Saints asleep in the Lord


#1

Peace be with you all,

Recently I had a wonderful conversation with a non-denominational friend of mine and we discovered that the core rationale for most Protestants rejection of the effectual nature of praying to Saints was that they are currently asleep in the Lord until the Second Coming.

If anyone could shed light on Catholic Doctrinal stances on exactly where are the Saints right now and why does the Church profess their reward of Heaven before the Second Coming and the resurrection of the Body?

Thank you all.

Peace, Love and Blessings.


#2

Sleep? They better look at their Bibles again Chris.

Hebrews 12:1 Witness…not sleeping.
“And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us:”

Mark 12 :27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.

Luke 20 :38 For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.

Matthew 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Just these verses here offer them something to rethink… I suggest that you check them all out for their contexts.

They will probably quote you this passage from Ecclessiastes:

Ecclesiastes 9:5 “For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing more, neither have they a reward any more: for the memory of them is forgotten.”

But ya have to remind them that at that point in Judaism they had no concept of an afterlife and considered progeny life eternal.
There’s more help here:
catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp
catholic.com/library/Intercession_of_the_Saints.asp

Have fun and don’t hesitate to bring that up in your RCIA class as well.

Suggested reading (FOR FREE!) WE BELIEVE… A SURVEY OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH form here: amm.org/chss/chss.htm

This whole series has been recommended by the director of the RCIA class that I am in. I have completed all of them and they are really great.
Pax vobiscum,


#3

Peace be with you Church Militant,

Actually, I offered him the bulk of these verses and with regard to Hebrews he posited that the witnesses mentioned therein were the heavenly host of Angels and not the Saints whom are asleep in Christ until the Second Coming.

Where do we find and Scriptural understanding as to “where are the Saints right now” and "How can they received their heavenly reward without the resurrection of the Body which appears to only come at the Second Coming of our Lord? Help me out here.

Thanks.

Peace, Love and Blessings.


#4

I wrote a research paper for my ENGL 1101 class that was due Wednesday (26 pages… finally done), which included a section on praying to the Saints. I will put here what I wrote. It doesn’t so much address a distinction between Saints and angels I had to omit making such an argument due to brevity–it was only supposed to be a 10 page paper. I have included it for a logical standpoint behind praying to the Saints. Maybe you can use it. And if the person will not accept that Saints are already “like” angels in that regard, then you can at least use it to prove that you ought to pray to angels, at least. It seems that St. Luke xx. 34-38 would be a good place to look to address this. “[font=Arial]Neither can they [Saints] die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (v. 36). It seems pretty clear enough. [/font]

Many will contest that nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly state that someone ought to pray to Saints in Heaven. Now, this much is true, but even as the Bible does not state all things and all doctrine, as addressed above, neither does it recommend all practices of prayer. Still more, it in no way condemns praying to Saints. It can be demonstrated that praying to Saints is a logical conclusion based on the instructions in the Bible. First, Christ could not have possibly taught the veneration of the Saints, since no one was in Heaven before Christ had died, since there is no possible way to remit sins other than the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. For this reason, everyone who had died up until this time was in what is known as Limbo of the Fathers, with which apologists ought already be familiar and therefore will not be addressed here. Moreover, it would not be very consistent for Christ to recommend such a practice even if there were Saints in Heaven while He was on earth, since to pray to a Saint in order, for example, to be healed from an illness, when Christ was still bodily present on the earth and could do such instantly, as He showed that He did with various people in the Gospels, would be completely unnecessary. The whole point of asking Saints to intercede is that they have a special union with God, since they are in Heaven and experience the Beatific Vision, Almighty God Himself. If God Himself were on the earth, then it would not make sense to have this intercession, since that would indicate praying to Heaven in order to receive a gift from Christ, who would be on earth. That is simply ridiculous. The logic behind asking the intercession of the Saints is that since they are intimately connected with God much better than anyone on earth could possibly be, they therefore have a special place in the Heart of God, who will not refuse one of His own a request. This is especially true of the Blessed Mother. It is a sin against the Fourth Commandment to not obey one’s parents. Christ, who perfects all virtues, would, therefore, perfect this virtue of obedience better than anyone else could. That is, He would perfect it infinitely. He will not refuse a request from His Blessed Mother, just as He listened to Her command at the Wedding Feast at Cana, in which He began His public life at Her command (St. John 2.1-5). Moreover, She prophesied that honor which the Church in all ages has paid to Her, saying, “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for beholdfrom henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (St. Luke 1.46-48).

[next post]


#5

Secondly, apart from the lack of logical premise, a thorough reading of the Bible supports the intercession of Saints. Now it is not possible to see clearly, but in Heaven the Saints see clearly, as described by St. Paul, “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know I part; but then I shall know even as I am known” (1 Cor. 13.12). Moreover, St. John explains in his first epistle, “Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is” (1 St. John 3. 2). The Saints have a special connection with God Himself. The Saints are vivified in Christ in a special way beyond what anyone on earth can be. This much is explicitly clear from Scripture alone. Furthermore, the angels and Saints are constantly offering prayers for the people, according to St. John, “And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God” (Apocalypse 8.3). Here St. John states that the prayers of the Saints and the prayers of the angels are offered up with incense. Therefore, the Saints and angels are praying, which is seems that few doubt. The main point of the debate is whether they are simply worshipping God or also offering intercessory prayers for those faithful Christians on earth. St. James, moreover, says that followers of Christ ought to pray for one another (St. James 5.16). The angels and Saints are still followers of Christ, even if they have already received their reward in Heaven. Since the angels and Saints are still followers of Christ, and just as followers of Christ on earth pray both to worship God and to intercede, it is logical to assume the same for the followers of Christ in Heaven, unless this conclusion is otherwise contradicted in the Holy Scriptures, which it is not. It does not seem logical, then, for a person to dispute that Saints and angels can also offer up prayers for those who are still living on the earth.


