Can you help with the interpretation of Rev. 5:8?


#1

I have some trouble with the meaning of text like rev. 5:8 and other text where angels or saints in heaven offer prayers to God. i have actually 2 questions about this verse.

the first question is, whose prayers are they? the text doesn't specify, so how can i know?

what i find is that the usual catholic take is that the prayers are from the saints on earth while the protestants say the prayers are from the saint in heaven and angels themselves.
wich one is it?

the second question is what it means that the prayer are form the saints in heaven themselves or form the saints on earth.

typically is find that if the prayer are from the saints on earths this verse show the saints in heaven are interceding for the saints on earth.

or, if the prayers are form the saints in heaven themselfs then they are not interceding for us on earth.

i don't get this logic. because if the prayers are from earth then the saints in heaven are not really interceding, they are just delivering the message from earth, to God. kinda like a mailman,

if the prayer are of the saints in heaven themselves then one could ask what they would be praying for, they could be praying for us on earth, and thus be interceding.

could someone please help me out here?

thank you, Joep


#2

Hi Joe,

In Rev. 6:8 the golden bowls were the prayers of the saints. You are assuming that the prayers being offered were prayers of petition (asking favors), which could very well be the case. But they probably are also prayers of praise and adoration as well as prayers of thanksgiving.

They are probably the prayers of people on earth and the prayers of those in heaven as well. In Tobit 12:12 we have an angel presenting the prayers of petition of Tobit and Sarah to God. So we know that such intercession takes place in heaven as the result of our asking for such intercession. Intercession is not, by the way, a matter of just being a go between (the work of a mailman). In 2 Th 3:1 St. Paul asks, “Finally, brothers, pray for us.” We pray for each other out of concern and love. So everyone benefits; the one asking for intersession and the interceder. This is what being a part of the Mystical Body of Christ is all about. The more people involved, the more love is generated. Whatever the form of prayer it is, true prayer is first of all an expression of our love for God and for each other,

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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