WHY LOOK TO “THE SAINTS” FOR HELP?
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” (Acts 3: 1-8)
I have often been asked, mostly by converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism: Why do we look to the saints for help, rather than go “directly” to God? But already in the New Testament, for example, in the passage quoted above, we see a man lame from birth “look at” Saints Peter and John, and receive healing.
Of course, the man receives this gift “in” and by “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” It is not “in” or by the name of Peter and John that the man is given the capacity to walk. Because Peter and John are vessels of God’s grace, rather than its sources. Grace is what they "have," as Peter says, because they are given it, by the Source of Grace. That’s the vital point to be made here, to anyone wondering about the help we receive through the saints. To the greater glory of God.
May He be merciful to me today, by the prayers of all the saints, to whom I “look” for a helping hand as I walk the cross-carrying journey. As men and women have done from the times of the Apostles. Amen!