phone rang. I didn’t answer it since I was in class, but later I heard the voicemail from my mom telling me that the kids just found the cell phone. I have countless St. Anthony stories like that.

“That’s what I need! How do I do that prayer?” Yaya asked.

Surprised at what an easy sell it was, I told her the words to the simple prayer:

St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around,
something is lost and can’t be found!

I started to include some caveats about how we’re just asking another human to pray for us, that it’s not a magic spell or anything like that, but she cut me off and said she had to go say that prayer. She called back that night, ecstatic: she’d found the papers. Yaya was officially sold on the St. Anthony prayer.

Since this was obviously going to become a key devotion for her, I thought I’d take the opportunity for a little catechesis on the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. “Now, Yaya, I want to clarify that Catholics do not believe that saints have any power of their own,” I began. “We believe that they’re just regular people who are ‘alive in Christ’ in heaven and can pray to the Lord for us.”

“I am so excited that St. Anthony found that paperwork for me!” she shouted, and I heard the shuffling of papers in the background. I wasn’t sure if she heard what I’d said.

“You know, in the second century a bunch of prominent Christian writers talked about this belief. Origen of Alexandria wrote about how saints who have ‘fallen asleep in Christ’ pray for those of us still on earth…”

“I was so angry I was fixin’ to slap someone if I didn’t find those papers! But that St. Anthony sure did come through. I’m going to pray to him more often!”

“Ah, yes, well, I hope you understand that when we talk about ‘praying to’ saints, we’re using the word ‘pray’ there as shorthand for ‘communicating,’ different than when we pray to Jesus, which is an act of worship. We only ask the saints for their prayers, no different than when you asked your friend Ethel to pray that you found the documents.”

The response was more ebullient commentary over the sounds of scattering papers, so I said I’d just email her some additional info about this doctrine.

I figured she must have read what I sent her, or perhaps absorbed my erudite theological explanations, because we heard a lot about St. Anthony in the ensuing months. When she lost her safe deposit box key, she called my husband in a panic.

“I need you to pray to St. Anthony! I can’t find this thing anywhere!” she said.

“Sure, I’ll ask him to pray for us,” he said, thinking that that would be the end of it.

She paused, waiting for him to start. “Do it now,” she said.

“Oh, umm. Okay.” He cleared his throat and said, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and can’t be found.”

She paused again. “Tell him it’s a safe deposit box key.”

And my husband repeated the prayer, this time replacing “something” with “a safe deposit box key.” Yaya found the key the next day, once again giving thanks to her buddy St. Anthony.

I was delighted with this opportunity for interdenominational dialogue, perhaps feeling a bit satisfied with myself that I’d offered such a rock-solid defense of the Communion of Saints that even my Baptist mother-in-law was convinced.

Then, the other day, I got another frantic call. This time she was so frustrated she could hardly speak because she’d lost her driver’s license and needed it to register for something. It’d been gone for a few days. She couldn’t find it anywhere. “Did you say a prayer to St. Anthony?” I asked. I’d obviously explained this teaching so well that I could relax my terminology, so I’d begun using the shorthand phrasing of “praying to” saints rather than the full articulation that we are simply asking the saints for their prayers.

“Jennifer, I’ve tried everything!” she said over the sound of slamming drawers and crashing boxes. “I prayed to Jesus, I prayed to St. Anthony — hell, I asked Jesus to say a prayer to St. Anthony!”

Looks like we may have a ways to go on this one.

Jennifer Fulwiler


Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer from Austin, Texas who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She's a columnist for Envoy magazine, a regular guest on the Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio networks, and a contributor to the books The Church and New Media, Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and Style, Sex and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter. She's also writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. As much as she loves writing, her favorite job is being mom to her five young children. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.

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  • James H, London

    Your mother-in-law sounds adorable!

    Yeah, I’ve some St Anthony stories, too. I’ve rediscovered all sorts of critical stuff, by that prayer.

  • Oh m still laughing… loved this story… your m-i-l is a gem of a woman! 🙂

  • James

    The Lord reveals his power in letting others communicate it. Angels, Saints, People, sacraments.  So, I like it when she asks Jesus to pray to St. Anthony. The prayer goes to Jesus and then he commands the saint to carry it out.


