[quote=JaneFrances]One interesting thought that I have encountered in doing some reading/research regarding the intercession of the saints pertains specifically to Luke 16:19-31. It is Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus. In it, we see both men having died–the rich man goes to a place where he is “tortured in flames” and Lazaraus (the poor beggar) goes to the bosom of Abraham. In Jesus’ account (which he never categorizes as a “parable”–important to note), the rich man, while in flames, appeals to Abraham to relieve him from the torture and warn his earthly family that they would not end up in the same place.
So, how does this apply to the intercession of the saints/Mary?
First, we see from Jesus’ perspective that God does indeed allow some sort of communication among his children after death.
Second, we see from Jesus’ perspective a situation in which someone apart from heaven, can appeal to someone in a state of “consolation” (perhaps not heaven, considering this account is told before the Resurrection) even after that person in the state of “consolation” has died.
Third, we see from Jesus’ perspective the possiblity of God allowing a saint who has passed on (dead is not the best word, since we are speaking about a state of eternity and Jesus’ has won for us the rewards of eternal LIFE) to intercede on behalf of someone who has not yet entered a heavenly state.
And lastly, this story is not met at all with any sort of balking or contention from the Jews and disciples listening to Jesus. This may imply that the idea of the intercession of the saints (such as Moses, Abraham, and the prophets) was not a point to which anyone listening objected. Jesus speaks of this account as though it were a natural communication that and we have no indication that this was a foreign idea to those who heard about it.
When we pray to the saints and Mary asking for their intercession, we are merely mirroring this same idea we find in Jesus’ story. We look to those whom we believe to be in eternal communion with God and we ask for their help and intercession as God allows. We do not communicate/pray to them apart from God for we know that it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that we can even have communion with the saints!
Thanks, JF. I was thinking of this story as well, but couldn’t come up with how it fit. Your explanation straightens it out…