Do the saints, whom we call upon, pray for us? They certainly pray for us. If I, a sinful man, a cold-hearted, sometimes wicked and malevolently disposed man, praying for others who have instructed or have not instructed me to pray for them and do not doubt, do not weary of saying their names during prayer, although sometimes not heartily, then will not God’s Saints—those lamps and torches, burning in God and before God, full of love to their earthly brethren— pray for me and for us when we call upon them with faith, hope, and love, according to our strength? They, our speedy helpers, pray also for our souls, as our divinely enlightened Mother, the holy Church, assures us.
Pray, therefore, undoubtingly to God’s Saints, asking their intercession before God on your behalf. They hear you in the Holy Spirit; only pray in the Holy Spirit, from your soul, for when you thus sincerely pray, then the Holy Spirit breathes in you, Who is the Spirit of truth and sincerity, and is our truth and sincerity. The one same Holy Spirit is in us and in the Saints. The Saints are holy through the Holy Spirit, Who sanctifies them and eternally dwells in them.
Lord! Thou, Whose love to us infinitely surpasses the love of every father, of every mother, of the tenderest wife, have mercy upon us!
Holy Virgin, our Lady! Thou, whose love to Christians surpasses the love of every earthly mother, of every wife, hear our prayers and save us! May we constantly remember thee! May we always pray fervently to thee! May we ever undoubtingly and unfailingly take refuge beneath thy holy protection!
Just as there is a “cup of calamity, and a cup of wrath” (Esaias 51:17, lxx), so there is a cup of weakness which, at the proper time, the Lord takes from our hands and puts into the hands of our enemies. Then it is no longer we but the demons who grow weak and fall.
—St John of Karpathos [Philokalia Vol. One]