    When it comes to lost articles, St. Anthony has never let me down.  I don’t say that prayer, though.  Actually I’ve never heard of it.  I say, “St. Anthony, please help me find _______.”

  • Joan

    I can’t stop laughing. (hell, I asked Jesus to say a prayer to St. Anthony!”) SO FUNNY.
    I also have non-Catholic friends who now call on St. Anthony.
    Once a co-worker was looking for keys to one of the offices. She called me to ask if I
    knew where they might be. “NO” I said, but I will ask St.Anthony to help you.
    30 Minutes later she called to say they found them and 2 more sets.  HAA!

  • Jennifer, you are the Catholic Erma Bombeck!  Wisdom+humor – a morning blessing. LOL

  • Jeanne G.

    I love Yaya stories!

  • It is crazy how so many people don’t really care about the doctrines of our faith but more of how it makes them feel, or the superficial side.  It is one thing to be simple and another to be informed and understand what you believe and why you believe it.    

  • My Irish Grandmother taught this prayer to Isabelle,  her Scottish friend, of the Presbyterian denomination. Each time Isabelle prayed for St Anthony’s intercession, her lost item was promptly found much faster than my my Grandma prayed. 
    It caused her to remark, in her Scottish burr, “I think he’s tryin’ to converrrt me!”

  • Donna

    When my kids were little I composed a little St Anthony ditty for them and we would sing it when something was lost. It would always be followed by three Glory Be’s:

    Dear St. Anthony,
    We need your prayers.
    We lost something special
    And we don’t know where,
    So please pray for us
    And show us the way
    To find that something special – today.

    Glory Be (x3)

  • Grllopez

    Why not just pray to Jesus or God the Father?  He KNOWS where it is!  And He is sufficient enough to make it known to you.  You do not need another mediator.  After all, Jesus died for YOU!  He deserves 100% attention.  He is good enough that we do not need to ask a dead saint to pray for us.  Consider that the dead cannot see us or hear our petitions.  They are dead.  Scripture tells us to ask other believers in Christ (saints) to intercede for us here on earth, which is why we ask other Christians to pray for us.  St. Anthony has nothing to do with finding something; but maybe Satan is using this to confuse Catholics into believing that the dead can hear and make a difference in their lives when GLORY should be for the LORD alone.  Sorry this may make you upset, but it makes me upset, too, when I see Catholics try to defend their prays to dead saints over prayers to our Lord and Savior.

  • Grllopez

    P.S. When I say Scripture tells us to ask other believers in Christ to intercede for us here on earth, that means Christians living right now with us on earth, b/c again, the dead in Christ cannot hear us or see us.  They are with the Lord and giving him full worship and praise, not watching us.  They do not have that glory or ability.

  • catholicexchange

    Good comments, Grllopez–thank you. 

    We know from Scripture that the saints in heaven do in fact offer prayers to God (see Rev. 5:8), not just worship. And we also know that Christians are expected to pray and intercede for each other (see, for instance 1 Tim 2:1-4). If we ask our next door neighbor to pray for us, why not ask a saint in heaven, who is in fact much more alive and more powerful than those of us on earth! You depict “the dead” as being kind of impotent and aloof, but there’s no reason to think that. Why not give it a try? You may be surprised.

  • Bob B.

    And you know that the saints in heaven ..”do not have that glory or ability.” because…?

    There is a reason that God is called The Most High. There are other angels & saints with high degrees of glory in Heaven.  Why in salvation history did God entrust his word to prophets and angels and not go directly to the Jewish and Christian peoples?  At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel had the glorious privilege of being God’s messenger, both seeing and hearing Mary.

    And of course you do not doubt that the demons can hear and see us in this world.  Why would God not grant his saints in heaven a similar privilege.

    Bob B.

  • Grllopez

    Humans who have died (in Christ) do not have the glory(achievement) or ability to see or intervene with humans living on earth.  Scripture makes it very clear that it is all about Him.  He doesn’t need secretaries in heaven.    

    Dead saints are different than angels.  Angels were never living human beings on earth.  And prophets were only men, too, different than angels.  Demons are fallen angels – again, not humans.


  • Bob B.

