I have a handbook of prayers and it asks Mary and St. Joseph to protect to guide to teach etc, not just intercede in prayer. I have tried to find official magisterial teaching on how to understand this type of language when it’s used in this context, but I get two opinions.
When saints are asked to do things directly, it’s almost Catholic speak for, pray to God that he would teach me to… The saint is not actually influencing your heart or mind - even though it would be by God’s power and will - this would be idolatry.
The second opinion is a both and. Saints both intercede and intervene on your behalf - both only by God’s grace of course. For example saint Anthony would help me find keys by praying to God for me that I would find them AND being allowed by God to guide me somehow to the place they are.
The second opinion seems to square more with what I see in traditional prayers vs the standard apologetic argument that the saints pray for us and nothing more.
I see both opinions cited as the definitive Catholic Answer.
Thanks so much for your time guys.