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The Communion of Saints

alec vanderboom

As a former Protestant, I'm unused to relying on the intersession of the saints. I said the line "I believe in the communion of the saints" in the Apostle's Creed a million times. I never used it. Saint Francis, was just plain Francis of Assisi to me. He was an exciting hero whom I admired greatly. Yet I would no more think of calling on him for help in my daily life then I would say, my namesake, Abigail Adams.

As a new Catholic, I've inched towards an understanding of the saints. In the beginning, I thought nothing of turning to Jesus directly for every little barked shin. I hesitated, however, to bother the saints with anything but the most serious prayer requests. It seemed impolite, somehow, to trouble them. They were in heaven, they had earned their right to rest. Jesus was divine. I knew that he had to be patient with me. Endless patience from the saints, I wasn't so sure about.

I'm growing in devotion to Mary through the work of St. Louis D Montfort. Prayers to Saint Joseph have always come more easily to me. Yet the Saint that has really helped me bridge this gulf, is Saint Jude. This Saint has never, ever let me down. I go to him all the time for lost things.

At first, I only asked St. Jude to find important items, such as my husband's missing passport. Then I had a major breakthrough during the long episodes of morning sickness with baby Maria. Alex and Hannah would come to me and say "Mama, I can't find my tea set!" I'd want to help them, but there was no way I was moving my aching body for something trivial. So we struggled for a few weeks. Then I finally hit upon a formula. "Go pray to St. Jude first. If you can't find it then, I'll come help you look." Man, if that didn't work every time.

I don't know how it works. St. Jude had a photographic memory. I don't know if he telegraphs the likely location of the missing object or after praying to St. Jude we all take our search much more seriously. I just know that it always works.

Despite six months of constant success however, my search goes something like this.

"I desperately need to find the baby's pacifier."

"Pray to St. Jude, Mama" says Hannah with perfect faith.

"St Jude, help us find Maria's pacifier" I say out loud. But then mentally add "But if you can't find it this time, that's okay, I'll still believe in you."
Then wham, the pacifier appears in an unlikely place. "Oh, thanks St. Jude."

"But if you can't find it this time . . ." still mentally adding that coda despite St. Jude's perfect track record of success.

I'm sure St. Jude is doing far more important work at your house than finding lost pacifiers, tea sets and beloved spider man comic books. I'm grateful, however, that he is patiently teaching me that the saints will never ever let us down. Hopefully, some year I'll reach the stage where I'm not anxiously checking on the Internet, "Did Oliver Hill Farm get saved?" Rather, I'll confidently know in my heart "of course our Blessed Mother took care of that need for us."