Sunday, November 1, 2015

Praying to Old Testament Saints

St. Moses
A few years back, I was having a pleasant chat with Fr. Jay Finelli on his podcast, iPadre.  We were talking about saints from the pages of Scripture when he told me a very interesting story.  He had once participated in a retreat for priests where the presenter encouraged the priests in attendance to pray to Old Testament saints.  She added that St. Moses was a favorite of hers; that every time she “prayed to” (asked for his prayerful intercession) St. Moses, she always got an answer.

A Funny Surprise
If you heard that podcast, you would be able to tell from my voice that I was a bit amazed.  It really should not have surprised me, though.  I write about saints a lot, including the Old Testament ones.  But, up until that point, I had never actually heard of someone praying to Old Testament saints.  Growing up, these really ancient holy ones rarely appeared in Catholic saint books and there seemed to be few if any traditions to ask for their prayers.  But the truth is that many holy Old Testament people are indeed in heaven - ready and willing to listen to and pray for us in our times of need.

An Experiment
Fr. Jay’s story inspired me and I decided to try novena to St. Moses.  Because these Old Testament saints are rarely understood as saints, it was hard to find any pre-prepared prayers on Moses (or any others) – actually, I could not find one at all.  So, I had to make up my own

A Younger Moses
Before my experimental novena, in my mind’s eye, Moses was a real old man … rather tired and worn out.  But on the first day of my novena my heart sensed a much younger and stronger Moses.  He felt much more approachable than the fatigued Moses who had been trapped in my imagination before.  The experimental novena immediately felt easier.  

Catechism of the Catholic Church
On Day Three of my novena to St. Moses, while doing some research for another project, my eyes stumbled upon an entry in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a passage that oddly is not listed in the index under “saints.”

The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.  (CCC 61)

Randomly stumbling upon this entry during the course of my novena almost felt like God and St. Moses were sending me a friendly hello, encouraging me to continue my trial novena.

Moses Pops up Unexpectedly While Preparing a CCD Lesson
On Day Six of my novena, I was brainstorming a CCD lesson for an upcoming class; I was teaching 12th grade and decided to bring in our dining room painting of the Last Supper and tell them a little bit about each apostle.  While sharing a bit about each apostle, my eyes fell upon the Passover Bread in the painting.  I spontaneously decided to work in how the Last Supper was a Passover meal, and what Passover meant.  Of course this brought me to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  So, there was St. Moses unexpectedly greeting me once again.

A Devotional
On another day of the novena, I casually picked up an Advent devotional my D.R.E. had given to me.  Some days I would get around to reading it, other days I didn’t.  On Day Eight of my novena, I did.  Guess who it was about.  Yes, Moses.  My heart jumped.  This felt like yet another heavenly sign. 

My Novena Ended, My Prayer Was Answered
By the end of my homemade novena to St. Moses, my request had been answered.  My heart was clear on what path to take for my issue at the time.  I feel strongly that the experiment was a success.  And, I now feel more inclined to give the many other Old Testament saints a try.  For, really, one simply can’t have too many friends in heaven.

Old Testament Saints in the Roman Martyrology
While the Roman Martyrology doesn’t claim to have every saint in heaven contained within its pages, the following Old Testament folks are included in the 2004 edition:

Aaron (Jul. 1)
Abraham (Oct. 9)
Amos (Jun. 15)
David (Dec. 29)
Eleazar (Aug. 1)
Elijah (Jul. 20)
Elisha (Jun. 14)
Ezekiel (Jul. 23)
Ezra (Jul. 13)
*Gabriel (Sept. 29)
Gideon (Sept. 26)
Habakkuk (Dec. 2)
Haggai (Dec. 16)
Hosea (Oct. 17)
Isaiah (May 9)
Jeremiah  (May 1)
Job (May 10)
Joel (Oct. 19)
Jonah (Sept. 21)
Joshua (Sept. 1)
Malachi (Dec. 18)
Melchizedek (Aug. 26)
Micah (Dec. 21)
*Michael (Sept. 29)
Moses (Sept. 4)
The Mother & Her Seven Sons (Aug. 1)
Nahum (Dec. 1)
Obadiah (Nov. 19)
Raphael (Sept. 29)
Samuel (Aug. 20)
Zechariah the Prophet (Sept. 6)
Zephaniah (Dec. 3).

* The Archangels Gabriel and Michael appear in both the Old and New Testaments.


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A Few Homemade Novenas to Old Testament Saints
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