Help! Communion of the Saints


#1

This was a question posted by a Protestant friend, and I didn’t have a good answer “off the cuff”. If any of my fellow Catholics can help me out it would be much appreciated. The more Scripturally based the responses, the better as he holds to sola scriptura (actually solo scriptura). Any relevent quotes from the Fathers would also be helpful.

“In reading Hebrews do you understand that Christ could have fulfilled his priestly interceding function without the resurrection? Or was the resurrection a necessary part? And if his resurrection was a necessary part, how do you justify your position that the rest of us who have died in the flesh can yet intercede without our resurrection? How can we continue our priestly function without our resurrected bodies if Christ Jesus could not? Is the servant (us) greater than our master?”

Thanks


#2

[quote=OfTheCross]This was a question posted by a Protestant friend, and I didn’t have a good answer “off the cuff”. If any of my fellow Catholics can help me out it would be much appreciated. The more Scripturally based the responses, the better as he holds to sola scriptura (actually solo scriptura). Any relevent quotes from the Fathers would also be helpful.

“In reading Hebrews do you understand that Christ could have fulfilled his priestly interceding function without the resurrection? Or was the resurrection a necessary part? And if his resurrection was a necessary part, how do you justify your position that the rest of us who have died in the flesh can yet intercede without our resurrection? How can we continue our priestly function without our resurrected bodies if Christ Jesus could not? Is the servant (us) greater than our master?”

Thanks
[/quote]

An overly simplistic answer for your own edification rather than debate ammo is that even though we don’t have our bodies when we die, we are still living members of the mystical body of Christ. The resurrected/not resurrected dichotomy (ours that is) does not come into play.

Scott


#3

This is a great question.

In the resurrection of Christ, we see a foreshadowing of what is to come for us – namely our souls dwelling in some sort of “glorified body.” Jesus had such a “body” after his Resurrection; he could be touched, and he ate food. Obviously his body was not purely spiritual – it had some sort of material component (we do not understand the nature of this sort of body).

But there was ALSO a period of time (between Our Lord’s death and resurrection) when the material Body of Our Lord lay in the Tomb, but his purely Spiritual Body descended into the netherworld to deliver those in bondage (as we say in the Creed, “He descended into hell”).

Our Lord was able to be of aid to those in need, even while he had no “glorified body.” In similar fashion, those Saints who have not YET received their “glorified body” may be of aid to those in need (ie, US).


#4

Here are some Scripture passages where disembodied spirits (angels and dead men before their bodily resurrection) intercede or pray for people on earth or present the prayers of people on earth to the Lord:

27And he [the dead rich guy] said, `Then I beg you, father [Abraham], to send him [dead Lazarus] to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ (Luke 16:27-28 RSV)

11 So he [Judas Maccabeus] armed every one of them, not with defence of shield and spear, but with very good speeches and exhortations, and told them a dream worthy to be believed, whereby he rejoiced them all. 12 Now the vision was in this manner: Onias who had been high priest, a good and virtuous [dead] man, modest in his looks, gentle in his manners, and graceful in his speech, and who from a child was exercised in virtues, holding up his hands, prayed for all the people of the Jews: 13 After this there appeared also another [dead] man, admirable for age, and glory, and environed with great beauty and majesty: 14 Then Onias answering, said: This is a lover of his brethren, and of the people of Israel: this is he that prayeth much for the people, and for all the holy city, Jeremias the prophet of God. (2 Maccabees 15:11-14 DRV)

12 When thou [Tobit] didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I [the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord] offered thy prayer to the Lord. (Tobit 12:12 DRV)

8And when he [the Lamb] had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; (Revelation 5:8 RSV)

3And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; 4and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. (Revelation 8:3-5 RSV)


#5

[quote=OfTheCross]This was a question posted by a Protestant friend, …
“In reading Hebrews do you understand that Christ could have fulfilled his priestly interceding function without the resurrection? Or was the resurrection a necessary part? And if his resurrection was a necessary part, how do you justify your position that the rest of us who have died in the flesh can yet intercede without our resurrection? How can we continue our priestly function without our resurrected bodies if Christ Jesus could not? Is the servant (us) greater than our master?”

Thanks
[/quote]

  1. WHO was performing this “interceding function” before Christ ever showed up?
  2. If we are ALL part of a priesthood as Peter insists, then HOW do we do this "interceding function " BEFORE we even die nevermind resurrected?
    Finally:
    The Communion of Saints’ intercession says NOTHING about interceding directly to the Father which Christ does for us THROUGH Himself.
    The communion of Saints is the intercession TO the Christ for His intercession to the Father who always answers His plea.
    There is NO geographical or spiritual locale restraint (save hell) on anyone toward asking Jesus Christ to intercede for us or others. We do not need animated flesh to pray. We pray from the intellect which is non-material and part of our soul’s being. Using the mouth to pray is merely a PUBLIC outward expression of the act of the intellect.

#6

As Peter says, we are a holy priesthood now, offering spiritual sacrifice now. St. Paul (in one of the Timothys) asks all Christians here on earth to incercede with God on behalf of others. So it seems our priestly intercession occurs before the resurrection of our bodies. But this is no contradiction because, in baptism, we have been burried and risen in Christ. Therefore, by participation in Christ do we participate in his intercession. In Christ, we have been given all things.


closed #7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.