I’m having a discussion in another forum and I’ve stumbled upon a question I’m having trouble with. It involves the nun who recently claimed that Pope John Paul II interceded to cure her parkinsons. One of the comments on the story was:
*"kindly explain… was it the nun’s faith in her God which cured her? Or was it the intercession of the dead-and-soon-to-be-saint Pope John Paul which sent her disease into remission?
If the former, why this talk of the former pope’s saintly intervention? And if the latter, shouldn’t people be earning God’s mercy through their own efforts, rather than through a former pope ‘putting in a good word for them’ with God?" *
“Richard Roskell, the Catholic (and Orthodox) belief in saintly intercession is rooted in the same concept in which other intercessionary prayers are rooted. Most Christians believe that by praying for others, by imploring God to help them, we can actually make a difference. Catholics and Orthodox take this further, by saying that those in heaven can also pray for us. If we ask for the intercession (the prayers) of someone who we believe is in heaven, and these efforts bear miraculous fruits (by the grace of God), it is believed that the person who interceded (prayed) on our behalf must be in heaven. This is the purpose of beatification; it simply affirms (not infallibly, either) that the person in question has achieved eternal life.”
He then replied:
*"Thanks for your comments. I confess to still be puzzled, though.
Why is it necessary for a person in heaven to intercede between the sufferer and God? God knows everything already, yes? And the sufferer is either worthy of God’s mercy, or not. If God is going to perform a miracle, surely it will happen anyway without someone in heaven going to bat for you?
But all of that begs the question, anyway. Why implore God to intercede for any reason? Does God not know whether or not you’re worthy of a miracle? And in God’s grand design, he will certainly know whether performing a miracle for you is a good idea or not. Either you’re asking God to do what he’s going to do anyway… or you’re asking God to do something that you don’t deserve or is contrary to the Big Picture.
Or is God the kind of deity who would simply grow impatient with all the imploring and give people a miracle just to shut them up, even though they don’t really deserve it?
The long and short of it from my perspective is that asking God for a favour is an unworthy act. He’s either going to do it anyway, in which case you’re bugging him for no reason…or he’s going to leave you to your fate, in which case imploring him for mercy is futile and demeaning."*
Now I’m really stuck. What should I say to him?
Thanks in advance for your help!