I don't pray to saints but I know people who do. I was raised outwith the Catholic faith and therefore thought I needed no intermediary either for confession or prayer.
Technically, one asks saints to pray for them - in precisely the same way one might ask a neighbour or friend. Here
The Catholic theology of the communion of saints is clear that those who enjoy the beatific vision (are in heaven) can still know about what's going on here - and can take an interest. Here
The appellations of "saint of lost causes" (St Jude) or travel (St Christopher) tend to come from something in the life of that saint - Christopher means "Christ bearer" - and he is often pictured carrying the infant Christ on his shoulder. No, there's no evidence he ever lived, I know...
There is *no* requirement to pray to (better, through) the saints at all - one can quite happily be a Catholic and never do any such thing. Reading Leigh's comment in the other thread prompts me to say that all prayer in Catholic theology is ultimately aimed at God.
It's not that one *needs* an intermediary other than Jesus for prayer. (For certain things, such as the celebration of certain sacraments, one does not so much need an intermediary, as only ordained persons can fulfil that function).
Whole section from the CCC
/Edit... adding because I've not answered Leigh's questions.
Should it have a place? I'm not touching that one...
Does it have a place? Well, it would be hard to find a Christian history that did not include it...
Do people sincerely believe in the communion of saints, that those who have died have a care for us, can hear our requests, will intercede for us? I do - and I suspect that most other Roman Catholics and Orthodox and Copts do, as well - that's a fairly seizable group of people (doesn't mean we're right, of course, just because there are a lot of us).
For instance, I spent a lot of time studying Catherine of Siena, as a student, and knew people who were at the forefront of the field of her study. She, her writings and her life made a great impact on me, so asking her to intercede for me makes and made sense to me.
The origins are not particularly clear - but certainly very early on in Christian history, the list of martyrs was being read in the liturgy (without looking it up, I believe the list was in the liturgy of Justin). That may simply have been to honour them, it may have been to hold them up as examples... But the cult (in the sense of "cultus" not the sense of Wako) of the saints and relics and so on is certainly part of the Christian church from the first century on.
It all hinges on the idea that death is not an insurmountable barrier. As I would ask someone I know to pray for me, I would ask Catherine...
(Note, I'm not willing to get into long disputes about this - this is the teaching of the church I am part of and the Reformation has already happened, thanks).
I know little about the Saints and asking them to intercede in prayer.
We offer prayers to the Almighty asking that God hear them via his son Jesus.
By way of an explaination,
A ship sinks mid Atlantic in high seas. As the tragedy unfolded a life raft was being tossed about by the waves, clinging to the raft was and old sea dog stoker and a young cabin boy who was on his first voyage.
The old hand asks the lad if he can pray, the lad says he can. Well replies the salt, I would if I were you.
The boy kneels down and starts to pray, Lord God, he says look down on us in our hour of need, sent down your only son Jesus to save us, Nay, Nay lad the stoker shouts "Tell im to come im self, this is no job for a boy"#
regards the Bear
Thank you Janet, that was the sort of response I was hoping for. I've grown up in protestant churches where the saints were not taught. The Catholic
tradition of venerating various saints, has a lot for it, insomuch as these people are worthy of honour and we should all aspire to be like them.
Asking them to intercede on our behalf is not unlike asking a living "brother" to also intercede on our behalf.
I did notice in some of your references, Janet, the reference to pugatory. I know what a purgative is and what purgatory is supposed to represent, but it does not line up with any of my Biblical studies at all. I was under the impression that one of the Popes in recent history had declared that purgatory does not exist. This raises some questions
a) What were the origins of this state
b) Is it still part of Catholic dogma
If it is then:
c) Who is sent to purgatory
d) How do you redeem yourself from purgatory
If it isn't then:
e) why not
f) why is it still part of the CCC.
g) What is the current teaching in relation to death and judgement
As far as I know, it's still part of the CCC - as here
Although the CCC isn't the ultimate source of doctrine, it's a pretty good place to start.
I'll have to look into more recent changes but I doubt the idea has been rescinded.
The general idea is that heaven is for the perfect - most of us are not perfect when we die, even if we are destined for heaven.
Purgatory is where that perfecting takes place - it is *only* for those destined to heaven.
What's changing is perhaps the emphasis on fire - purgation could be so many things. A theologian I used to know suggested that the main pain of purgatory was simply to be presented with the sight of Christ, crucified - either we can accept that amount of love, or we can not. But if we can, it's going to be a life changing, soul changing experience.
(The rabbi sitting next to him said, "You tell me that when I'm dead I'm gonna see Jesus? I'll have ANOTHER heart attack!!!"). :}
It's also tied up with the very firm belief that the body is part and parcel of the afterlife - belief in the resurrection of the body is fundamental.
It is an interesting concept, but I find it at odds with the likes of:
1Thess 4:16 - 17
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
1 Thess 5: 9
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
and: Mark 9: 44-48
"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. "
Rev 20: 11-15
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
There is no reference to "second chances" once we die that I can see.
