I would like to say that it’s complicated, but maybe it’s not, my relationship with the saints. I know that as an Episcopalian I’m allowed to do whatever I will with them. If I were on the low church, evangelical side of things, I could write them off completely, and go to one of those parishes that don’t have a patron saint–unfortunately, Grace Episcopal just doesn’t have the pathos for me that St. Alban’s Episcopal or St. Bede’s Episcopal does. On the other hand, if I were a bit more Anglo-Catholic than I am, I would probably be going all mari0logical on someone’s ass (forgive my French, O Theotokos). Being more realistically in the broad church part of the spectrum (as I understand it), and being a former member of the Assemblies of God, my understanding of saints and a Christian’s proper relationship to them is probably a little fuzzier (and more self-conscious) than someone who has grown up with Church Tradition being almost second nature.
Here are some fuzzy thoughts on saints, maybe my blog friends can help me scrub them up a bit:
1) I love saints. I love their stories, and that aspect is what I find the most spiritually efficacious. I am inspired by the lives of the saints to live my own life more wholly devoted to God. Wearing a saint’s medal around my neck reminds of my desire to live this godly lifestyle (an easy fact to forget sometimes), and marking saint’s feast days as a part of the Church Calendar helps me to live out the Christian life more fully and incarnationally in all aspects of my day-to-day routine.
2) I understand, or think I understand, the argument for asking saints to pray for you as in Sancte Augustine, ora pro nobis (et cervisiam). But I’m a little uneasy with the idea of bringing requests directly to saints, as some in the liturgical tradition seem to do (but do they really, or that just residual protestant propaganda floating around in my head?).
3) In a particularly Episcopalian (as opposed to RC) stance, I don’t feel that it is necessary to be canonized in order to be saint. On the other hand, I don’t want to be too inclusive: Sancte Elvis, ora pro NO-bis. There needs to be some sort of consensus (damn, I am wishy-washy!), some sort of standard. But all I know is that Dorothy Day and MLK are both as saintly as anyone from the Roman Missal, and deserve to be recognized as such even if their jawbones never do heal someone of the scurvy.
So, now that I’ve laid out my silliness (and blasphemy? and heresy? and idolatry?)for all to read, who’s going to tell me about their understanding of and relationship with the saints?