Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prayers of the Saints

One thing many non-Catholics do not understand is praying to saints. As my Protestant father once told me about his belief in prayer: "We go directly to Jesus." So should Catholics but this doesn't mean that you cannot have others pray for you as well. I don't think I would get much argument with Protestants about their belief in intercessory prayer and the benefits associated with it. Scripture instructs us to pray for eachother:

  • James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Who can be more righteous than a saint?

No Contact with the Dead?

Some Protestants will state that the Old Testament prohibits communication with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-11) but what this scripture is forbiding is conjuring up spirits for the purpose of gaining information. A great example of this would be séances.

We are all One Body in Christ

Jesus came and established a New Covenant and Catholics believe what Jesus said--that true believers never really die:

  • John 11:25-26: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Ironically, Jesus asked this question to Martha, mother of Lazarus, who was mourning her son Lazarus's death. If communicating to the physically dead is wrong, why did Jesus do it? Further into John Chapter 11, Jesus talked to a physically dead man (Lazarus) and then raised him from the dead:

  • John 11:43-44: When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

And why did Jesus talk to Moses and Elijah on the Mount?

  • Matthew 17:3: Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Also, twice in Revelations it demonstrates that the prayers of the saints are offered to God in heaven:

  • Revelation 5:8: And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

  • Revelation 8:3: Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.

In conclusion, do what feels right in your heart. But many miracles have occurred when praying on the Rosary or when saints have been asked for their help in prayer. In fact, two posthumous miracles are required for any man or woman to be canonized a saint, no matter how holy of a life they lived or how many miracles they were associated with during their lifetime.

So as it says in First Timothy:

  • 1 Timothy 2:1: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone

And always remember:

For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive --Luke 20:38

Thanks be to God and for all the prayers of the saints,

© Michael J. Cox

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