    “He doesn’t need secretaries in heaven”

    Of course he doesn’t NEED assistance from anyone.  So why did he sent St. Gabriel to be his messenger?  Why, because he willed it.   Just like he willed the prophets in the Old Testament, and the apostles in the New Testament to be his representatives on earth. 

    Why do you believe that when the saints go to heaven, they stop serving God?

  • Grllopez

    Rev. 5:8 says…bowls of incense, being the prayers of the saints.  We don’t know if the prayers are from those on earth or  in heaven, and it does not say that those were received by the dead in Christ from those on earth.  It does not support that the dead in Christ can receive prayers from those living on earth.

    Even IF those who died can hear us on earth, can they hear our silent prayers and thoughts?  Where in Scripture does it say that they have been granted omniscient power?

    I understand the dead (in Christ) to be with the Lord, worshiping and praising and enjoying Him.  They have no more anxieties or cares.  Their only focus in on Him.  

    But, finally, my concern is this: that God is not enough to receive our prayers alone?  WHY NOT????  Why do we need someone else, as if the dead have power.  It does not say so.  

    Yes, pray in numbers here on earth with our Christian brothers and sisters!  But pray TO Him who has ALL the power!  He is worthy ALONE.  Amen!  : )  TRUST IN HIM ALONE!

  • catholicexchange

    It looks like your argument in the first paragraph defeats itself. If the prayers are from earth, a possibility you admit, then the saints in heaven are presenting them to God on our behalf, i.e. interceding. If they are not prayers from earth (the other possibility you admit) then they are still prayers from saints in heaven–that, actually, is supported by the text, and John tells us this is all a vision of Heaven that he is seeing.

    Addressing your final points: I assure you that every Catholic is well aware that God and God alone is the source of all power and grace. All our prayers are ultimately directed to him–but Scripture reminds us (again, as in 1 Tim) that we are to pray for each other. In other words: I ask another human to pray on my behalf. Why does God want me to pray for my brother when God can respond to my brother’s needs just fine without me? Catholics think of it as a privilege–God allows us to participate in his saving plan, and he doesn’t see it as an affront against his awesome majesty. He is truly great!

  • scragsma

    “the dead in Christ cannot hear us or see us” – ?? On what basis do you claim that? It isn’t true, you know.

  • Wbarquez

    Saint Anthony of Padua once said: “Action speaks louder than words.”  We need not debate about doctrine.  We need only to preach the Gospel by how we live our lives.  And as Saint Francis of Assisi, a contemporary of Saint Anthony, reportedly said: “use words if necessary”.  

  • Mblouin6354

    In my Catholic Italian family, asking for help from St. Anthony does not end with lost things.  Nooooo, everything goes through St. Anthony first.  Every prayer or petition; every request for forgiveness; every plea; anguish; hurt; thank you; blessing and joy.
    Novenas are said on Tuesdays to St. Anthony, statues are erected and candles lit with the promise that he will go before the majesty of the Lord and petition Him on our behalf. St Anthony is a huge St with tremendous status for many.

  • Bible Christian

    The dead cannot contact the living, as Jesus did after his resurrection, even though Jesus wants us to follow him, we all know it is impossible.  Of course they are dead!  We see they are dead!  We know the dead can do nothing to affect the living, don’t we?  We don’t need to be Christians to see that obvious fact of life.  But wait!  Jesus taught about this.  What did he mean in Matthew 22:32, or Luke 20:38, or Mark 12:27 “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  You are badly mistaken!”  Why was that important to say (at least 3 times by at least 3 witnesses).  What does that mean?  Was that a reference to a future resurrection event?  At the time of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were dead – but were they?  If they were not mere corpses that God was the God of at that time, what were they?  Also, what the heck was Peter thinking in 2 Peter 1:13 “…as long as I live in the tent of this body… ” and then goes on in 2Peter1:15 “..I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” If Peter were dead, he’d be incapable of reaching out to people, just as Elijah and Moses would be no more able to appear to the disciples or anyone else since they were long dead at the time of the disciples.  Did Peter think he knew something we’ve forgotten?  Wait a minute, were Moses and Elijah really talking to Jesus in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9, or were they just dead, waiting? What does that mean?  How did Peter, James, and John, see Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus, yet separate from Jesus?  Maybe, just maybe, the saints are alive and well, but not always effective at reaching the living.  Enough of that evidence, there is biblical evidence that people who are dead cannot help the living, right?  Hmmm… that is a tough one.  Sorry, I have never found such verses.  You are on your own.  Epiphany.

