St. Padre Pio once said that prayer is the oxygen of the soul.
Just as our bodies need air to live, prayer nurtures the soul, bringing us ever closer to God.
The saints have much to teach us about prayer. Through the witness of their own prayer lives, and how we call upon them for their intercession in our own prayers, saints offer a glimpse into eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.
Calling upon the saints’ intercession is an application of the Communion of Saints, in which we ask the saints that their prayers will bring us help here on earth.
“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. … They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus …. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 956).
The Apostles' Creed includes our profession of belief in the Communion of Saints — after all, we are united as one body of Christ. In celebrating the Eucharist, we pray for those who have preceded us in death. Those in heaven — the saints — in turn pray for all of us here on earth and inspire us by their examples.
The Litany of Saints, which has a special place in the Easter Vigil Mass and ordination Masses for deacons, priests and bishops, is another powerful example of our appeal for help from many of our greatest saints.