#6

Peace be with you EENS,

Thanks for your work on this. I will present and see what happens.

Peace, Love and Blessings.


#7

Chris,
Here’s a little bit of help from my friends at San Juan Catholic Seminars, on this very subject. Their handbooks are great!

"Why do you Catholics pray to Mary and the Saints when the Bible says Jesus is the “one mediator between God and man” (1 Tim 2:5)?

Q: Why do you Catholics call your priests "father"
when the Bible clearly says “call no man father” (Mt 23:9)?

A: 1 Tim 2:5 must be understood in the light of I Peter 2:5: “let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” St. Peter says that Christians share in the one, eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is mediator between God and man because of His priesthood. Therefore, to share in Christ’s priesthood means to share in His mediatorship, both in heaven and on earth.

1 Tim 2:5 confirms that we share in Christ's mediation, when we read it in context. In verses 1-7, St. Paul asks Christians to participate in Christ's unique mediation by offering prayers and intercessions for all men: "this is good and pleasing to God." We are called to unite ourselves to the one mediator Christ, "who gave himself as a ransom for all," by praying for all men, through Christ.

Because Christians share in the priesthood of Christ, we share in a lesser and dependent way in His unique mediation, interceding for all men.

Fellow Christians on earth intercede for each other in prayer without contradicting the unique mediation of Jesus Christ. Likewise, there is no contradiction of 1 Tim 2:5 if the saints in heaven intercede for us with their prayers. All prayer, whether in heaven or on earth, is in Christ and through Christ, our one mediator and high priest.

The principle is this: although God alone possesses all perfections, we can participate in God's perfections by sharing in His divine life. For example, the Bible says only God is good (Mk 10:18). Yet we can share in that absolute Goodness: "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:23).

Jesus shares many of His unique roles with Christians in lesser ways. Jesus is the Creator of all things (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16-17), and yet He shares this role with men and women in procreation. Jesus is the only Shepherd (Jn 10:11-16), yet He delegates this role to St. Peter (Jn 21:15-16) and later to others (Eph 4:11). Jesus is the eternal High Priest, mediating His once-for-all sacrifice for our redemption (Heb 3:1, 7:24, 9:12, 10:12), and yet Christians are also called to join in Christ's priesthood, as we have seen (1 Pet 2:5; Rev 1:6, 5:10).

Obviously, Christ is the unique and primary Creator, Shepherd, and Priest, but each Christian participates in these roles in subordinate ways. By sharing Christ's divine life, Christians also share in Christ's role as the only mediator.

That’s from their site.
Pax vobiscum,


#8

From Scripture:

Matthew 27:51-53 (RSV-CE)
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

From the Catechism:

***633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead ******Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: "It is ***precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell." Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone
before him.




#9

Peace be with you TPJCatholic!

Thanks for the info. Does the Catechism say anything concerning where those who die in grace are right now? I’m not talking about those who die still under the penalty of unrepentant sin but completely absolved of any sin. Thanks for all the help!

Peace, Love and Blessings.


#10

[quote=chrisb]Peace be with you all,

Recently I had a wonderful conversation with a non-denominational friend of mine and we discovered that the core rationale for most Protestants rejection of the effectual nature of praying to Saints was that they are currently asleep in the Lord until the Second Coming.

If anyone could shed light on Catholic Doctrinal stances on exactly where are the Saints right now and why does the Church profess their reward of Heaven before the Second Coming and the resurrection of the Body?

Thank you all.

Peace, Love and Blessings.
[/quote]

chrisb, peace be with you also. How about this?

Luke 23:39-43

39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.”

40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?

41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


#11

Hi, I really haven’t commented to anything here before, but I also have relatives who belong to the Church of CHrist and we’ve had the same sort of discussion. One of the things that always comes to my mind is during the transfiguration and Moses and Elijah appear and are talking to Jesus. I realize we do not know what they are talking about, but that is not what is important here. Moses and Elijah are not Angels and I don’t remember reading about them being “woken up” for any special reason. They are present and talking with Jesus. Sounds like they are pretty active to me. Is there anything else that comes to someones mind? Please forgive me if someone wants me to comment on something I wrote here and I don’t respond right away. I do not get to pop up here very often. God Bless.


#12

[quote=TamaraS]Hi, I really haven’t commented to anything here before, but I also have relatives who belong to the Church of CHrist and we’ve had the same sort of discussion. One of the things that always comes to my mind is during the transfiguration and Moses and Elijah appear and are talking to Jesus. I realize we do not know what they are talking about, but that is not what is important here. Moses and Elijah are not Angels and I don’t remember reading about them being “woken up” for any special reason. They are present and talking with Jesus. Sounds like they are pretty active to me. Is there anything else that comes to someones mind? Please forgive me if someone wants me to comment on something I wrote here and I don’t respond right away. I do not get to pop up here very often. God Bless.
[/quote]

The transfiguration is what I was going to mention, but you did a fine job.


#13

The book of Revelation clearly shows the souls of human beings in heaven praying - actually interceding before the throne of God.
They seemed quite aware of events taking place on earth - they addressed God with these concerns - and He was moved to answer them.

It doesn’t look to me like much sleeping is going on.


#14

Any Friend of God’s is a Friend of Mine
Patrick Madrid

-a small inexpensive book packed with lots of good info.


#15

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