  • James Stagg

    St. Anthony has never stopped evangelizing….what a saint! 

  • bt

    Now that is a great story! 

  • Mariarosa99

    God doesn’t need ANYTHING OR ANYONE–so why did He create angels OR humans?  Aren’t we blessed that He sees fit to not only create us, who deserve to still be nothingness, and would revert to nothingness were it not for the loving thought of God our Creator; but He gives us ministry in His creation, and communion with all the saved?  Presuming you are admitted to Heaven someday, Grllopez, wouldn’t you LOVE to beg God’s blessing on your loved ones still on earth, fighting the good fight?

  • Jollier

    FYI  – Erma was Catholic as well. 

  • Grllopez

    The issue is not if dead souls in heaven are praying for loved ones on earth.  Maybe they are.  The issue is should living beings on earth be praying to the dead in Christ.  God does not permit the medium.  But furthermore, He is worthy enough for our prayers and petitions that we do not need to go through someone else to ASK them to pray for us.  God already knows our hearts and desires and loves us so much, that He WANTS us to come directly to Him for such requests. 

    But, hey, if you want to continue praying to the dead, you have your free will.  I love to go right to Him in prayer.  And when I ask my living brother and sisters in Christ to pray for me, too, they go directly to Him in prayer, as well.  That is certainly biblical.

  • Rich

    Those who die in CHRIST are more alive in heaven than on earth.  See Revelations, chapter 5.  

  • Rich

    “…or ability to see or intervene…” Is that in the Bible?

  • Grllopez

    Again, the issue is: should we pray to the dead (in Christ) to either help us directly, as you claim St. Anthony can, or to pray for us to ask God to help us.  

    The point is, we should not be praying to the dead, as Scripture is clear that we are not to “seek the dead.”  

    Our God is a jealous God, so why would He grant power to (St. Anthony) to help you find something, when He is willing, able, and all-powerful enough to do it for you Himself.  He should get the glory, not St. Anthony!  

    Asking my living fellow believer in Christ to pray for me is biblical and a commandment, and I can assure you, they too go directly to Him in prayer and not a dead saint.  

    But, again, if you want to believe that St. Anthony has the power to help you b/c he has been granted by God such ability, it is your free will.  Like I said to Mariarose, I will go directly to Him who knows all my needs and desires and can help me alone.  He alone is deserving of all my attention and petitions and prayers.  

  • MaryK

    I loved this St. Anthony story, both funny and uplifting.  But some of the comments received brings back a lot of memories.  During the first 30 years of my life, I was a committed, fundamentalist Protestant – with a lot of animosity toward Catholics.  I didn’t have a computer with all these websites to argue ideology with the absolute belief, like “grllopez”, that I would win arguments and save those Catholics from themselves.  To bring a Catholic to his/her senses was the “Pearl of Great Price”.  There was nothing a Catholic could say that would convince me they were not lost souls, nothing I would take into consideration, nothing that would change my mind.

    That is until, in a time and place where the Holy Spirit could open my eyes to see and my ears to hear, He broke down my defenses long enough for my mind to open to Truth.  As a Protestant, I know my heart was in the right place, Jesus was my Savior, my Redeemer, my Life – but the joy of now being a redeemed, saved by grace Catholic is truly a Gift from God!

    I also know it is useless, in this computer age, to argue theology with a committed Sola Scriptura Protestant in websites such as this – for I could have been like them, in all sincerity trying to out-Scripture and win over one of us.  They (like my former self) truly believe they have all the answers and like Lucy in the Peanuts comic, “If I am wrong, I’ll be wrong at the top of my voice!”

    I don’t doubt their sincerity – they (like ourselves) are “working out [our] salvation” as St. Paul says and God smiles on our separated brothers and sisters too.  So, I pray for them, overlook their unwillingness to listen, and ask God (and the saints) to help them live their faith as they know it.

