The Need for Saintly Intercession


#1

With the intercession of Mary and all the saints upon whose constant intercession we rely for help?

Mary, defend me [in the day of judgement]

This kind of stuff ain’t Jimmy Swaggart. No way.

Do Catholics believe they NEED to rely on the intercession of Mary and the saints? This is a lousy way to put it, sounds like I’m saying “I don’t need your help, don’t even try to pray for me! Snarl.” Let me trot out the verse about Jesus being our one mediator. Over and done with that verse. Other people pray for us. Communion of saints. Saints above are more alive than we are, are more aware than we are of things here, can hear us. These are presuppositions for this thread. Ok. Let’s press into the thread.

I can see that perhaps God rewards the good work, the merit if you will, of saints in heaven when they intercede for those still on earth. But would God REQUIRE that someone ask St. So and So for help before He answers their prayers? With 10,000 saints to ask, there could be a problem. I know there are patron saints who specialize in certain areas. Old Jimmy Swaggart would call it something else. I’m trying to work past that.

This may sound disrespectful. If so, sorry. But this is something that is alien to me. Please explain.


#2

Catholics don’t have to to rely on the saints and Mary but it doesn’t hurt to get more help. Much like I ask my fellow Catholics and Non-Catholic Christians to pray for me, or I don’t have to ask them to pray for me.

I can see that perhaps God rewards the good work, the merit if you will, of saints in heaven when they intercede for those still on earth. But would God REQUIRE that someone ask St. So and So for help before He answers their prayers? With 10,000 saints to ask, there could be a problem. I know there are patron saints who specialize in certain areas. Old Jimmy Swaggart would call it something else. I’m trying to work past that.

This may sound disrespectfu. If so, sorry. But this is something that is alien to me. Please explain.

You forgot to one important thing. Saints are outside time and space. You try to perceive how saint would petition on our behalf to God, as if they were here on earth. There many request to God to grant us certain needs. How would God grant them? In his own will, God will grant us what we need.

That would not be a problem. There is no time or space in heaven. In heaven everything is revealed because of God’s glory. The saints intellect would be much of a higher state than our own.

On earth, we are limited to our own mind and how we see the material world.


#3

Exactly.
Catholics don’t need the saints to be praying for them, but it can’t hurt.

I ask my fellow Christians here to pray for me…so why not ask my friends in Heaven to pray for me too?


#4

Good answers, gang!

I cannot recall an instance of praying to a saint when I was growing up…it just wasn’t something my family did. Now, admittedly, I went on a 10-year sabbatical from the church – not to say that’s a result, but one never knows. :wink:

Someone posted in another thread that the saints in heaven desire God’s will. If His will is that we all be saved, would it not therefore follow that the saints wish it, too? Would it not also follow that they would “petition” God on our behalf?

Given that, I think it’s in a Catholic’s best interests to avail him/herself of that willingness, but it’s not vital to salvation – just as it’s not vital to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.

Peace,
Dante


#5

Go to any Protestant church in the land, and the odds are good you will hear the minister ask the congregation to pray for someone who is sick or indifficulty.

Now, the minister is praying to the congregation (that’s what “pray” means, "ask) and he’s praying to them to interceed for the person in question.

If intercessory prayer from ordinary sinful people on earth is beneficial, intercessory prayer from saints must be much more beneficial.


#6

One of the parables I particularly like in regard to the idea of the saints overseeing and helping us is the Parable of the Talents - Matthew 25:30.

The setting is God judging us after death. God says to the good servants, who get to enter into His presence, that He will “set them over much” (RSV). The Greek dictionary I have for the word translated here as “set” gives the following:

  1. put in charge
  2. make (someone to be something)
  3. appoint
  4. accompany (Acts 17:15)
  5. prove to be; be (Jas 3:6; 4:4)

What exactly will we be “set over” to do, when we are saints in heaven? Or “who” will we be set over?
The responsibility involved in the first “setting over” of the original talents was to do good (love of God and love/helping of neighbor).
God’s statement in the parable - “you have been faithful in a little, I will set you over much” - doesn’t seem to indicate any big change in the type of activity that will be expected of those in heaven (saints); just a change in the scope! I always think one of the heavenly task God rewards the saints with includes helping us on earth -* a share in **His divine activity *with us here on earth.

