Q: We hear of people having strong relationships with the Saints, but how do we form relationships with them? How do I find that Saint?
It’s important to have relationships with the Saints, and I think that everyone should have a close relationship with the Virgin Mary in addition to their ‘personal’ saint, since our Lord gifted her to all humanity and her love for us is immense.
From even when I was a kid, I used to read the ‘Book of Saints’ volumes, all the Synaxarii and lives of saints that I could find. I found I had a natural inclination to some of them. I got close to my personal patron saint later in my life and I attribute much of my Christianity to him now. So whatever saint clicks – start cultivating with that saint no matter what!
After choosing, it’s good to read all the literature you can about that saint so that you feel like you’re getting to know him/her. Keep in mind that there are many references available in English now outside of the traditional Synaxarium. Wallace Budge has translated many things, and there are many monastic vitae available as well.
Then, it’s important to speak to the saint daily, get a vigil lamp by his/her icon, sing veneration hymns for them. If you felt their help with something, thank them, sing to them. Consider writing poetry or venerations for them. On the saint’s feast day, go all out in celebrating the way you would your own festive days. I feel closest to my beloved saint on his feast days. You can have all-night vigils for the saint, read his/her life in one go, pray psalmody etc…
If it’s a monastic saint for whom there are many known sayings, take quotes of that saint and put them on your wall, meditate on them and how to live them the way the Saint lived them. When you are stuck in a problem or struggling with something, think back on your saint and ask yourself how that saint would have dealt with the same situation.
Basically, it’s like cultivating a relationship with someone on earth that you can see. Get to know them, talk to them, celebrate with them, cry with them. Try this with an open heart, and you may be surprised at how easy it is. I will publish a story later in the Monastic section about someone I know that had great experiences with his intercessor!
Hope this helps.
Their intercessions and prayers be with all of us!