  • Mariarosa99

    Dead souls?  In Heaven?  No–living souls, although their corresponding bodies are dead without them.  And how, then, is asking a departed loved one whose soul is alive like never before in Heaven, inferior to asking brothers and sisters in Christ who are MUCH further removed from God’s glory (than their counterparts in Heaven) to pray for you?  On the contrary, it would seem to make much more sense to ask those whose prayers ascend before the golden altar of God as smoke of incense (Apoc 8:3,4). 

  • Grllopez

    You know what I mean: I am trying to delineate between those who are dead and those alive.  Yes, very much more alive in heaven.  

    However, we see things completely different. Remember,  I don’t even have that book (Apoc.) in my Bible.  Just when you pray to St. Anthony, or any dead saint, be sure that you are confident in your heart that it is right in God’s sight.  I’m done here.  Thanks.

  • Bob B.

    But why do you ask your brothers & sisters on earth to pray for you?  God sees and knows what you need and hears your prayers to him.  It must be that God sees value in prayers of intersession.  And if so, why would the saints in heaven and without sin be excluded from this glory?

    Does it explicitly say this in the bible?

  • MaryK

    Look again – you do have The Apocalypse of John in your Bible, only you call it, “Revelations”.  It’s the same book.

  • QuoVadisAnima

    My oldest sister, being a cradle Catholic of the “new & improved” (watered down to non-existent) catechesis of the 60’s, left the Church – and that was part of her reasoning:  Just Jesus & me, don’t need His mother or the saints.

    She returned to the Church a decade later because — having come from a large family & then begun raising a family of her own — she realized that Jesus founded a Church that is FAMILY (yes, Scripture says we are adopted by the Father, & that we are brothers & sisters OF the Lord as well as IN the Lord, co-heirs with Christ), & she realized that the Body of Christ puts the Head (Jesus) first, but does not treat the rest of the various parts of the Body (brethren in Christ) as if they are non-existent or as if to somehow acknowledge them with affection would be to deny Christ something.

    What Father is jealous when His family loves one another & helps one another, esp. to grow closer to Him?

    — And if your logic is correct, then you had better stop wasting time with your family & friends on earth, too, or you are taking attention away from the Lord!  😉

  • Jacob Morgan

    I was looking for my install disc for Office 07 Professional for about 9 months now.  Turned the house upside down a few times.  Even looked in my tackle box.  Thought that maybe the moving men stole it.

    Was about to break down and buy a new copy (which is expensive) and read this article over lunch at work.  Thought what the heck, maybe St Anthony can help.  Had the disc that night.  It was in a box in the basement marked “Apple discs” as in Apple IIe (don’t ask why I still have those).  That box was in the attic at the old house, why on earth would a disc from the first floor office be in it?   Anyway, I decided to try that box and there it was.  If it was a coincidence, it sure was a big one. 

    Even found a notebook I had given up looking for, did not even ask to find that–St. Anthony must have been showing off.  Which was appropriate–since my wife and I converted East 2010 I was OK with prayers to the saints, but it was not something I had done very often.  Nothing like being hit upside the head with a two-by-four to get one’s attention.   

  • Jacob Morgan

    Using some special skill or interest of mine to help people makes me happy, there is nothing unusual about that.  Those who devote time and effort in learning, say, emergency medicine, or high angle rescue, or something like that are happy to use those special interests they have to even help strangers.  People who have some esoteric interest will spend hours on the phone talking to someone across the country about some odd topic; it delights them to be able to find someone who shares the same interest. 

    The saints departed can help the living very much by praying to God on their behalf.  Can anyone say, if they died in a car crash and then saw God, or any of the good guys for that matter, that they would not ask that those who were in the crash with them would be taken care of?  The saints in Heaven are not brain washed and on happy pills–that is not the Chrisitan God–they know that people they left behind have problems.  But that would be happiness to them if they could petition God directly, and either see the petitions come to pass or understand that what is going on is going on for the best.

    Therefore, if those in Heaven are happy, it is completely reasonable that some of that happiness could derive from being able to help others.  If a saint is the patron of something, it makes perfect sense that that saint would be happy to be charitable by petitioning God on behalf of others who are involved with that something. 

    Faith, hope, love.  Those in Heaven need no faith or hope, those have come to fruition.  Love is what carries on, and why should love of the living be excluded from that?  Rather it should be perfected.