Heb 9: 27
" And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment"
I'm not trying to "convert" you Janet, I'm interested, as some of Catholic dogma is outside my realm of experience.
I thought I made it clear that purgatory was only for the saved?
It's not a second chance - it's a purification.
I understand that point, Janet. Is there a Biblical basis for it? Chapter and verse?
I've had a read of the section from the Council of Trent regarding the Decree on Purgatory cf: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct25.html
but it fails to enlighten me. A quick scan of the Council of Florence could not enlighten me any, as I could find no reference to it.
I've given you the sources I've used, Leigh, and I've said a number of times I'm not prepared to argue the cases - the reformation happened.
I don't particularly like being grilled, "Chapter and verse?" as though I were a schoolchild, having to defend my knowledge of things to teacher.
The RCC accepts Scripture AND tradition as valid sources of doctrine - I've said that a number of times.
I "pray" (in my head) to whomever might be "listening" to me
I wasn't meaning to "grill" you Janet, I was hoping for some enlightenment from an educated source (that being you). As I, too, have said, Catholic
Dogma is outside my realm of experience.
You would be well aware that some groups tend to regard the Catholic Church as a separate religion to Christianity. There are also many "experts" who can assert many great and wonderful things but, in reality, have no credibility.
All that am trying to understand some of the reasoning behind their teachings. If you don't know, or don't wish to discuss it, that is fine by me, I was hoping to learn something.
It would be very difficult indeed to separate the Roman Catholic church from Christianity, if one considers the history of both; this is one reason we
teach church history first... I often have students come in assured that Catholics are not Christians, and then once they have had a look at the
history, they get very confused.
And yes, there are more of those groups than I like -t he best rendition of it I have heard was a clergyman saying to me, "We know Catholics don't pray, but perhaps you could for us, just this once?". Profound lack of history - what in heaven's name (literally) did he think Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, John XXIII, etc. were DOING?
The main point about purgatory is that it does not contradict the general point - the saved are saved, the damned, are not. Purgatory is a place of cleansing, for those who are already destined for heaven.
For all we know, it may last only a second - as in the example I gave above.
It doesn't actually contradict any of the passages you listed - because it doesn't contradict the idea that there is the possibility of salvation or damnation, and that between the two, there is no congress.
The history of Christianity is replete with prayer with those who have already died - the practice is well established before the middle ages. It's part of the Christian heritage, and based on the very simple idea that death is not the end of life.
(Note that in saying it's part of the Christian heritage, I don't mean to imply that those who do not accept it or practice it are not Christian - merely that it is there, in the history of Christianity. It's the same reason I teach my students from the Black led Pentecostal churches to sing the Sanctus in Latin and the Kyrie in Greek -that, too, is their heritage as Christians).
Prayer to the saints in heaven seems counter-intutive to me, especially in the implementation. About spoken prayer--are the saints thought to be
listening to what every Christian says, all the time, everywhere, in every language, so that they will hear if they are called upon to pray about
something? What about silent prayer--are the saints thought to have been given the ability to read minds? If so, would they read everybody's mind
all the time?
I think it more likely that the saints are delivered from earthly concerns until creation is made new, and that their conversations and thinking are directed toward heaven.
Of course, God could arrange enlarged communication powers for the saints. But, did He? As one who thinks Roman Catholic tradition has sometimes erred (for example, in condemning to hell all those who believe in salvation through faith, apart from works), I think this is an error as well. I do so, aware that the Lord has been known to think quite differently than what man expects.
Thank you Janet, that explanation seems to answer my questions. Scholar, my thinking in regards to your questions, would be along the lines of, "If
you address me, I will answer you". i.e. if you address a person, saint, or otherwise, that has died, then, provided that God has allowed such, then,
they will answer, either by interceding on your behalf, or by some other method permissable by the almighty.
Personally, I make my requests known to God by praying as the Holy Spirit gives utterance.
You are always respectful, bear, and thank you for those kind words!
Ah, deadman - those were interesting days.
Thank you, Bear for "standing up for me", too. I'm sure Janet is well aware of my respect for her beliefs and experience.
Leigh, I wasn't saying that you had no respect! I apologise if it came across that way.
You are unlikely to flat out tell me I'm wrong - which is the sort of thing I meant.
I did not think such a thing, Janet, I was merely thanking Bear for recognising intentions, and clarifying for the benefit of others.
Gee, this could get messy! LOL
Hehehe - a short story, if I may?
Daughter and I were visiting "venerable university town" of perspiring dreams, and a friend there. During our postprandial walk, our friend gently chided me - one should not stand on the grass in that particular college unless one is in the possession of a Master's degree.
Daughter kindly put her arm around friend, drew him back a pace, and said, "Friendname, put down the shovel and step away from the hole..."
Very Good! LOL!