How do the blessed in heaven hear our prayers?


I’ve seen so many Protestants comment on the need for, say, Mary, to be omnipresent to hear all of our prayers. I’ve also heard people say that it would detract from the bliss of heaven if the blessed knew what was going on on Earth.

With a little (well, maybe a lot) of paraphrasing of St. Thomas Aquinas, here is my take:

The blessed in heaven enjoy the Beatific Vision, in which they (in a finite way) see, know, and love God with the very same divine knowledge and love with which the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity see, know, and love each other. This is possible because,as adopted sons and daughters in the Son, they are divinized, made participants in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Now God isn’t distinct from His attributes. He doesn’t have existence; He is existence. He doesn’t have knowledge; He is knowledge. So, to see and know God with divinized sight and knowledge (again, in a finite way) is to know as much of God’s knowledge as he chooses to manifest to that blessed creature, Man or Angel. Therefore, if God chooses to manifest His own knowledge of anything to one of the Blessed, the Blessed will know it as part of the Beatific Vision, because in seeing that knowledge, they will be seeing God, as God IS His knowledge. Moreoever, an increase in the Blessed’s knowledge of God must necessarily also be an increase in Beatitude. It is my understanding that, when we petition the Saints to intercede for us, they hear and know our prayers because God chooses to manifest our prayers to them in the Beatific Vision. As the Blessed know our prayers as part of the Beatific Vision, that knowledge increases their bliss.

Also, it is fitting that God manifest our prayers to the saints in heaven because God created us to manifest, rather than increase, his own Glory. God also manifests His glory by the gratuitous gifts that he bestows upon us. A gift that benefits a creature makes God’s glory manifest. It is a greater gift, still, that enables one creature to benefit another, and in such a gift is God’s glory manifested to an even greater degree. Therefore, it is fitting that God enable the Blessed in heaven to hear the prayers of those of us still upon earth, not in order that they may make our prayers known to God, but in order that they may petition Him to give our prayers a favorable hearing. The ability of the saints to intercede on our behalf is itself, a gift from God, and, thus manifests His glory.

Finally, the saints remain in the presence of God when hearing our prayers, as it is being in the Beatific Vision that makes their knowledge of our prayers possible. They don’t go all over the place, or become omnipresent, to hear them.


Justin the wannabe Scholastic


Personally, I favor the opinion that the blessed in heaven hear our prayers through the ministry of angels (messengers), as indicated in Tobit 12:12.


How can saints hear our prayers?

Can angels hear our mental prayers?


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