    That wasn’t from RCIA or anything like that, I’ve just had reason to think about it recently, so it just my thoughts, not official doctrine.

  • MPS

    I guess I missed the St. Anthony’s prayer in my Bible.
    Praying to God the Father asking for His divine assistance has always been more than enough for me.

  • QuoVadisAnima

    Perhaps you missed all the verses about intercessory prayers?  How could you possibly believe you don’t need them?  Does that mean that you don’t give them to others either?

    And when St. James informs us that ‘the prayers of a righteous man availeth much’, you have no problem judging yourself more righteous than anyone you could ask to intercede for you?

    God loves humility – ‘Lord I am not worthy’ – so where does such an attitude as you describe, of having neither need nor use for intercessory prayer, fit in with the person of virtue that Scripture calls us to be?

  • Mariarosa99

    If you’re depending solely on your Bible to direct your prayer life, you should also realize you’re missing the fact that the Bible does not claim to be, does not anywhere state, and never was intended to be the sole rule of faith.  Sola Scriptura is anti-Scriptural.

  • Annie

    Gillopez, if God always knows what is in your heart why do you pray to him? I would assume because it make you feel better. You seem so sure your right, but I hardly think God really cares about this issue, especially if the people who pray to dead saints put Him above all else.

  • chaco

    Pardon me while I get really abstract;  “…that they also may be one in Us,…” (Jn 17: 21). A Litany contains; “Blessed be God in His angels & in His saints.” Maybe such profundity falls into “the way is narrow” category. [ I take “narrow” to mean  spiritually narrow moreso than intellectually narrow; Sometimes we can experience the Truth of something without being able to logically explain it. ]

  • Bible Christian

     Hello, Grllopez.  You have asked some excellent questions, but they are somewhat foreign to some Christians.  (to “delineate” between the saints and the visibly living when it comes to asking for help).  Could I take a swing at trying to explain why some Christians bother to ask saints to intercede when they very well can ask God directly? – or are you really no longer interested.  It is okay if you don’t agree with the practice, but there are some reasons for it that you might at least be gratified in knowing about – that you may then peacefully reject in greater knowledge, if you wish.  Very Best Regards, Bible Christian.

  • Yaya, is Spanish for Granma, Yayo is for Grandpa so in my capacity as Yayo she is a lovely person, way past changing and clearly she “Gets It”. 

    The other side of St Anthony is the recompense, some times a donation in his collection box at church.  Or if you forget, he will send you an opportunity.  The last time HE “found” my Glasses, a mailer arrived asking for $10 to perform a simple op and restore eyesight to a blind man, who had “lost” his sight.

    Now both he and I can see, thanks to St Anthony!

  • MaryK

    Although I respect your family’s devotion to St Anthony, that is something I would not do. St Anthony has been called, “The Saint of Lost Things” and I am sure the way he lived is an inspiration to all of us as we ask him to pray for us before God (or to find something that is lost).  We ask intercessory prayers of all the saints, but we do not worship them .  Perhaps it is my Protestant background that makes me cringe when people seen to almost “worship” a saint, when it is God (as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that we Catholics worship. For instance, next time you are at Mass, listen carefully to the words of the Gloria,  Eucharistic and other prayers – all addressing prayer to God. Only at the end of the Confiteor do we ask for intercessory prayers, “…and I ask Blessed Virgin Mary, all the angels and saints, and you – my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to God, our Father….”     

    Back to St.Anthony, he was a mortal being, subject to all the errors of the flesh as we are.  When our need is for “forgiveness; every plea; anguish; hurt; thank you; blessing and joy” as you put it, well – perhaps addressing prayer only to St.A is  going overboard with a good thing.  A donut tastes good, but 100 of them?When I am in anguish, need forgiveness, plea for help in making a decision, etc – I may ask St Anthony (or any saint in heaven) to intercede for me, but I beseech God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit to forgive and help me, or to teach me to live according to his will. 

    It was Jesus, the Son of God, who paid the ultimate price for our salvation, and “our” includes the saints in Heaven.  Why then would we raise the importance of any mortal, whether on Earth or in Heaven, above that of our Savior? Yet, I’m sure God understands our errors in prayer, and does not hold it against us when our hearts are in the right place.