The Powers/Abilities of the Saints

I have heard it said from various Catholics (when praying to saints): “Saint so-and-so, please protect me”. Or “Please protect them from random something

Which got me wondering…what exactly *are *the abilities of the saints? I realize that saints like Saint Michael (who is an angel) have the ability to protect, but what about regular human saints? How can they protect, since they were merely humans in life? I mean humans can protect as well, sure, but humans are limited. For instant, a mother can’t always protect her child, as much as she wants to. Do saints help people themselves? Or do they pray to God and ask Him to help the living in question?

Is there a diffrence between cannonized saints and their abilities to help the living compared to the “regular” departed saints of the church (AKA deceased Christians, like your average good Christian grandmother)?

I realize saints are not as powerful as God; they are not everywhere and they do not see everything. I was just wondering what the Church taught regarding their abilities.

their power lies in their ability to intercede with God. All of the saints, except for the BVM, are just spirits.


How the saints live, so they live in Heaven. A doctor saint is patron of doctors. A saint who patiently suffers from the flu is the patron of flu victims. This is one reason why we must be holy. As we respond to God’s graces now, so we will be vessels of said graces in Heaven. Meditation on Mary Mediatrix will help you better understand this.

I asked St Jude to pray for me several times and his prayers were answered for me.

Having a Saint pray for you is a beautiful thing.

Sainthood is not determined by the pope; sainthood is only officially recognized by the pope through the canonization process of the Catholic Church. In other words, all people who die in God’s friendship become saints. Canonization is an infallible statement by the Church that the saint is in heaven. - source

So the only difference between a “regular” saint and a canonized one is that we know for a fact that the latter are in heaven (canonization currently requires 2 miracles as proof.) While we can privately invoke the intercession of anyone we hope is in heaven or purgatory, a person cannot be invoked in public prayer—prayer done under Church auspices—until the Holy See has declared the person blessed.

Keep in mind that any ability or power attributed to any saint comes from God. No one has any power of their own except Him. So know that when we pray to the saints or the Blessed Virgin Mary, we know that it all ultimately flows from God alone.

*The intercession of fellow Christians—which is what the saints in heaven are—also clearly does not interfere with Christ’s unique mediatorship because in the four verses immediately preceding 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul says that Christians should interceed: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). Clearly, then, intercessory prayers offered by Christians on behalf of others is something “good and pleasing to God,” not something infringing on Christ’s role as mediator. * - article

Knowing that God is infinite, He could very well give them the ability to listen to every single prayer directed at them. Why not (and why limit God)? ANY saint can be asked to pray for us just like you can ask anyone you know to do the same. Patron saints are generally given such titles because of what they did in their lives or how the subject relates to them. A patron saint tends to be thought of the one “best suited” for their specific subject and generally you can hear a lot of people who pray to that saint and generally get results as proof of him/her being efficacious. Examples include St. Anthony as the patron of lost things.

*Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, John sees that “the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8). Thus the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

Angels do the same thing: “[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Rev. 8:3–4).* - source

As for how our prayers to them “work” exactly, nobody really knows. Maybe they just offer these prayers, or maybe He also gives them power to go and do these things that are being prayed for. Again though, keep in mind that it’s all ultimately through Him. :thumbsup:

The exact “mechanisms” of how the saints help us would be beyond our current comprehension. We do know, however, that the saints in heaven are not bound by time and space in the same way we are. We also know that we, in Christ, share in the divine life (as Scripture says, we have become “partakers of the divine nature”), and that the saints in heaven are true sons and daughters of God who both share in the divine life and the glory of the Trinity. I would imagine that they can indeed help us directly by means of the supernatural graces God has given them. The Church has described Mary as being “omnipotent by grace”. Mary shares in the divine life as fully as any created being possibly can. The Trinity has entrusted to Mary all of the gifts and graces they intend for mankind, Mary’s children by virtue of our adoption as sons and daughters of God. If Mary is “omnipotent by grace”, and can do all things by the gifts given to Her by God, then surely the saints, according to their individual “degree” of holiness, would share in a limited sense in God’s power. Again…how this all works is still a mystery for those of us on earth. In the holy mass, the priest prays that we “may come to share in the divinity of Christ as He humbled Himself to share in our humanity…” Though there are many traditions, down through the history of the Church, of individuals seeing a vision of a saint actually helping them directly. I recall one story of St. Nicholas of Tolentino appearing in the heavens to a group of a sailors during a terrible storm; the sailors witnessed St. Nicholas calming the storm. Certainly Our Lady has appeared to the faithful directly many times. Certainly they do pray for us as well. It is important to remember that the “power” of the saints comes from God and the unity they have achived with Him. You could compare it to the role of the priest in the sacraments. Who absolves you of your sins in the confessional, Jesus or the priest? Well, both. Jesus has given priests a share in his authority and ministry as a priest, so through human priests Jesus grants us absolution.

So interesting. I like it personally and hope you’ll bring us more amazing stuffs.

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