The Church believes that we have much to learn from those who lived the Christian life before us. We should not throw away the experiences and discoveries of the past. If we live purely in the present then we are condemned to be always running to catch up.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in our devotion to the saints. These are the men and women who are heroes of the faith: enduring hardship, persecution and peril. They have taught well or lived great lives or else received only death in return for the Christian love they have shown.
The saints are our Christian family and the Catholic faith teaches that they are in the very presence of God. They, therefore, are able to pray for us and so we ask them to do just that. Through our understanding of their earthly lives, we are able to see God working through them.
Not all the saints have been very lovely people: some of them have been difficult, or grumpy or a bit intense. In other words, they are exactly like the people who live around us now. That's because God takes what is human and not perfect and uses it to enable His people to live and grow.
When we ask the saints for their prayers, we are not worshipping them, nor are we 'ganging up on God' and asking Him to change His mind. Instead, we look to the saints to show us how we can do what is right, what is good, what is loving. In the earthly lives of the saints we do not find perfection but instead see the constant battle for good to triumph over evil.