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Companions for the Journey

Growing up as a child in a family who did not practice any sort of organized religion, I have come to know and understand many things of Christ only through the eyes of an adult. This has had both positive as well as negative influences on my Catholic journey. Things that children learn growing up in the Catholic faith were not the things that I learned as a child, but I came to understand and appreciate them as a mom. When my oldest child was in kindergarten, I remember hearing him recite the Guardian Angel prayer. I recall how touched I was to hear this beautiful prayer coming from the mouth of my son and I am so grateful to his teacher, that she taught him this prayer and, in turn, taught me to pray it as well. The idea of a guardian angel was so foreign to me, but it gave me great comfort to envision an angel as guardian over my son’s soul.

This angel prayer would be the beginning of my curiosity with things of God. Another first that I experienced because of my children was the amazing discovery of saints. The very first saint I met was St. Maximilian Kolbe. What a great saint to be my introduction to the Church triumphant! While helping my son to research his chosen saint for his first grade saint parade, the Lord opened my heart to this beautiful realm of heavenly helpers. It was as if I had discovered a hidden treasure and I just kept finding more and more and I began to explore saints for their intercessory help with everything… help with homework, blessings for our family, praying for a health need of a friend. There seemed to be an endless sea of helpers who were ready to assist me when I called upon them.

After much prayer, discernment, time in Adoration, and quiet contemplation, I have come to know more deeply that the Lord desires our good. All that He is, is goodness. For this reason alone, why would I doubt that He would not send me a helper, or many helpers, in my times of need? As Catholics, we honor and venerate many saints. We have our favorites and those who are closest to our hearts… those we call upon for lost items, to find a parking space (my personal favorite), for help in doing well on exams. From the outside looking in, this may seem somewhat strange. Christians may ask, “Why not just go to Jesus? Why do you need to call on someone else, when Jesus is the One?” That’s true. We can and do call on Jesus; however, He has also given us an army of helpers. Along with our guardian angel, we have the communion of saints. We proclaim this belief each time we speak and pray the words of the Creed. The communion of saints has been gifted to us by Christ so that we will never be alone. We will never be without heavenly help and we will never be left to battle without assistance.

Calling upon these companions for our earthly journey is a beautiful way to honor Christ. We honor Him as we lift our hearts and prayers to those who have gone before us and are now living in eternity with the Holy Trinity, with Mary and with all the heavenly host. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “I will spend my eternity in heaven doing good on earth.” We need this supernatural help and Jesus has given us the gift of prayer so that we can reach out to them whenever we are in need, and we can trust that all the saints and all the angels in heaven are awaiting our heartfelt cries for help. Their response is to fly to our assistance. What a comforting truth of our Catholic faith. God knew that we would need this help along our journey and I praise Him for enlightening me all those years ago as I stood listening at the doorway of my son’s room and hearing that prayer of his heart. Out of the mouths of babes, He will lead His people.

Copyright 2023 – Nicky Verna

I am a daughter of the King and bride of Christ; Catholic wife to my deacon husband Tom and mother to our 4 children. I am the Director of the New Evangelization at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish; SoulCore leader & Regional Ambassador; Retreat Leader; AbbeyFest Board Member & Unbound prayer warrior. I love all things Catholic and have a heart for women's ministry. I am genuinely in love with Christ!

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