Whoever does not honor them, therefore, disparages Christ who is in them and belittles the grace of God through which they have turned out so well. I ask you, what does it say about a person's attitude toward the holy church if that person does not honor our fellow members who are already at peace with Christ and have been made certain of eternal salvation? Christ said: "The angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents." Certainly, therefore, our brothers and sisters, the saints, ardently desire the hastening of our repentance and salvation. And since the angels pray for us [Zech. 1:12], it is very likely that the saints also pray for us. Their love for us has not diminished but increased. That does not mean, however, that we should invoke the saints, just as we do not call upon angels but only upon Christ our God.
We should nevertheless honor the saints as the early church honored them by respectfully celebrating their memory. It gave thanks to God for setting them free, for the grace given to them, for their blessedness, and for the excellent gifts which God through the saints poured out on the church. Is it not true that God through Augustine, not to mention others, stirs up the Church to comprehend the epistles of Paul, when that saint seeks so ardently in the Scriptures and then, armed with the teaching of Paul, so powerfully refutes and confounds the Pelagians?
Are not saints the brightest mirrors of divine grace in which we see what the grace of God can do?? ... Their examples make us want to imitate them, so that we pray to God for a similar faith and to imitate the virtues of the saints as befits our own calling. Consequently, our faith in Christ is strenthened, our charity is set aflame, and our hope of eternal life is confirmed. We do not believe the saints are gone, but rather gone ahead to the life of the age to come.
We take with utmost seriousness the article of Creed: "I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints." For it is no small consolation for a devoted heart to remember that those who like us fought sin in this mortal flesh have now been liberated and taken to safety. We will certainly follow them, for we are their brothers and sisters, "citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone." [Eph 2:19-20] O that blessed city of God, into which so many children, virgins, and martyrs have been received, where we will see for eternity apostles, prophets, patriarchs and all the righteous who have believed in Christ, from Adam up to the last Christian on earth! We will see choirs of angels and the most blessed mother herself who is the the noblest member of the mystical body, finally the only true source of eternal joy for angels and humans, Jesus Christ the king of glory, and God who is all in all.
[Urbanus Rhegius, Confessor at Smalcald: Preaching the Reformation, pp. 93-97]