When you hear the word saint, what is the first thing that pops into your mind?
Maybe you think of a statue in your church – a lifeless figure wearing medieval clothes, perhaps holding a bible or clutching a flower bouquet. Or you think of a holy card in your grandma's missal: some monk in ecstasy, a smiling girl surrounded with instruments of torture, an old priest encircled by a group of ragamuffin children.
While all these are legit images of saints, there is one word that should describe them all. Should, but usually doesn't. And that's unfortunate, because this word is the primary thing the saints yearn to be for us.
The word is FRIENDS.
Yep, you read that right. The saints in Heaven burn with desire for friendship. With us. With you. True, intimate, trusting friendship, just as real as the bond you share with your flesh-and-blood buddies in school.
Maybe you're rolling your eyes right now and thinking, “Yeah right. How can I be friends with a bunch of ancient dudes in Heaven? They lived centuries ago. They never faced my problems. We have nothing in common. And, duh, they can't even talk to me.”
Well, you're right that they can't talk to you. At least not physically. But you can talk to them, and they do listen . . . and they always answer! One hundred percent guaranteed. (Just try it and you'll see.)
Above all, the saints do understand your problems, because they’ve grappled with the same things you do. They wrestled with sin. They fell and rose up again. Their hearts ached with loneliness, fear, confusion, sorrow, and every other emotion you've ever felt. Hard decisions plagued them. Friends betrayed them. Their lives were lived on a battlefield, their hearts slashed with scars, just like yours and mine.
One of the reasons most people don't see the saints this way is because so many stories portray them as perfect, holy from the cradle, their lives strewn with miracles and visions. But not Catholic Teen Books! The novels in our saint section show saints as they really were: human beings who shared the very problems you encounter, and who long to be your friends. Why not get to know them? Whatever hard ground you're trudging through right now, there's a saint who's trekked through the mire too . . .
Being bullied? Meet Saint Wenceslas, of Christmas carol fame, who dealt with bullies at the highest level. (Treachery and Truth)
Continually fighting against your sins and failings? Enter Saint Camillus, one of the roughest guys you'll ever come across . . . yet he made it to sainthood. (A Soldier Surrenders)
Are you sick? Physically suffering? Carlo Acutis knows all about that! (The Boy Who Knew)
Is your life spinning totally out of control? Young King Baldwin has your back. He was up against that too. (Crusader King)
Is there someone you need to forgive? Someone who's hurt you so deeply that forgiveness feels impossible? Saint Magnus can tell you a thing or two! (Saint Magnus the Last Viking)
Abused? Afraid? Living in a nightmare of trauma or mental illness? God gave us Saint Dymphna just for that. (The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland)
Filled with anxiety about your looks? Then you need to meet Blessed Margaret asap! (Child, Unwanted)
Need a miracle? A humble doorkeeper is waiting to help in the most unexpected ways. (Roland West, Loner)
Confused about God's will in your life? Not sure what to do? Talk to Saint Cloud. You have nothing to lose. (Saint Cloud of Gaul: The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms)
Saints play a role in other stories too, like in 6 Dates to Disaster, when Wendy calls on St. Gemma to pray for her best friend, who was in an accident.
Whatever trials your life holds, the saints understand. They've been there, done that, and bought the tee. They truly care and really are our friends in Heaven. So why not grab a saint novel today, make a new friend, and see what happens. Catholic Teen Books promises you'll be surprised!