Nita


#7

I recently read a book about Blessed Miguel Pro, a Mexican priest who was martyred for his faith. Shortly before he died, he said he hoped his martyrdom would be his key to heaven, and if so, his friends should have their requests ready, because he was going to deal out favors like a deck of cards! :thumbsup:

This is what I like about the Catholic Church: Our faith is more than just Jesus, the Bible, and me. We are part of an army that spans the centuries. We are joined not only to those who are part of the church on earth, but also to those who have gone before us, rooting for us and cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1).


#8

I can see that perhaps God rewards the good work, the merit if you will, of saints in heaven when they intercede for those still on earth. But would God REQUIRE that someone ask St. So and So for help before He answers their prayers?

In a way, we can say that God requires us to ask the saints for their intercession because he wills that all who love him pray for one another. We are giving the saints that opportunity–one they would take anyway because being with God they are living in and by perfect love and cannot help but pray for us. For, heaven isn’t just a place to go after death to be rewarded, it’s a community of love–one that rejoices in love and has no other duty than to love God and one another.

If we do not take advantage of such love, shown in the saints never ending prayers for us, their brethren still on earth, we are the losers.

As for knowing which saint to ask for intercession, the Holy Spirit guides us to those who most desire to help us. I’ve experienced this myself and I’m not a flighty person given to “mystical” (some would say emotional) experiences of God. I have benefited from the intercession of the saints, and thank God every day for their loving care of me and my loved ones.


#9

God designed man in his image. He is a unity in a trinity. He is a family. He is a community. In the beginning, he made us for Himself and for each other. It wasn’t until woman was created to be the companion of man that God’s creation was complete. The interdependence of humanity is essential to our identity. It is not simply a helpful, happy gesture to assist and intercede and rely–it’s communion.

The question you are asking above is sort of like asking Does God really NEED to be three persons?

But would God REQUIRE that someone ask St. So and So for help before He answers their prayers?

Our Lord has revealed to us quite explicitly in the Gospels that the requirement of the New Covenant, of which our Savior Jesus Christ is the Mediator, is Love. It is Love which prompts the Christian to seek the intercession of another. It is Love which compels the Saint to intercede. It is this Love which makes us the children of God and calls us to deeper communion with our God and each other.

With 10,000 saints to ask, there could be a problem.

Part of being a family is knowing your brothers and sisters. Learning from their lives. Asking for their help. We are not beggars asking for handouts from passersby. We are younger siblings asking for assistance from our big brothers and sisters. You must know them to ask them, which I think is particularly why many Christians have their favorite patron saints. These are the family members we know best. We identify with them and we know things about them which make us comfortable asking them for certain things.

Please explain.

No man is an island.


#10

No, we don’t “need” to, but the more we do, the more we feel the need and see the reason to do so.

I think part of what is alien about this to you is the communion of Saints. Even after I came back to the Catholic Church, it has taken several years for me to truly embrace and understand this.

In the Protestant Churches, while there definitely is a sense of fellowship, moreso than at some Catholic Churches, there is not a sense of “communion” with one another that I enjoy today in the Catholic Church.

This is a mindset, almost a cultural thing, as well as spiritual. In the Protestant Churches, while we had fellowship, It was always a “me and Jesus” first, fellowship second. Communion? Was only a time of symbolically recieving Christ. (And in the Churches I went to, only a few times a year. I don’t know if this tranlates as well to sacramental Protestants:shrug: )

In the Catholic Church, it seems as if the “me” is slowly extinguished, and becomes more fully part of the body of Christ. It is not just me and Jesus. It is Jesus and all of us, the saints on earth and in heaven. It is deeper than fellowship. It is true “communion of the saints”.

This is a hard one because there is little way to explain this intellectually, at least by me. Even the Catechism refers to it in more of an emotional attatchment than intellectual, in my opinion.

957 Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself"498:
We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!49


The more we join ourselves with the saints in heaven, the more we join ourselves to Christ.

God Bless,
Maria


#11

We are not required to pray for Saint’s intercession; however, as part of the Big family, we pray for each others as we are doing for our own little earthly family members, friends, parishes, etc…

God can do everything all by Himself without us having to pray to Him, or asking intercession of the Saints, but He wants us to be part of building His Kingdom - just like how He had all His disciples to spread His Word. He could’ve done all by Himself, but He chose not to.


#12

The short answer is “No”, there is no need for them. No created thing is necessary.


#13

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.