Saint Peter with the keys of the kingdom, interceding for the church.
Questions: Who is in this ‘great cloud of witnesses’ all around us? (Hebrews 12:1) Are they not the many saints that make up the heavenly host? And if we are not able to pray to them so much, are they not able to intercede for us?
THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS
“Fundamentalists often challenge the Catholic practice of asking saints and angels to pray on our behalf. But the Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us.
“Thus, in Psalm 103 we pray, ‘Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!’ (Ps. 103:20–21). And in the opening verses of Psalms 148 we pray, ‘Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!’
“Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, John sees that ‘the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the Saints.’ (Rev. 5:8). Thus the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.” (Catholic.com)
WHY DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO SAINTS?
“When Catholics say the word saint, they are usually talking about a specific kind of saint, a canonized saint. Catholics should probably be more explicit so as not to cause confusion.
“The Church recognizes some Christians (saints) that have endured, entered Heaven and won the crown, and while there, have proven to be serious prayer warriors for us on earth. The Church must be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the saint is in heaven. This is why they go through so much scrutiny over each and every saint. When they canonize someone they are really saying: ‘Hey, this person had a very cool relationship to the Lord while on earth and now they are in heaven and are really praying hard for us.‘
“Any evangelical could look at people who have been canonized by the Catholic Church and say, ‘yeah, that person is in heaven. That’s a good choice.’ (Catholicbridge.com)
WHAT IS DIVINE MERCY?
“Divine Mercy gets to the heart of Sacred Scripture. In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, ‘The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God’s mercy to sinners’ (1849). Right there: That summarizes it. Divine Mercy is the Gospel. It’s the good news. And so, it gets to the very center of our faith. Moreover, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, ‘Divine Mercy is not a secondary devotion, but an integral dimension of Christian faith and prayer.’ Benedict even goes so far as to say, ‘Mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message.’
“Okay, so what is Divine Mercy? What is this thing that gets to the heart of Sacred Scripture and to the very center of our faith? To begin, mercy is ‘love’s second name,’ as John Paul II said. ‘It’s a particular kind of love, a particular mode of love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin.’
“Divine Mercy is when God’s love meets us and helps us in the midst of our suffering and sin. In fact, because this side of eternity we’re all sinners and because suffering is our lot in life, God’s love for us here always takes the form of mercy. It’s always the Lord stepping out in compassion to help us poor, weak, and broken sinners. From our perspective, then, every good we receive is an expression of Divine Mercy.” (Marians of the Immaculate Conception) [thedivinemercy.org]
My theology401 blog is a personal response to my conscience hearing thoughts from God. This promisedsoil blog expands what I learned from it. And if you have followed me, you may have noticed the consistency, or a direction of my progress. . .
PRAYER IS BECOMING MY EFFECTIVE WAY TO HELP SOMEONE
In the past two weeks, I have learned to pray the Rosary every night. Upon that, for my concern about additional online requests for prayer, I found to pray the nine successive days of novena (Latin, novem is ‘nine’) prayers mentioning certain saints as patrons.
So I see the request, like someone on Facebook who is in the ministry who has a liver problem. I search for the patron saint for liver problems, then, for the novena prayer the church has written for the Saint interceding especially for that concern; and pray.
Now, God is enabling me to pray more as I am able. I haven’t heard so much results yet, but yesterday, when a nephew mentioned how his wife was in an accident, my thought rushed to the Daily prayer of Freedom, and that they might want to have it.
Then today, Facebook notified me that my oldest daughter had seconded my offering of daily prayer by saying she was praying along with me for them. That blessed my heart to see how God is bringing his Good News into even our own family suffering.
THE MORE I CHOOSE TO PRAY THE LESS I CONSCIOUSLY SIN
Our prayer requires some concentration, and the words lead to devotion for my heart to lead my mind. (Our spirit is sensitive to written prayers, while either good or bad thoughts can enter our mind.) Keeping notes, I record the good, and rebuke the bad.
Any chance to communicate our efforts of family prayer, is exciting, especially when it is more than ‘like’, or ‘happy birthday’, or ‘Merry Christmas’–if that’s all families give and get. Facebook is about a thousand-word photo, not a prayer–until a tragedy.
Now, we can begin to realize how God gets our attention by allowing the enemy to breach our hedge of protection. It happens, but for good reason. We need to turn away from sin, self, and all fleshly desires. Godly wisdom brings families together.
THE SUFFERING OF YESHUA-JESUS’ PASSION IS MY CONSOLATION
I am finally learning how the church teaches Yeshua-Jesus’ crucifiction can be brought into each day of my life. It is through personal prayer, and communion alone or together. The Catholic mass is a mystery that claims holy presence like no other.
If you think there is some conflict to keep us from gaining a holy life, you are right. The world, the flesh, and self battle over every issue. Yet, there is hope to find help to overcome our family dysfunction. Only faith in Yeshua-Jesus can bring peace.
Let us acknowledge the mystery of the Gospel in every form of prayer can help change and reform our hearts to receive reenforcements, and prevent any enemy advance. Bottom line, increasing devotion to God, his word, and his church is my answer.
May the Lord bless and keep you.